After introducing millions of fans to the blockchain through NBA Top Shot, the league and the NBPA will take their next leap into NFTs this season.
On Wednesday, Sorare announced it will release a collectible NFT fantasy basketball game ahead of the 2022-23 season as part of a multi-year agreement with the NBA and NBPA. Users will be able to buy NFT cards of NBA stars and put together lineups for public competitions, similar to Sorare's existing soccer and baseball offerings.
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Founded in France in 2018, Sorare expanded to the U.S. in 2021 and has had its sights set on landing the NBA as a partner.
"Every day in our community there are people asking, 'When is the NBA coming? When is Sorare offering the NBA?'" Sorare head of business development Michael Meltzer said. "It's something we hear constantly. … We think this is a critical, game-changing deal for us."
Since announcing its MLB game in July, Sorare has added 250,000 users, bringing its total to more than two million registered players. Roughly 85% of the players for its baseball game have come outside the U.S. "We felt like with their footprint in the global community, that would just … continue to build greater traction for us," Josh Goodstadt-EVP of licensing for Think450, the NBPA's licensing arm-said in an interview.
Rudy Gobert and Blake Griffin have also invested in Sorare, as NBA players increasingly flex their muscle on cap tables.
Sorare will be the NBA's official NFT fantasy partner, joining Dapper Labs and Panini as producers of NBA-licensed blockchain collectibles. Sorare has differentiated itself with a focus on fantasy gameplay and has continued to land major partnerships despite other entries into the category (including DraftKings' ReignMakers product, for instance, which is making a big marketing push around its football game ahead of Week 1).
"Sorare has been a pioneer really in the merging of fantasy sports and NFTs, and they're clearly the leader in the category," NBA head of consumer products Matt Holt said in an interview. "It's really just about giving our fans another opportunity to engage with the league and the teams and its players in a new and exciting and different way."
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