The inherent value of a non-fungible token (NFT) is its ability to capture and verify a moment in time, proving its authenticity. Monetizing on this concept, NBA Top Shot launched NFT cards in packs, with each card minted on the blockchain. It once offered the top NFT collection. Although it no longer holds that status, the sports card pioneer has continued to expand by launching the best NFT sports cards in 2021.
At it its peak, NBA Top Shot generated over $230 million in gross sales, drawing investors and sports fanatics alike with the chance to capitalize on historic NBA moments. Since then, Topps has expanded to different networks and offers trading cards for MLB and a special collection licensed by Bundesliga.
1. NBA Top Shot
Whereas NBA Top Shot no longer ranks in the top ten NFT collections, the NBA's alignment with the name maintains its credibility. Partnering with DapperLabs, creators of famous avatar NFTs Cyber Punks, the NBA created a digital version of its collectible set. Since launching almost a year ago, NBA Top Shot has been responsible for $639 million in NFT trading, reports DappRadar.
2. MLB Topps
When it celebrated its 70th anniversary in Apr. 2021, Topps released a digital collection of tradable cards with recreations of iconic Topps cards from 1952 and 1986. The first iconic collection on the blockchain, Topps MLB is supported on the WAX network. The collectibles can be bought, sold, traded, and gifted. Despite being founded decades ago, Topps has continued to show the value it places on its community of collectors since 1938.
Investors may want to note, however, that MLB has decided to end its historical partnership with Topps. As a result, Topps will follow through with the contract until 2025, when sports apparel startup Fanatics will take over. Fanatics as already expressed interest in pursuing collectible NFTs.
3. Bundesliga NFT Collection
Topps has also announced a new NFT collection licensed by the German Bundesliga, set to launch in Aug. 2021, The Bundesliga NFT Collection contains highlights of the 2020–2021 season. With the season just wrapping up and another just around the corner, this NFT collection could make for unique trading.
Launching on the Avalanche network, the collection will be offered in standard or premium packs. Collectors can enjoy video clips on par with those of NBA Top Shot.
The inevitable rise of sports and NFTs
Saum Noursalehi, former CEO of tech company tZERO (a platform that enables the trading of private digital securities), has speculated on the bright future of sports leagues using NFT agreements. He believes blockchain technology is "going to change the way we trade value today and how we trade assets.” NFTs welcome new fans and cater to the new generation of digital natives.
(Correction: An earlier version of this article identified Saum Noursalehi as the current tZERO CEO and misidentified the platform as enabling the trade of NBA Top Shot.)