- Premier League strikes multimillion pound deal with Sorare to launch digital cards in fantasy football game.
- Users will be able to sign up for free and buy NFT cards which they can trade and even use to play in tournaments to earn rewards
- Sorare bags this deal as the 3rd triumph after partnering with MLB and NBA in the last year
The English Premier League has agreed to a multi-million-pound partnership with Sorare, the blockchain fantasy sports game, to produce digital cards representing players from all 20 football teams in the Premier League. Premier League’s certainty backs the four-year deal that this trade in digital player cards will survive the ongoing collapse in the crypto industry.
The Sorare Fantasy football game will allow users to collect, trade, and play using NFT cards. They will also build teams that will participate in tournaments against global fans and win rewards, including digital cards, Ethereum, and match tickets, based on how the players perform. The game will give users the feeling of managing their football club, as cited by the Premier League.
The deal was first hinted at in October last year, with reports quoting its value at £30m per year. This was a replacement for ongoing talks with ConsenSys, which did not mature into a partnership.
As Financial Times reports, the deal states that Premier League is allowed to take an equity stake in Sorare, valued at $4.3 billion as of 2021. This was after the start-up, founded in 2018, received an investment of up to $680 million from Soft Bank, Accel, Benchmark, and other companies.
Sorare is expected to pay tens of millions in pounds to Premier League to secure the rights, with each final annual payment depending on the game’s performance, as stated by Financial Times sources.
Nicolas Julia, CEO of Sorare, expressed how significant a milestone this partnership is. He stated that:
“The Premier League is a global competition and has been the home to many iconic moments and players over the last 30 years. As football fans, this partnership is something we’ve dreamt of since we founded the business”.
Premier League made an official post about the partnership where they explained that while game participation is free, the fantasy team’s members are represented by collectible NFT player cards. Some of these cards, called “Common Cards,” are free, but the others ranging from the “Limited, Rare, Super Rare, and Unique” will be bought and, therefore, tradable like other NFTs.
Against all odds
NFTs gained popularity in 2021, but like every other asset in crypto, it was greatly affected by the collapse of FTX, causing a drastic drop in prices and sales. NFT gaming was also not spared, as FTX sponsored Major League Baseball and partnered with celebrities to target the sports audience. The collapse led to a heightened investigation of partnerships and deals between the crypto industry and the sports sector and a loss of interest in digital collectibles among fans.
Additionally, The Football Supporters’ Association (FSA) expressed its concern about clubs having partnerships with crypto firms adding that” Supporter engagement shouldn’t be monetized.” The FSA also stated that,
“The lack of regulatory oversight for crypto and NFTs is something supporters should be aware of.”
On the other hand, the UK Gambling Commission has also been on Sorare’s neck since 2021, gauging and investigating whether or not it is a gambling game.
Despite all this, Sorare has partnered with not only Premier League but also MLB and NBA over the past few months. With support from major players such as Kylian Mbappe, their brand ambassador, Lionel Messi, Serena Williams, and Gerard Pique, Sorare has now signed with over 300 sports organizations, including several individual football clubs.
Since its establishment, the Paris-based company has amassed 3 million users, an achievement that the founder and CEO, Nicolas Julia, says he was able to achieve by making Sorare different from other NFTs. He said their collectibles have utility value adding that Sorare is always marketed as a collectible you can use to play the game and not as an investment.