From NBA Top Shots to Lionel Messi’s Messiverse, NFTs have become the new frontier that the sporting world intends to conquer. Major sports leagues like the NBA and Serie A have launched digital art collectibles as NFTs and created excitement within their fanbase. WWE has also released NFTs featuring John Cena and other WWE superstars.
Celebrities are also taking part in the trend. Tom Brady, Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback, launched his NFT platform called Autograph. Lionel Messi has also announced the launch of Messiverse, his NFT project which will include his fan tokens collection.
What is a Non-fungible Token?
Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are unique digital items stored on a blockchain. It is termed unique because each NFT contains encrypted information that makes it a one-of-a-kind copy. Thus, it cannot be replaced with something else.
NFTs can be anything digital, from sports highlights to virtual real estate and digital art. Each ‘minted’ NFT can be traced back to the original owner. This attribute removes the need for it to be verified by a third party before the sale.
Which Serie A clubs have launched NFTs
Serie A is not exempt from the NFT trend. Out of twenty clubs in the league, eleven have launched their own NFTs. Socios.com, a subsidiary of blockchain provider Chiliz, has partnered with most of them to release fan tokens. Sorare is another company that is raking in partnerships.
Here is the list of Serie A clubs that have launched NFTs:
The top Italian club launched an NFT collection of the club’s jerseys for the 2020/21 season.
The 3D and HD animated jerseys were signed by all the team members.
Additional perks that came with the collection were physical jerseys signed by both team members and club icons like Ronaldo. Fans were also flown to watch the 2021/22 season.
In April, AC Milan partnered with Sorare to issue digital cards as NFTs. The cards could then be used by fans to create custom teams on Soare and play in fantasy football leagues.
The addition of AC Milan to the list of Serie A clubs with NFTs made the league the second biggest league in the NFT space after Ligue 1.
After signing a three-year partnership deal with Zytara Labs, the club released jerseys bearing the branding of the DigitalBits blockchain. It also had the option to use the blockchain digital collectible NFTs of moments in the club’s 100-year history.
In a related development, Mastercard, one of the leading global payment merchants has also partnered with AS Roma Head Coach, Jose Mourinho to launch an NFT.
Just like AS Roma, Lazio’s NFT launch is supported by its jersey sponsor Binance. The $LAZIO fan token was launched on the Binance exchange in October 2021.
The Rossoblu has announced that it will launch its $BFC fan token on Socios.com. Alexandre Dreyfus, CEO of Chiliz and Socios, said: “We are delighted to welcome Bologna FC, a club with rich sporting tradition and one of the founding members of Serie A, to our growing roster of partners. We look forward to working together to create lots of new opportunities for their local and global fanbase.”
“I encourage all Bologna FC fans to keep an eye on the club and Socios’s social media channels so they don’t miss the opportunity to join our global digital community of sports fans who, through Fan Tokens and the Socios app, are discovering the perks of being more than fans.”
Why Are NFTs Important In Football?
During the Covid-19 lockdowns, watching football matches at stadiums was brought to a standstill. The lack of crowds at stadiums caused huge losses for clubs and many of them turned to NFTs to rescue their balance sheets.
It came as little surprise when clubs like Manchester City and FC Barcelona launched their NFT collections. Other clubs quickly followed suit.
Outside football, the trend kept moving. NBA’s Top Shot trading cards were a major hit. Major League Soccer (MLS) released their NFT Battle Drop on Bitski with Secret Walls as their partner.
NFTs also became a new channel for clubs to engage with their fanbase. Fan tokens granted fans voting privileges on some club decisions. The tokens became popular on platforms like Socios.com for the custom teams that could be built from them. The teams were then played against each other in Socios’ fantasy football league.
NFTs have created new revenue streams for sports teams and will definitely remain relevant in the sporting world.