6 min read

Issue No. 9: Premier League debates, NFT tickets & an ecommerce giant

Issue No. 9: Premier League debates, NFT tickets & an ecommerce giant

Here's your weekly review on what happened at the intersection of NFTs and Sports:

  • ⚽ Premier League explores NFTs as new revenue source
  • 🏀 The Charlotte Hornets launch a game-ticket NFT series
  • 👾 A look at gas prices, the DAZN collection and Ebay's entrance

Make sure to follow us on Instagram and Twitter for the latest news.

⚽ Premier League explores NFTs as new revenue source

This comes not as a surprise given the fact that English clubs lost about £2bn in ticket sales and broadcast income since the start of the pandemic and the recently failed attempt of a few English clubs to join the Super League including its pool of money. And of course they have witnessed the success of other NFT platforms. A source ‘close’ to Premier League leadership said:

“We are looking into it, and see the digital collectibles space as an area of interest to fans, the Premier League and our clubs. [They are] currently looking to establish the right route if any for the PL to take.”

A big question seems to be whether this will be a league-wide attempt or one driven by each club individually. Some of the clubs are already represented on Sorare with their digital player cards, but highlight clips as on NBA Top Shot have not been offered yet.

Our take: It will happen one or the other way. And one of the most valuable assets, if not THE most valuable one, is game content and that is managed by the league. So we would be surprised if that wouldn't be available at some point. The question though is: Are they quick enough over the summer break to kick it off with the new season?

Source: Insider Sport

🏀 The Charlotte Hornets launch a game-ticket NFT series

The new, commemorative NFTs debuted on May 13 when fans who attended the Hornets game against the L.A. Clippers had the opportunity to purchase NFT tickets on top of their existing ones through the Hornets App for $4.99 (cryptocurrency is not required). The collection is made in recognition of the Hornets inaugural season (1988-89) and the limited-edition is only the first in a series.

To be aligned with the league's Top Shot offering the Hornets worked with Dapper Labs and Mint to launch on the Flow Blockchain.

Source: NBA / Charlotte Hornets

Hornets President & Vice Chairman Fred Whitfield said:

“Innovation is in the DNA of the Hornets organization, dating back to our original uniforms and colors, and we wanted to offer our fans the opportunity to participate in the excitement, popularity and cutting-edge nature of NFTs. We take pride in the fact that these are fan-friendly NFTs with a very low barrier to entry. We think our fans will enjoy the design, and we look forward to growing in this space in the future.”

Our take: The NFT tickets are a nice upsell to fans in the stadium at a fair price point. This should add a new revenue source to the Hornet's portfolio, probably also via a share of all secondary market sales. Anyways we do expect NFT tickets to be the new norm in the not-so-far future. Besides that we wonder if every NFT project by an NBA team has to/will be published on the Flow blockchain to be fully compatible with NBA's Top Shot offering.

Source: NBA

👾 A look at gas prices, the DAZN collection and Ebay's entrance

When looking at the NFT market in general these days and especially on those based on Ethereum, you don't get around a look at the current gas price. Gas "refers to the fee, or pricing value, required to successfully conduct a transaction or execute a contract on the Ethereum blockchain platform" (see Investopedia). Or in other words: It's the fee that needs to be paid when purchasing an NFT. And that can develop into a problem when there is a lot of demand in Ethereum-based NFTs as it leads to fees so high that they hardly justify the price of the NFT anymore. Below you find the development of the gas price (measured in Gwei) over the last month.

Source: YCharts.com

So why are we mentioning this? Well, it causes problems for everyone who is launching an ETH based NFT collection. Here's an email we received from Ethernity surrounding Tony Hawk's NFT drop this week

Source: Ethernity

And we also believe that DAZN's NFT debut might have been affected by high gas prices. Their sale surrounding the Canelo vs. Saunders fights (see last week's issue) took place on the day when prices started to surge (doubled on that day). The result: DAZN sold NFTs for 10.8 ETH (worth around 38.5k € as of today, May 14), probably less than what they hoped for. 4.8 ETH of that was for the 1/1 Canelo knockout legendary. Also we thought that they would sell for more, as the setup combined some interesting aspects (again see last weeks issue). Fortunately gas prices are going down again, but this experience probably made people look into alternatives to launching their NFTs based on Ethereum. Also OpenSea will have to look into this topic, as ETH is their default setup. Currently their are experimenting with a Matic/Polygon based alternative.

And one more news, a pretty big one actually: Ebay announced that they are expanding into NFTs. Here are the most important parts:

We plan to double down on this idea - combining eBay’s global reach with the principle that anyone can find almost anything on our platform. This premise is what makes NFTs on eBay so exciting, and why we want to partner with creators, sellers and brands who share our commitment to maintaining an open marketplace.
With this in mind, today we are updating eBay’s policy to include the sale of NFTs. In the short term, NFT inventory will be provided by trusted sellers who meet our high standards, across categories like trading cards, music, entertainment and art.
This is only the beginning. This initial rollout will help us learn more about what’s important to our community. Expect to see programs, policies and tools that will allow our audiences to buy and sell NFTs with greater ease and confidence, across a broader range of categories.

In case you had doubts before: NFTs are here to stay. With the above mentioned gas price issue in mind it will be interesting to see Ebay's take on this. Will cryptocurrencies be needed? If yes which ones? Exciting times ahead!

🚩 Fungible news

Once again Socios.com has announce a range of new partnerships. But this time it was three high-class ones on one day! The Argentinian football national team, the NASCAR series and three of India's biggest cricket teams, all on one day... Seems like those institutions are happy to take some free cash ;) The big question though remains: Is Socios really a solution for fans? Or does it rather attract investors? Socios recently added new engagement features into their app that are supposed to involve and reward fans more. Would be really interesting to see some stats around the usage of those features!

Source: Socios

Source: Socios

🌪️ The calm before the (summer) storm?

So what are our takeaways from this issue? It feels like a lot is happening behind closed doors. The Premier League is debating, Ebay is working on its entrance and contrary to last weeks we haven't seen any athlete-driven launches. The latter makes a lot of sense because most of the recent ones did not really work well and seemed rather like quick cash grabs than adding true value for the fans.

All these are natural developments in an early market. It is good and it is necessary. Now it's not about being the first anymore, but about doing something sustainable, at least we like to think so. So let's see what the people behind UEFA Euro 2021, the NFL and in all other leagues that start again at the end of the summer have planned for us. It's not an easy job to make those decisions and to take all aspects into consideration, but for sure a very interesting one during special times. We'll follow closely ;)

And as always: Feel free to reach out for feedback and to discuss all things NFT and sports! And to stay up to date: Make sure to follow us on Instagram and Twitter for stats, drop announcements and more.