NFTs have expanded to cover many different areas, taking in everything from fine art and photography to play-to-earn gaming. But one of the most mainstream interests they’ve moved into is sports.
If you think about it, NFTs and sports make sense as a potentially lucrative match. NFTs enable digital scarcity–which equals digital collectibles–and there’s already a long history of obsessive sports fans spending their money on physical collectibles, such as trading cards and memorabilia.
Expand that market online for a crypto-native generation in a digital age, and you can see how sports NFTs could grow. At the end of last year, a report by Deloitte predicted that in 2022, transactions from sports NFTs would double in value from 2021, hitting over $2 billion.
1. Dapper Labs
The biggest name in the sports NFT space is Dapper Labs, who created CryptoKitties back in 2017, before moving on to the business of blockchain-based sports collectibles.
Dapper Labs dealt with congestion on Ethereum’s network by creating its own proof-of-stake blockchain, Flow, designed for web3 applications such as metaverse, gaming and NFT projects.
NBA Top Shot
Dapper Labs’ pioneering sports NFT collection, providing the opportunity to trade and collect basketball moments, which means digitally packaged video clips. It ranks at number 8 in the top NFT collections, and has an active marketplace.
NFL All Day
Following on in a similar style to NBA Top Shots, Dapper Labs is establishing NFL All Day. It isn’t yet fully launched and there’s no marketplace working as yet, but you can sign up for the waitlist, giving you a chance of picking up some of the closed beta pack drops that NFL All Day has already been issuing.
If you’re into fighting, then visit UFC Strike, launched by Dapper Labs in January. The first drop, 100,000 Fully Loaded packs, sold out in four hours, so this one looks set to grow this year. The marketplace opened this week, and there’s an Israel Adesanya NFT offer running at the moment.
Scheduled to launch in summer of this year is Dapper Labs’ partnership with La Liga. It looks like this will be along similar lines to NBA Top Shot, but this time dropping collectibles from the Spanish top-flight football league, which is the second most-watched football league in the world (after the English Premier League).
Crossing over between collecting and gaming is SoRare, an NFT fantasy football platform that is partnered with many of the biggest football clubs in the world. You can approach this as a collector, a trader, or as a way to win rewards–either ETH or new trading/playing cards–through competing against other players.
While Dapper Labs builds around partnerships with big name sports leagues, Autograph is an NFT platform that works with individual athletes. Co-founded by NFL star Tom Brady, it’s minted collections by the likes of Naomi Osaka, Tiger Woods, and Tony Hawks.
Although not exclusively focused on sports, Ethernity is an NFT marketplace with a heavy focus on athletes. Ethernity’s upcoming big name drop is by footballer Luka Modric, on February 17th, an event you can pre-register for on the Ethernity site.
Ethernity has plans this year for NFT staking and lending, a social token project called Fanable, and also metaverse and play-to-earn gaming developments.
One more to take a look at is Candy, which has a focus on Major League Baseball and motor sports. Candy recently set up a secondary marketplace for its MLB NFTs, and takes payment in fiat with a credit card.
Some people might argue this payment system goes against the crypto ethos, but Candy’s thinking seems to be that it makes NFTs more accessible, and opens up digital assets to a wider audience.
Not an NFT platform, but if you’re interested in the overlap between sports and crypto, then check in also with Socios, a fan token platform partnered with huge names from football, basketball, tennis, and other sports.