The non-fungible token (NFT) landscape is dominated by original art projects, such as CryptoPunks, Bored Ape Yacht Club, and CryptoKitties. As the NFT market matures, existing corporations are entering the space using their brands and intellectual property to create NFT games and collectibles.
Professional sports is well situated to enter the NFT space. Sports gambling, fantasy sports, and sports card and memorabilia collecting are all large spaces that can be brought on-chain. Current actors in this space include current and retired athletes, individual teams, and entire leagues.
Sports NFT projects tend to take two forms: collectibles and fantasy sports. The two major companies developing NFT projects with teams and leagues are Dapper Labs in the United States and Sorare for world soccer.
Dapper Labs, maker of NBA Top Shot, helps corporate customers launch and maintain blockchain-based experiences and digital collectibles. Dapper products operate on the Flow (FLOW) blockchain. Dapper tends to make collectible trading card NFTs that contain a video clip. NBA Top Shot is the most popular example of this product, and Dapper has signed a deal with the National Football League (NFL) and Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) to create similar products.
Major League Baseball (MLB) has partnered with Candy Digital to develop video highlight collectible NFT cards, similar to NBA Top Shot, on the Ethereum blockchain. The MLB also has an NFT trading card deal with Topps, developed on Avalanche (AVAX). The National Hockey League has allowed individual teams to launch their own NFT products, led by the New Jersey Devils.
Sorare dominates the soccer NFT market. Sorare is a fantasy sports and trading card collectible game featuring professional soccer players from 178 clubs in 37 leagues.
Players can buy and sell Sorare cards on NFT marketplaces, and Sorare operates on the Ethereum blockchain. Sorare cards are used in fantasy sports contests, where players compete for Ethereum and rare Sorare cards. To compete, a gamer builds a roster using Sorare player cards. The scoring is based on real-life stats of the soccer players over a set time period.Sorare is a French startup from Ubisoft's Entrepreneurs Lab accelerator that raised $680 million at a $4.3 billion valuation last month. Sorare has over 600,000 registered users and OpenSea has over 325,000 Sorare cards for sale by 20,000 owners.