Sports-themed NFTs spark gold rush as projects raise $930M in a week

Sports-themed NFTs spark gold rush as projects raise $930M in a week

Tokenized sport collectibles projects have raised almost $1 billion in funding in the space of a week.

On Wednesday Dapper Labs — the firm behind the Flow blockchain and the widely popular tokenized basketball collectibles NBA Top Shot — announced a further $250 million in a funding round led by tech-focused hedge fund Coatue.

As reported by Cointelegraph on Wednesday, French-based nonfungible token (NFT) soccer trading card game developer Sorare raised $680 million in Series B funding led by Japanese fintech giant SoftBank. The funding round raised the valuation of the firm to $4.3 billion.

The combined funding for the two firms tallies in at $930 million, marking a significant bet on the sports token sector at a time when some pundits are calling the wider nonfungible market dead due to declining sales volume and floor prices.


Dapper Labs

The latest $250-million round adds to the $305 million and $65 million in funding Dapper Labs has fetched so far in 2021. While the firm didn’t specifically outline its roadmap following the announcement, the firm has teased that there are more projects coming to the Flow blockchain soon.

According to Dapper Labs, the capital will be used to fund further licensed NFT projects across sports, music and entertainment, along with scaling up the NBA Top Shot platform. Earlier this month, news broke that Google had partnered with Dapper Labs to support NFT and Web 3.0 product development on the Flow blockchain.

Dapper Labs’ NBA Top Shot has been a resounding success since opening to the public in October last year, with data from CryptoSlam showing that the NFTs have generated more than $716 million in sales on secondary markets.

However, it appears that hype for the project has cooled over the past few months, with secondary sales failing to break $50 million in a month since April. That’s less than a quarter of the volume in the peak months for NBA Top Shot NFT trading in February and March, which generated $224 million and $220 million worth of secondary sales, respectively.

According to CryptSlam estimates, the most valuable NBA Top Shot moments are the NFTs depicting Lebron James, with the combined market capitalization of 114,114 James NFTs tallying in at $104 million.

Sorare expansion

Sorare’s whopping $680 million adds to a $50-million Series A funding round in February, marking a meteoric rise for the platform in 2021. Sorare has outlined ambitious plans for the latest funds moving forward.

Within the realm of soccer, the firm’s goal is to partner with the top 20 professional soccer leagues across the globe, along with the top 50 international football associations for both the men’s and women’s teams.

As it stands, the Sorare platform has licensing deals with 177 teams from a total of 36 domestic and international leagues. The firm notched an important milestone earlier this month when it signed a deal with the Spanish La Liga to release tokens for all players from the 20 teams in the league.

The funds will also be used to ramp up marketing campaigns, hire key staff members, open its first United States-based office, and expand its NFT collectible model into other sporting codes.

The Sorare platform launched back in April 2019. Despite a year’s head start on NBA Top Shot, its NFTs have generated a significantly lower amount, with a total of $84.8 million worth of sales on secondary markets.

Sales peaked in March with $15.34 million before cooling down over the next three months. However, secondary sales have been on an upward trend in July and August with $8.8 million and $14.8 million, respectively. While there are eight days remaining in September, Sorare NFTs have generated $10.5 million worth of sales, suggesting that figure may surpass $14 million for the second month in a row.

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