London-based nonfungible token (NFT) platform SportsIcon has completed a round of funding led by several prominent figures in the sports industry, such as former NBA champion Andrew Bogut and Roham Gharegozlou, CEO of Dapper Labs, the creator of NBA Top Shot. Another high profile investor is YouTube creator and former CEO Chad Hurley. The exact amount of the funding was not disclosed, but it was more than £1 million ($1.4 million).
SportsIcon’s business model is to partner with various athletes to develop 15 to 20 NFTs representing iconic moments in their athletic careers. The digital collectibles will incorporate existing footage alongside exclusive content produced by the athletes and digital artists specifically for the collectible. Additionally, the SportsIcon platform is planning to host masterclasses in which the athletes provide insights into their mental and physical training methods.
The startup was founded by Chris Worsey, former FIFA Match Agent Alexi Yovanoff, and blockchain developer Mat Smithies.
Agreements with athletes are currently being negotiated. Nevertheless, taking into account recent events in the sports environment and NFT world, it is not surprising that so many influential personalities see potential in SportsIcon.
SportsIcon is another venue for fans to engage with a sport and connect with the characters that represent it. The recent outrage demonstrated by fans worldwide towards a potential Super League among European soccer teams perfectly demonstrates the deep involvement and dedication of fans to the integrity of the sport they love. So although the hype around NFTs might be subsiding, a platform that enables fans to get further involved and integrated with their sports community is still an attractive investment.
“The coming decade will be remembered as the Age of Digitization, and as if often the case with technological innovations, it will be led by the sports industry,” said Worsey. “NFTs provide the most passionate fans (the ability) to own a unique piece of sporting history in a manner previously unavailable.”
Meanwhile, iconic American football player and current Super Bowl champion Tom Brady is getting ready to launch his very own NFT platform, Autograph. The model is somewhat similar to SportsIcon. However, it is more directed towards pop culture. Topps, the company that’s been distributing MLB collectible cards for years, and the Top Mexican soccer league have also announced plans to launch NFTs.
It will be interesting to see how SportsIcon integrates into the existing sports NFT market and how it will compete with existing sports digital collectible offers.