In the ever-evolving realm of sports and technology, the sports NFT has taken center stage, offering fans unprecedented opportunities to own digital memorabilia. Sports NFTs have been among the most lucrative of all digital collectibles. NFTs commemorating basketball star LeBron James, baseball champion Brett Gardner, and boxer Jermall Charlo have all sold for $20 million each. This intersection of sports and NFTs promises transformative benefits for the sports industry, creating new avenues for fan engagement and interaction.
From Reddit Avatars to Cristiano Ronaldo's iconic moments and the recently concluded FIBA Basketball World Cup, we delve into six remarkable sports NFT drops that every enthusiast should have on their radar.
1. Reddit NFL Avatars: Expressing Team Loyalty Online
Reddit's venture into NFTs began last summer. Since then, they’ve dropped multiple NFT collections, resulting in 22 million collectible avatars minted by 18 million unique holders, on Polygon, known for its efficiency in handling large-scale projects. Stored in the user's Vault, an integrated digital wallet, Reddit's newest drop marks a fascinating intersection between sports fandom and digital ownership.
Released in tandem with the NFL season kickoff and featuring all 32 teams of the league, these Sports NFTs are limited to 500 per team, each priced at an accessible $25. The release marks one of Reddit's largest drops of Collectible Avatars, providing fans with a new way to express sports team loyalty in online discussions.
2. Ronaldo's NFT Collection: Capturing Soccer History
Ronaldo's initial NFT collection, in partnership with Binance, was introduced in late 2022. Despite market headwinds, the sports NFTs still managed to sell for tens of thousands of dollars each, pointing to the potential of bringing Web3 to soccer enthusiasts.
This summer saw the star release the second edition of his collaboration with Binance. Titled "Forever CR7: The GOAT," this collection showcases pivotal moments from Ronaldo’s storied career. Among them, his legendary bicycle kick goal against Juventus in 2018 stands out as a Super Super Rare NFT, with a starting bid of 15,000 USDT.
As a gesture of celebration, Ronaldo is gifting 25 NFTs to participating fans. Additionally, holders of the rarest NFTs have a chance to meet and train with the football legend, with Binance covering the associated costs.
It’s not going to be Ronaldo’s last release, either. The star recently let slip that he was planning more NFT drops down the line. So, stay tuned!
3. FIBA Mementos: Commemorating Basketball's Pinnacle Event
The 2023 FIBA Basketball World Cup has just wrapped, with Germany being declared the winner. This year’s competition saw international basketball make its first foray into sports NFT drops. Named ‘Mementos,’ the collection aims to commemorate the prestigious sporting event in a unique way.
The collection is divided into three tiers:
1. Fan's Frenzy: Entry-level NFTs celebrating the Basketball World Cup 2023.
2. National Pride: Collectibles featuring 32 unique designs, each tied to different national teams.
3. Ultimate Courtsides: Limited to 1,500 units, highlighting significant moments in basketball history.
The NFTs are available for purchase with fiat on the FIBA Mementos Shopify store, minted on the Polygon network through the Venly Shopify app, and accessible through a Venly Wallet. This fusion of sports, memorabilia, and blockchain technology promises an exciting opportunity to enhance global basketball fandom. The NFTs also grant access to an online basketball community, where fans from across the world can gather to share their passion by participating in events and competing for prizes.
4. Oval3: A Fantasy World for Rugby Enthusiasts
Timed perfectly before the Rugby World Cup 2023 in France, London-based developer Oval3 is releasing a portion of its unique NFT collection on the Binance NFT platform. Following a fantasy sports trading card format, Oval3 has seen sales exceeding $100,000 Since its marketplace launch in April 2023, showcasing the growing popularity of its fantasy sports NFT platform.
This platform offers an immersive experience with diverse card types, competitions, and game modes, all within the cutting-edge Web3 environment. The collaboration with rugby leagues, including with major players like the French Ligue Nationale de Rugby (LNR) and the American Major League Rugby (MLR), as well as clubs and players, has allowed Oval3 to secure licenses to commercialize cards featuring over 2,000 players and 42 professional clubs.
5. Heroes NFT Club: Bridging Fans and Sports Heroes
Heroes NFT Club has reimagined sports fandom by leveraging NFT technology to offer exclusive experiences with professional sports teams. These range from training sessions with players to VIP season-pass tickets, granting diehard fans unprecedented access to their sporting heroes. Additional perks include stadium tours, signed memorabilia, personalized messages from players, and entry into monthly rewards draws.
The success of the Heroes NFT Club can be attributed to strategic partnerships with various clubs and athletes, including Mexican football teams and LaLiga's Cádiz FC. Through blockchain-based initiatives, professional athletes now have greater control over their personal brand and image monetization.
6. FC Barcelona's 'Empowerment' NFT: A Testament to Digital Influence
A few months ago, we wrote about the upcoming release of FC Barcelona's 'Masterpiece' NFT, titled 'Empowerment', commemorating the historic UWCL semifinal against Wolfsburg. This artwork, featuring FC Barcelona star Alexia Putellas, includes an authentic seat from the Spotify Camp Nou, bearing a portrait of Putellas by renowned artist Òscar Tusquets and her personal signature.
This online auction, managed by leading digital collectibles marketplace OpenSea, ran from June 26 to June 28, marking a significant moment in the integration of digital currencies in the sports industry. In the end, it fetched a staggering $300,231.36. The purchase, conducted using ETH on Polygon, marked a significant moment in the integration of digital currencies in the sports industry.
Embracing the Future of Sports Memorabilia
These six sports NFT drops represent a dynamic shift in how fans interact with their favorite sports and athletes. From avatars to iconic moments, Web3 is redefining the sports memorabilia landscape. As the NFT space continues to evolve, it's evident that the intersection of sports, technology, and blockchain is creating exciting new avenues for fans to engage with the sports they love.
The good news for sports leagues, clubs and players is that it’s never been easier to get started in Web3. Once notorious for its complexity and inaccessibility, blockchain is becoming more and more invisible behind familiar, traditional online store UX’s. Fans can participate in sports nft drops without knowing anything about blockchain or NFTs, purchasing their digital memorabilia with their credit cards and receiving everything they need directly to their emails.
Keep an eye on these developments, as they're sure to shape the future of sports fandom.
Venly is a blockchain technology provider creating tools and products to help companies benefit from blockchain technology. We provide a complete technology stack to bring brands, apps, games and platforms into Web3. We help businesses integrate Web3 technology & onboard users seamlessly. We are making blockchain accessible for everyone.
Try our products, free for 30 days, no credit card required, on our online portal.
Follow us on Twitter or LinkedIn to stay informed on the latest developments in blockchain technology.
Join our Discord for updates on the latest NFT trends and drops, developer channel and community.