The Korean Professional Football Federation and its top league, K-League, announced a partnership with non-fungible token (NFT) developer Blueberry NFT. The groups will also collaborate on other projects for creating content.
K-league already has a league-wide partnership with digital sports collectibles platform Sorare. The key differentiator is the content of the NFTs. Sorare offers collectibles of digital player cards and sets up fantasy soccer games. In contrast, the agreement with Blueberry is around the commercialization of NFTs digitizing and selling key video moments in the game, mainly scoring.
Blueberry’s offering is somewhat similar to Dapper Labs’ NBA Top Shot. However, the latter seems to emphasize collecting moments and has some qualities of a fantasy league game, while Blueberry will be mainly commercializing videos.
Why video collectibles are so lucrative
NFTs may very well become a sustainable source of revenue for soccer teams. Soccer jersey partnerships are one of the biggest sources of income for soccer teams. In the 2018-2019 season, the top ten clubs in Europe sold over one million jerseys each, with Manchester United and Real Madrid selling more than three million units. However, there is a limit to how much clubs can sell to a single fan because fans are unlikely to buy multiple team jerseys.
The same applies to other mainstream products and even digital collectibles. On the other hand, NFTs of game moments, if properly marketed, have tremendous potential to boost team finances because every game will produce new products.
The blockchain technology used in the development of NFTs ensures the ownership of each product is unique and non-replicable. This feature can make NFTs extremely valuable, depending on how people appraise the item and the number of limited edition items. The recent hype in the NFT industry has seen NFTs selling for millions of dollars, despite the abstract ownership concept that characterizes NFTs. Since attention in this sector is so recent, it is still a very risky investment.
Blueberry made an unusual pivot from the BioPharma sector to collectible NFTs. The soccer deal follows a previous one by Blueberry for Korean baseball.
Meanwhile, MLB baseball launched NFT collectibles with Topps. The Japanese top soccer tier, J-League, is issuing blockchain tokens with FiNANCiE, and the Liga MX, Mexico’s top league, has also launched an official NFT collection.