• Sports NFT on the Rise, NFL’s Dak Prescott on Ethernity Chain

  • There is something deeply satisfying about owning something that is both special and unique. Special in that it represents a key person, event, or object. Unique in that it is unique, if not one of the few. It’s always been a well-known passion for sports fans, and cards and collectibles have been a sports staple for years. That said, it’s not just passion that drives the search for collectibles: since 2020 alone, there have been a dozen $1 million sports card sales. There’s real money to be made, and the range of collectibles is vast. In American football, items being auctioned off include the Green Bay Packers’ 1921 franchise certificate ($20,000), William “Refrigerator” Perry’s Super Bowl XX ring ($203,000), and “Rudy” Ruettiger’s 27-second game-time gear from Notre Dame ($241,000).

    Now, with the rise of NFTs, which traded for more than $1.5 billion in the first quarter of 2021 alone, combining sports collectibles with NFTs seems like the most obvious mashup. However, that doesn’t change how innovative and exciting it is for fans, enthusiasts and collectors. As more and more sports organizations join the NFT wave, NFL fans have asked American football to start developing quality collectibles for their favorite teams and players.

    Where are the NFTs in the NFL?

    Oddly enough, the NFL has been largely silent on their plans for an NFT lineup. Other sports organizations in the U.S. and abroad – most notably the NBA – have been creating a variety of limited edition or one-of-a-kind NFTs for collectors, such as the Top Shot digital package.

    The leading NFT market innovators have not stood by and waited for sports organizations to decide on a strategy. Instead, they’ve been working with top athletes to launch personalized NFT collections for their fans and savvy collectors. For example, WWE’s Undertaker now has a lower-cost (between $200 and $2,000) line of bronze/silver NFT tokens. There are individual gold and platinum NFTs up for auction, in video form, selling for $30,000 and $100,000 respectively, with additional benefits such as signed physical memorabilia and VIP tickets.

    While this may seem like a massive sale of NFTs, it’s a small change from the jaw-dropping $1 million sale of Macy’s one-for-one NFTs on Ethernity’s platform. Ethernity currently has an official line of Messi NFTs – dubbed the “Messiverse” – available in a variety of prices and quantities.

    It’s clear that NFTs are storming the collector market for all sports. But where does the NFL fit into all of this?

    The official answer is unclear, but the same platform that works with Macy’s NFT series (Ethernity) has partnered directly with Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott and teased a major NFT for the upcoming season opener on September 9, 2021. The excitement among cryptocurrency enthusiasts, football fans, and memorabilia collectors of all kinds is palpable . Social media is blowing up with questions and speculation about what Prescott’s NFT collection will include, but if previous drops are any indication, this one will also sell out quickly.

    What does this mean for the collection?

    For the few who are still reading, but somehow haven’t jumped up for this and future sports NFT drops – especially the barely touched NFL market – let’s look at the broader implications of what the NFT means for the collectibles industry.

    First, why should we care about NFTs? What are they and why should I care when it comes to sports collectibles? NFTs (non-forgeable tokens, meaning they can’t be copied), solve a key problem for any collectible. Authenticity. Any time you have a collectible, especially some memorabilia, its full value depends on whether you can prove it is authentic. Given that collections are held for years or decades, it’s not hard to see the risk of losing proof of authenticity, or having proofs that you have that are simply not accepted. With NFT, authenticity is both permanent and immutable via blockchain imprinted on the NFT. The biggest risk to collections has essentially been solved. In addition, guaranteeing the number of minted copies of a given NFT prevents market dilution and can lead to major value growth over time.

    The only other risk is finding the price you expect to pay, now and for the foreseeable future, which doesn’t seem to be a problem. Massey NFT has listed a $9 million price tag from an initial $1 million purchase price and could find a buyer at any time. For the Dak Prescott NFT series, which represents one of the earliest NFL NFT series and will be handled by a top NFT market, it’s reasonable to expect a lot of competition for the initial purchase and even more activity in the secondary market. Owning one of the earliest NFL NFT’s means owning an asset with multiple value growth attributes. While nothing in life is guaranteed, owning the first of any new innovation, especially in an area like collectibles, is exciting and can be very lucrative.

    What will happen now?

    There is always uncertainty about the future, but looking at repeating trends can at least be informative. If we base our knowledge on what we see in the rest of the collectibles market, we see that.

    A combination of new technological innovation and the cool factor

    The blockchain aspect of packaging with NFTs removes the biggest risk (authenticity) from collectibles. Other sports-related NFTs have experienced a decline in resale value. All of this points to tremendous future growth.

    While the NFL may only be days or weeks away from announcing their NFT plans, joining the initial few football-driven NFT drops will be a target for many cryptocurrency investors, NFL fans, and sports collectors.

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