A French startup behind a fantasy football card game built on Ethereum has welcomed its latest oncomer into the fold: Italian football powerhouse Juventus.
This week, the Paris-based Sorare, which counts Ethereum development studio ConsenSys among its investors, announced that it had agreed to a licensing deal with Juventus in order to mint limited-edition digital cards representing the team’s top players, of which superstar forward Cristiano Ronaldo is currently one.
The startup’s cards are non-fungible tokens (NFT) built on Ethereum’s ERC721 standard that can be collected, traded, or used in Sorare’s game, which allows competitors to put forth teams of 5 in fantasy football matchups. The NFTs earn points based on their respective players’ real-life performances, and Sorare’s best roster managers can strive for more than a dozen weekly prizes.
Juventus’s brand has global reach, so it’s arrival on Sorare marks another step forward for the platform, which has already enjoyed similar embraces from other high-profile European clubs like S.L. Benfica, Olympique Lyonnais, Atlético Madrid, A.S. Roma, West Ham United, and more.
“We see this as a new key step in our vision to onboard the best soccer clubs from around the world and bring blockchain-gaming to football fans around the world,” Sorare chief executive officer Nicolas Julia commented.
Barca Follows Juventus
Notably, the new meld with Sorare won’t be Juventus’s first rodeo where tokenization is concerned. The storied club teamed up with fan token platform Socios back in 2018 on a so-called Fan Token Offering, or FTO.
Alas, the team’s fan token was envisioned as a means to grow its audience through direct engagement by offerings fans the ability to vote in a mobile app on Juventus-centric ballots.
“Together with Socios.com, we believe we can offer new opportunities to our worldwide fan base to engage in cutting-edge [things] with their favorite club,” Giorgio Ricci, one of the club’s top revenue officers, said at the time.
Interestingly then, this month FC Barcelona — the world’s richest football club — inked a deal with Chiliz, the creators of the Socios app, to collaborate on the creation of Barca Fan Tokens (BAR). The partnership marked Barca’s first with a blockchain company.
“This agreement will give us the chance to set up innovative marketing and partnership activations with a clear focus on the digital realm to take the club closer to our fans around the world,” Josep Pont, a member of Barca’s board of directors and the leader of the club’s commercial activities, said on the news.
NFT Arena Heating Up in 2020
Along with DeFi, Ethereum’s collectibles and games sector has become a growing bright spot for the smart contracts platform.
For example, Ethereum’s top virtual world projects, namely Decentraland, Cryptovoxels, and The Sandbox, have seen growing trade volume and rising valuations around their parcels in the face of increased demand so far this year.
A non-trivial portion of that demand has been driven by anticipation for Decentraland’s mainnet launch, which occurred on February 20th and kicked off with a $100,000 USD prize campaign.
Then there’s Ethereum’s art domain, which is on the up and up as artists on platforms like SuperRare, KnownOrigin, and MakersPlace continue to mint new pieces and find new collectors. On SuperRare alone, artists to date have collectively made nearly $1 million in sales, and at present the average resale value of a SuperRare piece is +850%. That’s fledgling demand in a small arena that seems well-poised to swell in the years ahead.
And last but not least are games like Gods Unchained and Axie Infinity that have achieved early flashes of success with blooming communities that genuinely enjoy the gameplay. With all that said, NFTs, DeFi, and DAOs are a powerful trifecta for Ethereum going deeper into 2020.