Online sponsorship platform Parity is launching a non-fungible token (NFT) marketplace dedicated to women athletes. The official launch will feature digital collectibles from athletes Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Cynthia Cooper-Dyke, and Jayna Hefford.
The women’s sport income gap
It is no news that for most sports, women athletes are paid considerably less than their male counterparts in the same sport. Beyond the contracts with the teams, athletes can also make significant income from sponsorships. Unsurprisingly, in 2020 women’s sports sponsorship accounted for just seven percent of the total sports figure. But that’s a big improvement from less than one percent in 2011.
The argument used to justify the disparity in income is there’s not as much interest in women’s sports and as a consequence, they don’t generate as much revenue. However, studies show that there is a general trend among sports consumers of increased interest in women’s sports.
UK broadcaster Sky Sports published a report in May last year showing that 21% of adults have spent more time following women’s sports. According to Deloitte, 49% of sports fans are female, and 84% of all sports fans follow at least one women’s sport.
There is severe underinvestment in women’s sports and a lack of content to be consumed by fans. Parity tries to address this by providing female athletes with revenues as social media influencers.
For example, in sports digital collectibles, Sorare has partnerships with almost every globally recognized male football (soccer) team in Europe. It has just signed Serena Williams as an adviser to expand into women’s sports. Dapper Lab’s NBA Top Shot only recently integrated the WNBA in the app, and we’re not aware of any Socios partnerships with female teams.
That’s despite pockets of research showing that followers of high profile women’s sports such as basketball and tennis are more crypto-friendly than fans of male sports.
Parity’s NFT initiative aims to help athletes increase their income.
Athletes and artists using the marketplace will earn 90% of revenues on initial NFT sales, as well as royalties from every secondary market sale.
The NFT project was launched in collaboration with the Aventus Network and its subsidiary VereNFT and is compatible with Ethereum’s network. Joyner-Kersee’s auction will start on January 23. NFTs from Parity’s current roster of over 700 athletes across 40 different sports will also start making an appearance on the marketplace.
“The Parity NFT Marketplace will — for the first time in cryptocurrency — put women athletes at the forefront of technology, business and sport, rather than having them as an all-too common afterthought,” said Minji Ro, Co-CEO of Parity. “The Aventus team understood the ambitious scope of our vision from the outset, and their technical knowledge is unmatched. The Parity Legends Collection is an exciting beginning to our collaboration.”
Meanwhile, Fantastec, which launched NFTs of the women’s Arsenal team, partnered with Dapper Labs to bring its NFTs to Flow. Sorare signed Serena Williams to advise on expanding into women’s sports. And Socios partnered with Italy’s Serie A.