Metaverse platform Upland has partnered with the NFL Players Association (NFLPA) to bring over 2000 active athletes into the metaverse. The project involves Upland Legits, 3D non-fungible tokens of branded digital merchandise.
Fans can now play and compete in Upland for the minting and ownership of NFL NFTs, the Upland Legits, before actual football games. Following the live event, fans can see how a player’s performance on the field affects the NFT, presumably its value.
The initial Upland Legits are already sold out. More will continue to drop during the NFL playoff season and users will be able to continue competing for their ownership.
The concept of the metaverse is still used very broadly. Many assume 3D virtual experiences similar to platform games, but currently, Upland is not like that. It’s a virtual real estate game based in real-life locations, so the core is a 2D map – think Google Maps – where users buy real estate and can ‘build’. 3D buildings are coming, but at this stage, they too are more 3D pictures versus a building that you can walk through.
However, this location concept is incorporated in the NFLPA experience so that NFT mints are location-specific. And players also perform virtual signings for Legit NFTs.
“The metaverse represents the powerful convergence of gaming, NFTs, athlete influencers and a highly engaged community. NFL Players are delivering unparalleled authenticity through Upland’s must-have NFTs,” said Terése Whitehead, VP Consumer Products & Strategy at NFL Players Inc. The Upland deal was brokered by OneTeam Partners.
While this partnership’s scope is limited to NFLPA, OneTeam Partners also works with the MLB Players Association and several other player organizations.
Meanwhile, the NFLPA has another NFT deal with Dapper Labs for video moments, similar to the NBA Top Shot NFTs.
In other metaverse deals, Under Armour launched an NFT with NBA player Stephen Curry as an in-game asset in three metaverses. And the Australian Open launched an interactive experience in Decentraland.