Video highlights from the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) will now be available on Dapper Labs’ NBA Top Shot. Moments from games throughout the season will be minted as non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and be purchased in packs through the same platform as the NBA’s NFTs.
With the growing number of sports blockchain applications for fan engagement, applications for women’s sports have mostly been put to the side. Sorare has over 150 football teams in its roster, Socios more than 50 across six different sports, and Topps’ WAX covers players’ digital collectibles for Major League Baseball. None of these platforms have a single women’s team in their network. However, Sorare has said it plans to do so.
Understanding the lack of interest in including women’s sports in an emerging industry is not too complicated. NFTs are still a new concept for sports fans. It remains a challenge for these platforms to attract a mass audience despite partnerships with widely followed clubs and leagues, let alone with women’s sports that historically have a smaller fan base. There is also a massive disparity in revenue between men’s and women’s leagues. The NBA brought in $7.92 billion in revenue in 2021, while the WNBA only reached $60 million in the same season.
However, according to research done by management consultants Deloitte, women’s sports are showing significant potential for monetization. A multi-country study concluded that 66% of people were interested in at least one women’s sport, and among sports fans, that percentage rises to 84%. It is also worth noting that 49% of sports fans are women.
Women’s sports leagues have commercial and engagement potential. But less exposure will naturally yield lower results. As such, the inclusion of WNBA on Top Shot is meaningful beyond the extension of packs available on the platform. It will not only offer a product for WNBA fans, which are scarce in the market compared to the NBA, but it will also showcase WNBA to other Top Shot consumers that might not previously have engaged with the league.
“Top Shot presents an exciting opportunity for the WNBA to engage passionate fans on a whole new level and celebrate the league as it continues to make history,” said Christy Hedgpeth, WNBA COO. “We have been at the forefront of innovation in many respects and partnering with Dapper Labs on Top Shot allows us to highlight the talent and incredible performances of WNBA players in a heightened way through a digital experience.”
The deal was facilitated by OneTeam, WNBA’s sponsorship and licensing partner.
Meanwhile, Porsche’s NFT platform Fanzone has partnered with Germany’s national football teams, including the women’s national team. NFT platform Fantastec, which has partnered with Dapper Labs to move to the Flow blockchain, has an NFT deal with Arsenal’s men’s and women’s teams.