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.
Sorare announced Wednesday that it will release a collectible NFT fantasy basketball game before the 2022-23 season as part of a multi-year deal with the NBA and NBPA. Users will be able to purchase NFT cards of NBA stars and compile lineups for public contests, similar to Sorare’s existing football and baseball offerings.
Founded in France in 2018, Sorare expanded to the US in 2021 and has set its sights on landing the NBA as a partner.
“Every day in our community there are people who ask: ‘When is the NBA coming? When is Sorare hosting the NBA?’” said Sorare’s head of business development, Michael Meltzer. “That’s something we constantly hear. … 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. About 85% of the players for its baseball game came from outside the U.S. “We felt like with their footprint in the global community, it 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 muscles on cap tables.
Sorare will be the NBA’s official NFT fantasy partner, joining Dapper Labs and Panini as manufacturers of NBA-licensed blockchain collectibles. Sorare distinguished itself with a focus on fantasy play and continued to land big partnerships despite other entries in the category (including DraftKings’ ReignMakers product, for example, which is making a big marketing push around its football game before Week 1).
“Sorare has truly been a pioneer in the fusion of fantasy sports and NFTs, and they are 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 connect with the league and the teams and its players in a new and exciting and different way.”