ESPN is partnering with Tom Brady’s Autograph non-fungible token (NFT) platform. The collaboration is expected to last at least a couple of years and will kickstart with a collection based on a Tom Brady documentary series around the NFL quarterback’s career that’s co-produced by ESPN.
The “Man in the Arena: Tom Brady Collection” will be available on Autograph’s platform and up for sale on DraftKings digital Marketplace. It will consist of three different designs based on the football player’s achievements. A second collection, “Back in the Arena,” centered around his career development, will debut after the 10th episode in the series. Tom Brady will digitally sign 50 of the NFTs.
This will be ESPN’s first NFT partnership. Tom Brady’s association with Autograph and ESPN’s presence in sports media will likely enhance the branding and marketing efforts of this and future collaborative projects.
“This unique collection around Tom’s ‘Man in the Arena’ docuseries marks the beginning of our relationship with ESPN,” said Dillon Rosenblatt, Co-Founder and CEO at Autograph. “As the first NFT partner for ESPN, the possibilities across sports and technology are endless.”
Most of Autograph’s collections and projects have been centered around individual athletes, which provide a strong but finite content potential for NFTs. On the other hand, the constant stream of sports-related material that ESPN produces combined with its audience reach is a huge opportunity for Autograph. While Autograph may need additional IP approvals for future collections, it is more efficient to source content from a single outlet.
While there is no evidence that the deal is exclusive, another advantage for Autograph is that it gets the first-mover advantage with ESPN against competing platforms such as Fanatics subsidiary Candy Digital.
Autograph has a strategic partnership with fantasy sports and gambling company DraftKings. Research shows that consumers interested in sports gambling are more inclined towards NFTs. Therefore, the partnership enables Autograph to reach its target audience more easily and offers DraftKings another product to sell.
Meanwhile, Autograph recently raised $170 million in a Series B round of funding led by A16z and Kleiner Perkins.