Football blockchain collectibles platform Sorare signed a licensing deal with the German Football Association to create non-fungible token (NFT) digital cards of the players in Germany’s current squad. This is the second partnership Sorare had made with a national football team following a deal last week with the French national team.
Many digital collectible platforms in the sports industry seem to be operating as a substitute for traditional sportscard collecting. On the other hand, Sorare is using the technology to promote a weekly football fantasy ecosystem. In the game, fans set up a squad of five cards to go against other Sorare fans and measure their performance based on the footballers’ actual performance during the week’s soccer games. Winners of the fantasy football game earn rewards that can be redeemed for other cards or cryptocurrency, which in turn can be exchanged for real money. The cards are minted as non-fungible tokens (NFTs), which ensures their scarcity and authenticity.
Sorare has grown increasingly popular during the last year. In part, this is likely due to the pandemic. Football fans were looking for a new way to spend time involved in the game.
“Especially in the Corona pandemic, digital offers were and are the only way to enter into direct exchange with our fans,” said Dr. Holger Blask, Managing Director Marketing & Sales DFB.
But Sorare has also made considerable effort to sign the world’s top football teams and expand the platform across the four corners of the globe. It currently has 140 teams in its network.
Some might perceive the game-like model as a means to gamble. However, the fantasy football fantasy game motivates fans to engage in the game and follow their players closely, which is likely part of the clubs’ intent when signing with Sorare.
In Sorare’s platform, each fan has a maximum supply of 111 cards per season. Many of the German football players already have player cards in Sorare due to licensing deals with their league teams. Therefore special Euro edition cards will be minted and available on the platform in addition to the players’ existing cards. For world-class players Antonio Rüdiger, Kai Havertz and Timo Werner, these will be their first cards on the platform.
It’s possible that Sorare is exploring a Global Fantasy Football game for the Euro 2020, the European Football championship. The competition was to take place last year but was delayed due to Covid-19. The championships are well underway, with the final on July 11. Despite Sorare mentioning it’s in discussion with other national leagues about signing with the platform, the timing is unclear.
Sorare recently raised $50 million in a Series A round of funding in February, so it should have the bandwidth to support more teams.
Meanwhile, the deal with Sorare for minting NFTs of the German players is not exclusive. Just last week, the German Football Association announced a partnership with Porsche’s new NFT trading platform Fanzone. Like many other platforms, Fanzone emphasizes card collection and trading as opposed to fantasy football gaming.