Tokenized sports collectibles program raises nearly $1 billion in a week
Dapper Labs – the company behind the Flow blockchain and the popular tokenized basketball collectible NBA TopShot – announced another $250 million in a funding round led by technology-focused hedge fund Coatue.
France-based Sorare, a developer of NFT football trading card games, raised $680 million in a Series B round led by Japanese fintech giant SoftBank. The round raises the company’s valuation to $4.3 billion.
The two companies raised a total of $930 million, marking a significant bet on the sports token space at a time when some academics say the broader non-replaceable market is dying due to declining sales volumes and floor prices.
The latest $250 million round adds to the $305 million and $65 million Dapper Labs has received so far in 2021. While the company did not specifically outline its roadmap following the announcement, the company has teased that more projects will be coming to the Flow blockchain soon.
According to Dapper Labs, the funding will be used to fund further licensed NFT projects in sports, music and entertainment, as well as expand the NBA Top Shot platform. Earlier this month it was announced that Google has partnered with Dapper to support NFT and web 3.0 product development on its blockchain.
Dapper’s NBA Top Shot has been a huge success since it opened to the public last October, with data from CryptoSlam showing NFT sales of more than $716 million in secondary markets.
However, the hype for the project appears to have cooled over the past few months, with secondary market sales failing to top $50 million since April. That’s less than a quarter of the peak trading months for Top Shot NFT in February and March, which generated $224 million and $220 million worth of secondary sales, respectively.
Root estimates that the most valuable Top Shot moment was the NFT depicting LeBron James, with 114,114 James NFTs having a combined total market value of $104 million.
Sorare’s whopping $680 million in funding, coupled with a $50 million Series A round in February, marks the platform’s meteoric rise to 2021.Sorare has outlined ambitious plans for the latest funding moving forward.
In football, the company aims to work with the top 20 professional football leagues in the world, as well as the top 50 FIFA men’s and women’s teams.
Currently, the Sorare platform has licensing agreements with 177 teams from 36 national and international leagues. Earlier this month, the company achieved a major milestone when it signed an agreement with Spain’s La Liga to release tokens for all players from the league’s 20 teams.
The funds will also be used to bolster marketing campaigns, hire key staff, open its first office in the U.S. and expand its NFT collection model to other sports.
The Sorare platform was launched back in April 2019. Despite being a year ahead of NBA Top Shot, its NFT generated significantly lower amounts, with $84.8 million in total sales on the secondary market.
Sales peaked in March at $15.34 million, then cooled off over the next three months. However, sales in the secondary market have been trending upward in July and August at $8.8 million and $14.8 million, respectively. Although there are still eight days left in September, Sorare NFTs have already generated $10.5 million worth of sales, indicating that the figure could exceed $14 million for the second month in a row.