According to Bloomberg, officially-licensed cricket non-fungible token (NFT) platform FanCraze is raising $100 million in a Series A round of funding. Backers are likely to include venture capital firms B Capital Group, Insight Partners, South Korea’s Mirae Assets and legendary football player Cristiano Ronaldo.
FanCraze, started by Faze Technologies, was founded in 2021 by former Stanford University student and Wall Street alumni Anshum Bhambri, ex-Indian Premier League COO Sundar Raman, and entrepreneur Kushagra Kohli. The platform quickly signed a deal with the International Cricket Council (ICC) to launch licensed digital collectibles officially branded with players, teams, symbols, and game highlights. The ICC Crictos NFTs were announced in January of this year on the Flow blockchain.
In Europe and the U.S, cricket is not a particularly popular sport, with the exception of the U.K. However, cricket is one of the most popular sports in South Asia and Australia, including in Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and particularly India with its 1.3 billion population. The last Cricket World Cup final had an audience of 167 million viewers compared to Super Bowl’s 100 million. Hence the $100 million valuation.
The popularity of other NFT platforms such as Dapper Labs’ NBA Top Shot and Sorare’s blockchain fantasy football game also have contributed to making sports digital collectibles more mainstream. FanCraze might do the same for cricket.
Before this round of funding, FanCraze had raised $17.4 million from venture capitals Tiger, Coatue, Sequoia, and Dapper Labs.
Meanwhile, Recur has launched an NFT marketplace for collegiate sports, Warner Media’s Turner Sports relaunched an NFT-based golf game, and Amazon invested in a fractional sports collectibles NFT platform.