Why NFTs are the biggest opportunity in sports?

Why NFTs are the biggest opportunity in sports? Mark Cuban, LeBron James, and Tom Brady are all in. Is this the right time to invest in NFTs? How Big is the NFTs Market? What are NFTs: If I had told you 100 years ago that I bought Mickey Mantle’s baseball card for $5,200,000, you would … Continued

Why NFTs are the biggest opportunity in sports?

Mark Cuban, LeBron James, and Tom Brady are all in. Is this the right time to invest in NFTs? How Big is the NFTs Market?

What are NFTs:
If I had told you 100 years ago that I bought Mickey Mantle’s baseball card for $5,200,000, you would probably say I’m crazy and send me to the doctor for a quick check up. Today, it’s very common to hear about people’s collectibles by their favourite artists and sports idols.
The big question is, can these collectibles become digital ?

With the rise of blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies, many questions arise on what other products the blockchain can provide that will have an immediate impact on our lives. One clear answer has already created a big hype nowadays and they are called NFTs.

NFTs, or Non-fungible tokens are basically digital assets that are unique and irreplaceable. A few examples for NFTs could be digital art made by a known artist, a digital highlight of a famous NBA moment, digital soccer cards, virtual real estate and even the first ever tweet posted on twitter that was sold for $2,900,000.

A normal question that people come up with at this stage is “why would someone buy a digital picture or video if he can download a copied version to his computer?
To answer that, let’s dive into a similar question of why would someone want to buy an original painting by Picasso if he can print his own version at home?
Thanks to blockchain technology, we can create NFT’s that are individually unique and have a digital version of the “authenticity certificate” publicly stamped by the creator.

In this article we are going to provide simple answers to many questions in this new topic:

  • How are NFTs related to sports?
  • How big is the NFT market today?
  • What are the top 6 sport-tech companies in this new market?
  • What is predicted for the future of NFTs?

How are NFT’s related to sports?

NFTs are a golden money-making opportunity for the sports industry and also a great way for sports fans to engage with their favorite teams, athletes and historical moments.
People have always loved to own sports collectables and the NFTs are now offering a new digitized way of doing it, the virtual expansion of NFTs holds many innovative opportunities that were previously bound in the physical world.

Fans can now collect highlights from breathtaking moments, digital signatures, digital tickets to major sports events and many other new technologies that are available to purchase through their digital wallet.

The NFT Market today
Last year, the total value of NFT transactions reached $250 million, while in the past month alone overall NFT sales volumes exceeded $220 million.

The trend gained notice by investors, who have poured $90 million into NFT and digital collectibles companies so far in 2021. That’s almost triple the amount that NFT start-ups raised last year.

With the NBA platform “Top Shot”, reaching over $500,000,000 in sales, Fantasy league platform “Sorare” increasing their transaction volume to $1,180,000 and “Topps trading cards” soon becoming public thanks to NFTs, the answer is clear and the future is here.

Top 6 sport-tech companies thriving in the NFT market:

1.Dapper Labs

DescriptionDapper Labs is a consumer-focused Flow blockchain product made for fun and games and supports digital collectables.
Founded DateFeb 2018.
Headquarters LocationVancouver, Canada.
Last Funding DateMar 2021.
Last Funding Amount$305,000,000.
Total Funding Amount$357,000,000.
Top 3 InvestorsAnimoca Brands, Andreessen Horowitz, BlockTower Capital.

The first sports-tech NFT unicorn.

Founded only 3 years ago, Dapper Labs have made one of the most strategic partnerships in VC history. Together with the NBA players association they have created “NBA Top Shot”, an NFT marketplace where you can buy, sell or even trade officially licensed videos of various highlights from the most iconic moments in the game. 

One highlight that hyped the whole internet was the famous moment when LeBron James dunked over Nemanja Bjelica and made a furious look to the ground. This rare moment was bought in February 2021 by a Lakers fan for $208,000
The collaboration between Dapper and the NBA has attracted many high-level investors to fund over $357,450,000 in Dapper Labs to make it the first NFT unicorn with a current valuation of $2 billion.


DescriptionSorare is a global fantasy football game where players can buy, trade, and play with official digital cards.
Founded DateDec 2018.
Headquarters LocationParis, France.
Last Funding DateFeb 2021.
Last Funding Amount$48,000,000.
Total Funding Amount$59,000,000.
Top 3 InvestorsPartech, e.ventures, Accel.

Changing the rules of the fantasy league game.

Sorare is a fantasy game of soccer, where users buy, sell, trade, and manage a virtual team with digital player cards. The players are used in football matches and can be traded on a transfer market. 

A Christiano Ronaldo NFT was recently sold on “Sorare” for $289,920, this purchase broke all-time sale records for the most expensive soccer player card ever sold both physically and digitally.

3. OpenSea

DescriptionOpenSea is a peer-to-peer marketplace for crypto collectibles and non-fungible tokens.
Founded DateDec 2017.
Headquarters LocationNew York, United States.
Last Funding DateMar 2021.
Last Funding Amount$23,000,000.
Total Funding Amount$27,000,000.
Top 3 InvestorsAnimoca Brands, Coinbase Ventures, Blockchain Capital.

The “Ebay of NFTs”.

With over 700 projects on their platform, OpenSea is the largest NFT marketplace. Their diverse platform includes trading cards, virtual worlds and even digital sports shoes as collectables. OpenSea has branded itself as the leading platform to buy, sell and trade NFTs and their marketplace has gained exponential growth in the last few months.

4. Decentraland

DescriptionDecentraland is a virtual reality platform powered by the Ethereum blockchain.
Founded DateAug 2017.
Headquarters LocationBeijing, China.
Last Funding DateOct 2018.
Last Funding Amount$5,000,000.
Total Funding Amount$25,500,000.
Top 3 InvestorsAnimoca Brands, George Burke, Genesis One Capital.

An interesting combination between NFTs, gaming and VR.

Do you remember the old PC game “Sims”? Decentraland’s goal is to take us back to that virtual experience being the first ever virtual world that is fully owned by its users. Users can create, explore and monetize their virtual assets and trade them in a peer to peer network.

What does the future hold for VR and NFTs? What other virtual experiences can these platforms create? We can brainstorm many options but only innovation will truly answer these exciting questions.

5. Enjin

DescriptionEnjin® is the largest social gaming website platform where true ownership of Digital Items through Blockchain Technology.
Founded DateMar 2009.
Headquarters LocationCentral region, Singapore.
Last Funding DateApr 2021.
Last Funding Amount$18,900,000.
Total Funding Amount$41,000,000.
Top 3 InvestorsBlockTower Capital, Arrington XRP Capital, ICONIUM.

The large digital gaming platform shifted their focus to NFTs.

Enjin was founded in 2009, and it shifted to focus on NFTs in 2017.

It hopes to compete against Ethereum as the key platform for game-based tokens. One of its advantages is a more eco-friendly design, as Enjin has released a five-step plan to enable carbon-neutral NFTs by 2030. To date, the company has raised $37.8 million.

6. SuperRare

DescriptionSuperRare is one of the marketplaces for non-fungible tokens.
Founded DateJan 2018.
Headquarters LocationNewark, Delaware, United States
Last Funding DateMar 2021.
Last Funding Amount$9,000,000.
Total Funding Amount$9,000,000.
Top 3 InvestorsSound Ventures, Ashton Kutcher, Mark Cuban.

SuperRare closes $9 million Series A from top investors.

SuperRare, an NFT art platform that has garnered tens of millions in new sales in recent weeks, has just raised millions from investors. The $9 million Series A round was led by Velvet Sea Ventures and 1confirmation. Other investors participating in the round include Collaborative Fund, Shrug Capital, Third Kind, SamsungNext, Ashton Kutcher and Guy Oseary’s Sound Ventures, Mark Cuban, Marc Benioff, Naval Ravikant and Chamath Palihapitiya, among others.

The future for NFTs

This article is the first of a series around NFTs to allow us to understand a little bit more about the potential and the future impact of the new world of Non-Fungible Tokens and Blockchain. Stand by.

Image Source: SORARE Twitter

Amir Raveh

Thank you Yonatan Larkin for the great work, research, and data assembly.


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    Jun 24, 2021

    […] With the big rise of NFTs and blockchain technology, one of the many benefits from this new technology in the sports tech industry is NFT digital tickets for sports events. […]

  • Peter C. Krell

    May 1, 2021

    Very interesting article indeed. Let's see how Hedera Hashgraph based NFTs will gain ground in this discussion. Etherum clearly isn't a good match for this sort of trading due to the attached high transaction fees. Flow and other technologies might seem more feasible, but security will remain a large elephant in the room and one might tebd to prefer asynchronous Byzantine fault tolerant standards instead looking forward and the lowest possible transaction fees available.