Fantasy sports and blockchain technology company Sorare is partnering with one more professional sports league. Here’s the latest and what it means for the world of sports and non-fungible tokens.
What Happened: Sorare, which touts tennis star Serena Williams as an investor and board member, is teaming up with the National Basketball Association (NBA) and National Basketball Players Association to launch the first free-to-play fantasy game based on digital cards.
The deal makes Sorare the “official NFT fantasy partner of the NBA.”
“Our partnership with Sorare will give NBA fans an entirely new way to engage with our teams and players,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said. “With Sorare’s emerging NFT fantasy platform, we see significant opportunities to broaden our community of fans and grow NBA basketball around the world.”
The new game from the NBA and Sorare, called Sorare: NBA, will launch ahead of the 2022-2023 NBA season — the 77th for the league. Fans can sign up via the Sorare website where they will soon be able to buy, sell and trade digital trading cards that are part of the Ethereum ETH/USD blockchain.
Players will also be able to use their digital cards in free-to-play fantasy basketball tournaments.
“Basketball is one of the most popular sports in the world and we are excited to bring fans even closer to their favorite teams and players through Sorare: NBA,” Sorare CEO Nicolas Julia said.
Separately, Paris-based Sorare also announced the addition of two new investors — NBA stars Blake Griffin and Rudy Gobert.
“As basketball has shifted from local supporters to global fanbases, NBA fans are looking for new ways to be connected to the game, the players and other fans,” Griffin said. “Sorare understands that.”
Gobert, who is from France, points to the global reach of Sorare.
“I’m looking forward to helping the team and the Sorare community connect with basketball fans around the world,” Gobert said.
Related Link: Sorare Review
Why It’s Important: Sorare, founded in 2018, has secured deals with several professional sports leagues. It was focused on soccer for several years with deals signed for several major leagues in Europe.
Sorare announced a partnership with the leading U.S. soccer league MLS earlier this year. Kylian Mbappe, a French international and World Cup winner, signed on as a brand ambassador and investor.
Sorare also inked a deal with Major League Baseball (MLB) earlier this week.
Since announcing its MLB partnership, Sorare added 250,000 new sign-ups and saw weekly sales volume increase 63%, according to the company.
A total of $5 million in sales volume for the MLB Sorare digital cards has been handled since July with over 110,000 transactions happening since launch.
Sorare has over two million registered users from 185 countries. The company reported over 350,000 monthly active users earlier this year.
The announcement from Sorare comes as the NBA continues to explore blockchain technology and NFTs with the launch of NBA Top Shot from Dapper Labs in 2020.
“The NBA and players have been at the forefront of digital experiences and collectibles and our game gives basketball fans the ultimate sports entertainment experience where they can play like a general manager, own their own game, and foster real-world connection,” Julia said.
Sorare has gained in sales volume over recent weeks with the NFT collection ranking second by 7-day sales volume at $6.3 million, according to data from CryptoSlam. Sales volume totals $32 million over the last 30-days for Sorare.
NBA Top Shot, which offers NBA NFTs of video moments from games, has been one of the most successful NFT collections of all time with sales volume of $1.03 billion, ranking seventh.
Sorare ranks 13th all-time with sales volume of $421.4 million.
Sports betting and daily fantasy platform DraftKings Inc. DKNG has also released several NFT collections including some with a fantasy sports element to them.
The sports market continues to be an area that is seeing exposure to NFTs as collectibles and fantasy sports assets, a trend that could continue and in Sorare’s case, work in other sports.
Sorare was valued at $4.3 billion in September 2021, when it raised a $680 million Series B round. Benchmark, Accel and Softbank are investors in the company.
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