Can you ‘own’ a goal? Collectible NFTs rolling into elite soccer By Reuters
By Elizabeth Howcroft
LONDON (Reuters) – It might have seemed a long shot a year ago when a company built a digital platform for basketball fans to buy and trade video highlights of NBA games that they could probably watch for free online.
Even more bizarre was the fact that some clips sold for hundreds or thousands of dollars.
The highlights were endorsed by U.S. National Basketball Association and sold as NFTs (non-fungible tokens). These crypto-assets use blockchain to verify their ownership giving them a cachet and tradeable worth.
Dapper Labs (the crypto-company behind the NBA Top Shot platform) announced Wednesday that they had raised $250M and that they were now expanding into soccer with a partnership with Spain’s LaLiga Division.
Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid will now be able “own” stunning goals by Luis Suarez and KarimBenzema, just as speculators or basketball fans have spent over $200,000 on a LeBron slam dunk video.
Although the concept is confusing to many, it’s not without money.
GIC from Singapore is Dapper Labs’ latest investor. This fund joins the ranks of a16z, GV and Coatue in supporting the Vancouver-based, three-year-old company.
They speak for themselves.
NBA Top Shot launched last October and was one of the first NFT products that saw success as the sector gained popularity early in 2021. Sales per month increased from $1.5million in Dec 2020 to $43.8million in January. The peak was $232 million in February.
The growth rate slowed down in the second half of 2019. Monthly sales reached $53.1million in June 2021.
Dapper Labs announced that the platform for soccer would be launched in June 2022. It will allow users to purchase NFTs of “moments”, video clips from top Spanish teams.
‘BORED APES’ FOR $24 MILLION
NFTs are a new phenomenon, having exploded in popularity across various areas during the pandemic as enthusiasts and investors scramble to spend enormous sums of money on items that only exist online.
These items are increasingly popular. A set of NFTs from “Bored Ape”, for instance, was sold at an auction by Sotheby’s for $24.4million in the art industry.
LaLiga is one of most prominent divisions in the game’s most beloved sport, and it is an indication of its financial potential.
Javier Tebas of LaLiga stated that “the partnership between LaLiga, Dapper Labs and our fans will get us closer than ever before through a growing medium and along with the industry partner which created and launched the whole NFT movement.”
NonFungible.com tracks NFT market data and reports that the crypto asset market is heating up. According to Javier Tebas, LaLiga president, NFTs related to sports were the most in-demand categories during the first half.
SoftBank investors funded $680m to Sorare on Tuesday, according to a fantasy soccer NFT-game.
Dapper Labs also developed a Blockchain, Flow, as well as an NFT game, CryptoKitties. The company said that $250 million would be used to support additional brands-driven products, music, and entertainment. These are currently being created on the Flow blockchain.