The NFL season may be winding down, but the league is not going gently into that good night. Playoff games are in the home stretch, with teams vying for a coveted spot in Super Bowl LVI 2022 on Feb. 13. Meanwhile, the NFL’s relationship with NFTs appears to be just gearing up, with the launch of the pro league’s maiden commemorative postseason ticket NFTs.
The NFL’s latest batch of NFTs will be available to fans who attend any playoff game. Even fans watching from the couch can grab one, but they’ll have a limited window to do so before kickoff. Super Bowl attendees hit the jackpot with an NFT ticket tailored to their section, row, and seat. It’s not uncommon for holders of rare NFTs to sell them in the secondary market for a profit. Meanwhile, with hundreds of millions of fans, the NFL’s NFT push has the potential to drum up interest for digital collectibles in the mainstream. The collection includes:
- Road to the Super Bowl: This set comprises a batch of 100 NFTs of the dozen teams playing for a spot in the Super Bowl. These are available on the NFL Marketplace.
- Wildcard Matchups: These NFTs will be automatically generated and emailed to season ticket holders and single-game buyers after the games.
The NFL is no stranger to digital collectibles. The league partnered with Dapper Labs, the project behind the NFT-fueled CryptoKitties blockchain game, in September for NFL All Day, digital video collectibles in the form of non-fungible tokens. These NFTs feature iconic plays and top players from weekly games and take the form of digital trading cards, similar to physical trading cards. The league also dug up the archives to create video NFTs from historic games.
— NFL ALL DAY (@NFLALLDAY) October 19, 2021
During the regular season, fans who attended certain games could access virtual commemorative tickets that took the form of NFTs. The league must have had success with its initial phase considering it’s now expanding the program to the postseason. The NFL is minting its NFT collection on the Polygon blockchain. Prices for many of these ticket NFTs range from the low hundreds to thousands of dollars.
Pro athletes have been quick to flock to cryptocurrencies, and their enthusiasm has spilled over into NFTs, too. Rob Gronkowski, tight end for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, has released a Championship Series NFT collection spotlighting the four championship games he’s played in. These limited edition NFT trading cards are currently selling for a floor price of 2.3 ETH (around $8,000) on the OpenSea marketplace.
Ups and Downs
While the NFL has sought to maintain control of its own NFT narrative, some things are out of its control. For example, an infamous moment unfolded during a game between the Buccaneers and the New York Jets on Jan. 2, when Antonio Brown, then a wide receiver for the Bucs, removed his jersey, threw it into the stands, and exited the field. The Bucs won the game, but they may have lost the battle.
While Brown has since been released from the team, the moment will live on. It was captured on video and immortalized in an NFT minted by ViralHog and ViralHeir on the Ethereum blockchain. The Antonio Brown NFT is now being auctioned off for a reported starting price of 1 ETH, which at last check is worth about $3,300. Rumors suggest the price tag could surpass a cool $1 million.
Disaster for @James54641571 !
— Miller (@mmmmillah) January 2, 2022
More broadly, the NFT industry is growing by leaps and bounds, any way you cut it. Investment bank Jefferies predicts that this market segment will be worth $75 billion in the next three years. Professional sports has fueled much of the fanfare, with researchers from McKinsey declaring “sports NFTs are a movement, not a meme.”
In addition to sports, movie-themed NFTs are also catching on. Just ask AMC Entertainment CEO Adam Aron, who revealed that the 86,000 NFTs in the company’s Spider-Man No Way Home collection were all claimed.
You were right when so many of you suggested movie themed NFTs. Our Spider-Man NFT is a key reason why No Way Home generated the second highest one day ticket sales in AMC’s entire history! All 86,000 NFT’s (at one per qualifying member) were fully committed by Monday afternoon. pic.twitter.com/GMO6IswMSD
— Adam Aron (@CEOAdam) December 1, 2021
The Australian Open introduced an Art Ball NFT collection, giving participants the chance to mint their own tennis-ball themed tokens. Each NFT is tied to “an individual plot on the official Australian Open court,” containing “real match data” and “match-winning points” from the tournament, according to the description on OpenSea.
NFTs serve the purpose as a status symbol, investment, gaming character, or to fuel a collector’s hobby, to name a few use cases. So why would you want to own one? NFTs are created on the blockchain and contain unique identifying data that represent ownership of the asset so that there’s only one owner at a time. The non-fungible nature of NFTs means that these assets cannot be exchanged for other items due to their unique attributes, kind of like a baseball card. By contrast, a dollar bill is fungible because it’s worth the same no matter which one you hold.
Like beauty, the value of NFTs is in the eye of the beholder. Whether or not the priciest ones will be able to retain their value over time is a mystery that has yet to be revealed.
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Featured Image Credit: NFL Consumer Products