At the beginning of 2021, the craze around blockchain and NFTs (Non-Fungible Tokens) took the sports industry by storm. With little or no in-game fan revenue since the beginning of the recent pandemic, most teams, leagues, and athletes welcomed this new opportunity fo revenue. Here are the top 5 blockchain startups that are disrupting the sports industry.
Dapper Labs/Top Shot
Dapper Labs, the Vancouver-based startup, founded in 2018 and also known for its CryptoKitties, is the company behind the most popular blockchain venture in sports so far: NBA’s Top Shot. Top Shot is an online platform that offers limited-edition ownership rights to videos depicting memorable moments in the NBA. It sells its “moments”, digitally packaged and NFT-authenticated video highlight clips, from $9 to $999 and these “moments” can then be exchanged on the marketplace.
The most expensive Top Shot NFT so far is a 2019 LeBron James dunk that sold for $208,000 (Source: Crypto Slam). Top Shot accounted for $500 million in transactions in the first three months of 2021, which was a third of the total US$1.5 billion in NFT transactions according the DappRadar, making it the leading NFT platform not only in sports but across all industries.
The blockchain startup Socios.com is the leading fan token provider in sports. Fan tokens, also called fan coins, are digital assets that represent your ownership of a voting right and give you access to earn unique specific rewards and experiences linked to an organization.
The Malta-based company has partnerships with football teams such as FC Barcelona, PSG, Juventus, Manchester City and has recently announced a partnership with UFC for the Summer of 2021. In June 2020, FC Barcelona generated US$1.3 million from their first $BAR token sales after 600,000 tokens sold out in less than two hours.
The Socios.com fan tokens are minted on the Chiliz blockchain platform, which is Socios.com’s sister organization. Chiliz’ $CHZ currency is among the top 35 cryptocurrencies in the world, reaching a market cap of $2.6 billion as of May 2021.
Sorare is the leading NFT platform in soccer, with 135 officially licensed clubs, among them Bayern Munich, Paris Saint-Germain, Real Madrid and Liverpool. The Paris-based startup already has attracted investments from football stars Antoine Griezmann and Gérard Piqué, and entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk. In contrast to other NFT platforms, Sorare is not only a marketplace but also a fantasy game.
Users, as managers, compose virtual teams of five soccer players, from blockchain cards on the Sorare platform. Teams are ranked based on the performance of their players in real life, and attributed points, like in other fantasy soccer games.
Some of the cards are licensed digital collectibles (rare, super-rare and unique cards) that can be sold on the marketplace. In March 2021, a unique 2020-21 Cristiano Ronaldo card was bought for $289,920 on the Sorare marketplace, making it the most expensive card sold so far on the platform (Source: Twitter/Sorare).
Find out more → sorare.com
Liquiditeam is a German startup that seeks to modernize the interaction between fans and their favourite clubs or athletes. It’s blockchain-based digital toolkit enables customized fan engagement and community-based financing solutions, using white label fan applications, tokenomics and gamification. The company has partnerships with football club Borussia Dortmund, Basketball Club Löwen Braunschweig, and the German NBA player Dennis Schröder.
Find out more → liquidi.team
The London-based startup Fantastec is another football digital collectible blockchain platform. It’s SWAP app enables fans to trade licensed collectibles such as cards, but also videos. Fantastec has partnerships with Arsenal, Borussia Dortmund and Real Madrid.
Find out more → fantastec.io