On Tuesday Under Armour launched a charitable non-fungible token (NFT) to celebrate Stephen Curry’s record for lifetime 3-point shots in basketball. The Golden State Warriors player beat the existing Ray Allen’s record last Tuesday at Madison Square Garden by scoring the 2974th 3-pointer of his career.
To celebrate the feat, Under Armour and Curry Brands partnered with Gala Games, a blockchain game developer. Together, the three brands launched Genesis Curry Flow NFTs, a digital version of the basketball sneakers that Stephen Curry was wearing when he broke the record. Besides working as a display NFT, the shoes will also be wearable as in-game assets in the metaverses of Town Star, originally developed by Gala Games, as well as Decentraland and Animoca’s Sandbox.
The NFT itself was designed by creative agency Berlin Cameron, minted by NFT company NewKino and sold via NFT marketplace, Luna. In total, 2974 editions of the digital asset were sold to commemorate the 2974th record at a fixed price of $333, bringing total revenues of the initiative above $990,000. A sign that the NFT bubble is still alive and well is the resale price of the most common NFT at just under $2,000, while the rarest version where only 30 were minted is going for $70,000.
All profits will be donated to charities that support access to sports to underprivileged young players.
Town Star is a play-to-earn metaverse, and Gala Games is looking to maximize the use of Stephen Curry’s sneakers for its players. The metaverse dropped a Half Court NFT that, when paired with Genesis Curry Flow NFT, adds a special bonus to players’ daily earnings. Limited supplies of Half Courts in different rarity levels will also begin to be sold on the metaverse and the rarer the NFT, the greater the bonus on rewards.
This is the first time that Under Armour is venturing into the NFT industry. Its greatest rivals, Nike and Adidas, have projects underway: Nike purchased digital sneakers startup RTFKT and Adidas launched a collection with Bored Ape Yacht Club, Punks, and Gmoney.
Still, despite waiting longer than others to join, Under Armour’s strategy has two distinct advantages. First, it partnered with an experienced company that did not rely on mainstream popularity for success but rather added utility to NFTs. Second, it entered the industry in partnership with a well regarded athlete. Many brands are launching initiatives that have little or nothing to do with the products they sell. Some give the impression that they are launching collections just because everyone else is. For Under Armour to wait and partner with an athlete to celebrate an athletic achievement through NFTs highlights an effort to have some purpose in the launch beyond just having their name mentioned with NFTs.
Meanwhile, Amazon has invested in Dibbs, a platform that uses blockchain to enable fractional interests to be sold in both physical and digital sports collectibles. GreenPark Sports raised $31 million and is looking to launch NBA and LaLiga blockchain gaming, RECUR is launching college sports NFTs, and Rakuten, an ecommerce platform with over 1.4 billion users and a major sports sponsor, is launching its own NFT platform.