SoftBank leads $680 million funding round in NFT fantasy soccer game Sorare By Reuters
By Elizabeth Howcroft
LONDON (Reuters) – Blockchain-based fantasy soccer game Sorare has raised $680 million in a funding round led by SoftBank, with players including ex-England international Rio Ferdinand and Spain’s Gerard Pique also investing, the company said on Tuesday.
The investment was made by Sorare, a Paris-based company. It is valued at $4.3 billion.
Sorare, an online card game that allows players to buy official licensed cards of soccer players. The players then build teams and play against each other.
Non-fungible tokens, a type of cryptocurrency asset that records digital assets’ ownership on the blockchain, are used to trade the cards.
In 2021 the market for NFTs saw a rapid growth, with sports-related tokens and collectibles being most in demand.
Michel Combes of SoftBank Group International stated in an emailed comment that NFTs “represent a new paradigm for the collectability and usability, as well as engagement with assets.”
The evolution from physical assets towards digital assets has many exciting business possibilities.
NonFungible.com reports that Sorare, the most popular sports-based NFT platform, is number one in sales. The company plans to establish an American office and explore other sports.
Nicolas Julia (CEO and co-founder) of Sorare said that they saw the enormous potential blockchain and NFTs offered to allow football clubs, players, and fans to have a stronger connection.
We believe that this represents a tremendous opportunity to build the next big sports entertainment company.
Sorare has sold $150 million worth of products since January 2021. It accepts credit cards and cryptocurrencies. Cristiano Ronaldo’s most valuable unique card was purchased for 287,420.44 euros (245,072 Euros) in March 2013.
SoftBank Vision Fund 2 made the first SoftBank investment in Sorare.
SoftBank’s Latin America fund contributed as well. Combes explained that SoftBank is able to use its relationship with U.S. and Latin American soccer teams and invest in Televisa Univision to help Sorare grow its user base.
SoftBank isn’t the first to venture into NFTs. It also invested in Juggernaut, a decentralised finance platform in March and led the investment in OpenSea NFT market in July.
Venture capital firms Accel Ventures and Bessemer Ventures were also involved in Sorare’s raising. Also, Pique, Ferdinand and Cesar Azpilicueta, the Spanish footballers, are among those who contributed to Sorare’s funding.
($1 = 0.8527 euros)
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