Following the success of NBA Top Shot, Dapper Labs has signed another sports deal. The company has announced a partnership with the Spanish football (soccer) league, LaLiga, to mint in-game moments and iconic historical video highlights from the past decade as non-fungible tokens (NFTs). The project will launch in the Summer of 2022 on Dapper’s Flow blockchain.
NBA Top Shot arguably helped put NFTs on the map. The app launched last year and exploded in popularity in January. Interest in these sometimes overpriced highlights has gone up and down over the course of the last couple of months. But Top Shot’s visibility helped to shape the path of a series of emerging initiatives in the digital asset space, many operating in the sports industry such as Tom Brady’s Autograph, Fanatics-backed Candy and London-based SportsIcon.
Dapper Labs’ objective is to get people to use cryptocurrencies. The company’s first project, CryptoKitties, had some success in 2017, but the viral trend eventually died off. With Top Shot, it became clearer that sports are an effective gateway to introducing crypto and other blockchain applications to a wider audience.
The partnership with the NBA was strategic because, despite it being an American league, basketball is a sport with a global reach and the league has a global fanbase. LaLiga’s partnership will further enable Dapper to use its products to promote crypto and reach other demographics, particularly soccer fans.
Meanwhile, LaLiga has been making moves in the blockchain space and has taken advantage of the buzz. Besides the deal with Dapper, which is a year away from launch, the organization also signed a league-wide partnership with digital fantasy sports platform Sorare. And this year, it launched LaLiga Prizm Blockchain, digital trading cards, with Panini.
LaLiga recently lost one of its best players, Lionel Messi, and iconic stars in football such as Sergio Ramos, Ronaldo, and Neymar also left in the last couple of seasons. In addition, the league seems to be in a battle with its top two clubs, Barcelona and Real Madrid, over financial fair play regulations where the teams are looking to overspend, but the league prohibits it based on their revenue. The decision to promote highlights of past moments might leave the fans reminiscing about what the league can achieve.
“If fans thought it couldn’t get any better, it just did. The partnership between LaLiga and Dapper Labs will bring us the closest we’ve ever been to our fans worldwide through a new and growing medium, and alongside the industry partner that created and jump started the entire NFT movement,” said Javier Tebas, President at LaLiga. “This experience will have soccer fans all over the world at the center, giving them a platform and product to enjoy and express their passion for LaLiga in a unique way.”
Besides NFTs, the project will promote a complete fan experience where fans can earn rewards such as traveling to Barcelona and watching an El Clasico game between Barcelona and Real Madrid, from the team’s VIP box.
In basketball, Dapper has also been expanding Top Shot. It recently announced the NFTs would cover Women’s NBA games, and it launched a project over the Summer where fans could request an NFT to be minted after watching it live in the pre-season series. It has also been investing in NFT initiatives outside of sport such as AI NFT technology Alethea and Avatar developer Genies.