Today DraftKings announced a deal with the NFL Players Association (NFLPA) to launch gamified non-fungible tokens (NFT). The gaming company now has the right to use the NFL players’ name, image and likeness as collectibles to be incorporated in DraftKings fantasy football games.
DraftKings’ description of the functionality sounds very similar to how Sorare operates in soccer. Player collectibles can be bought individually and used as part of fantasy teams. Sorare has done pretty well, landing a $680 million funding round at a $4.3 billion valuation.
In contrast to Sorare, which is still very young, DraftKings is massive and active in gambling and fantasy games. Last year it was listed on Nasdaq through a merger with a SPAC and has a market capitalization of $24.5 billion. However, it is heavily loss-making, has been the subject of short-seller action, and its current stock price is less than half of its high in March.
DraftKings is the official daily fantasy and sports betting partner of the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, PGA TOUR and UFC.
In terms of NFTs it inked a deal with Tom Brady’s NFT joint venture Autograph. In DraftKings’ last earnings results, it said there had been 70 Autograph NFT drops which were oversubscribed by 14 times on average. Primary and secondary market transactions totaled $20 million gross. Perhaps because of that oversubscription, yesterday Autograph announced a Tom Brady Origins Collection with 16,600 NFTs.
Earlier this year, the NFL asked teams not to ink NFT deals while it developed a strategy. Since then, it announced a deal for video moments with NBA Top Shot developer Dapper Labs. It has also partnered with Ticketmaster to enable fans that attend certain games to get complimentary NFTs. And Panini recently launched NFL digital collectibles.
However, when it comes to conventional trading card deals, the NFLPA broke ranks with the Panini and recently entered a deal with ecommerce company Fanatics, which is the majority shareholder of another NFT company, Candy Digital.