Cryptocurrency and blockchain have become increasingly adopted into the sports world. With college athletes now being able to profit off of their name, image, and likeness, they have been able to make their own cryptocurrencies, get paid in crypto, and make their own NFTs. On a professional level, athletes and sports leagues are partnering with global crypto exchanges like FTX and fintech platforms like CashApp.
When it comes to NFTs, they have similar traits as sports cards, whether it’s from a collectible standpoint, the exclusivity surrounding them, or the visual appeal. Sports cards are a billion-dollar industry that has remained profitable for decades. Combine blockchain technology with sports cards, and you have an NFT industry that’s worth billions as well.
We’ve seen companies like Dapper Labs create an NFT platform, where people can purchase images and videos of their favorite players. Dapper Labs’ NBA Top Shot has reportedly generated over $700 million in total sales this year, which has helped Dapper Labs have a valuation of over $7.5 billion.
NBA Top Shot was allowed to partner with the NBA and make these exclusive NFTs. The NFT platform plans to partner with other leagues as well. However, there's another platform that’s becoming a significant rival to Dapper Labs. The platform has a major league partnership of its own.
What is Sorare and how can I play?
Sorare is a fantasy football (soccer) game where users can buy, sell, and trade players from football leagues as NFTs. The platform runs on an Ethereum-based blockchain. Users collect cards as collectibles and can use them to enter weekly fantasy football competitions. How well a player performs in real life will help determine how well his NFT will do in a fantasy competition. Signing up and entering competitions is free, and users have the opportunity to win prizes like NFTs and merchandise.
Founded in 2018, Sorare has a partnership with the Major League’s Players Association and has licenses for 180 football clubs including Real Madrid and Liverpool FC. The platform reportedly has over 600,00 registered users and over $150 million worth of cards traded since January. From the second quarter of 2020 to the second quarter of 2021, the quarterly sales increased over 51 times.
On Sept. 21, Sorare announced that it raised $680 million in Series B funding—the biggest Series B funding for a European game company. Now, the company has a valuation of $4.3 billion. Softbank, a Japanese-based conglomerate, is leading the funding.
Dapper Labs recently had funding of its own, which raised the valuation.
Dapper Labs partnered with a soccer league on its own on Sept. 22. The company announced a partnership with LaLiga, which is Spain’s top soccer league. This is only a week after Sorare announced its partnership with LaLiga. On Sept. 22, the creators of NBA Top Shot also announced that they had a funding round where they raised $250 million. As Dapper Labs looks to expand to the football industry, Sorare looks to expand to the U.S. and partner with North American sports leagues.