Tennis icon Serena Williams is becoming an adviser to Sorare, the platform that enables fans to collect digital sports cards as non-fungible tokens (NFTs). Sorare cards are designed for fans to use these collectibles to play fantasy football games. In a very well-funded sector, Sorare stands out, having raised $680 million in a single funding round led by Softbank in September 2021.
Sorare has more than a million users and has partnered with 230 sports teams and football (soccer) leagues. Williams will advise the platform in its expansion. She plans to help Sorare enter other sports, including women’s sport, attract athletes, encourage diversity in NFTs and assist the company in deepening its presence in the United States.
Despite the perception of cryptocurrencies and NFTs being dominated by men, pockets of research have shown that followers of women’s sport are amongst the most crypto-friendly audiences.
“NFTs have the potential to be a powerful tool for bringing equity and investment to women’s sports,” said Serena Williams. “I believe Sorare will be setting the culture and tone of the future of sports entertainment.”
Apart from being one of the greatest tennis players of all time, and having a flare for fashion, Williams has always walked the talk. Today on her Twitter account she posted a pink Bored Ape NFT.
According to Google Trends, web searches indicate Sorare’s penetration in the United States appears limited, despite success in Europe. Sorare’s Head of Operations, Thibaut Predhomme, told Ledger Insights via email that there’s been quite a bit of U.S. interest, particularly since adding MLS soccer players to the platform. “That being said, we have set up an office in the U.S., and we will be doubling down in the U.S. in 2022, expanding into other sports,” he said.
Sorare has particularly blossomed in Europe, where fantasy sports are very popular. Still, the sector is fragmented compared to the United States, which has major players in DraftKings and Fan Duel.
“The U.S. is a large and highly competitive market but we believe what we’re offering is unique. Sorare combines the best of fantasy games with the benefits of NFTs to create a totally new experience for fans, clubs and leagues,” said Predhomme.
He was keen to emphasize that NFTS in sports bring particular advantages in proving scarcity and the ability to additionally use Sorare cards in games developed by Sorare, Ubisoft and other indie game developers. That’s the so-called composability of blockchain, where a third-party provider can piggyback on Sorare’s NFTs.
“We are the only company that combines digital collectibles with fantasy sports, and this gives Sorare a utility and community ethos that makes us different from other providers,” he said.
In October, Sorare inked a deal for video-based NFT moments with Germany’s Bundesliga. We wondered whether this might signal a departure for Sorare from its fantasy roots. Would it consider blockchain 3D games, like those from Animoca Brands? Animoca developed NFT-based games for F1 and Moto GP as well as producing The SandBox.
“Right now, we are fully focused on cementing our position as the leading player in the fast-growing sports NFT space and delivering a great experience for fans to connect with the players and the game they love. Our focus is on building the fantasy experience around NFTs,” Predhomme responded.
Meanwhile, regarding diversity in blockchain and NFTs, Parity has just launched a platform for female athletes to launch NFTs.