Sports betting and tech company DraftKings is expanding into yet new ambitious sector with a dedicated NFT marketplace.
DraftKings Set to Build an NFT Ecosystem with Marketplace
DraftKings has always had a bit of a soft spot for technology. Now, the company is breaking away from its fantasy and sports betting realms to branch out into the much-ballyhooed non-fungible token (NFT) economy with a brand new marketplace that will offer sports and entertainment-themed digital collectibles to its sizable consumer base.
The company has not given an exact date as to when the launch may occur, but the move indicates DraftKings’ ability to leverage its brand, consumer base, and the growing operations of both the sports and fantasy betting verticals.
While NFTs exploded early in the bullish crypto run of 2021, the market came crashing shortly after, with the tokens proving a little more ephemeral than originally expected and after some original works of digital work began disappearing.
“The NFT boom has reinvented the collectibles industry and driven excitement to early-adopting audiences worldwide—including the DraftKings community,” said DraftKings president Matt Kalish commenting on his company’s latest initiative.
DraftKings is a name that can bring some of the enthusiasm about NFTs back, and it’s definitely not the only company in the sports space to try. Dapper Labs, the company that makes NBA Top Shot, an NFT platform licensed by the NBA, has hit $7.5 billion in valuation and continues to gather steam.
Socios.com, a blockchain company by Chiliz, which issues fan tokens that allow fans to engage with their favorite soccer clubs, is another dominant force in the market. There are many angles that DraftKings can explore.
Launching in a Contested Space
Similar to Socios.com or NBA Top Shot, it may seek to sell game highlights or create governing tokens of sorts, although Socios is definitely status quo in the space.
DraftKings is not going it alone, having inked a partnership with Autograph, former NFL quarterback Tom Brady’s digital marketplace. “This initial vision in collaboration with Autograph, and its coveted collection of official digital collectibles, is a vital first step as we enter the emergent NFT market,” Kalish added.
Autograph already has prominent partnerships in place with numerous athletes from all areas of sports, including Tony Hawk, Wayne Gretzky, Tiger Woods, and others. DraftKings will focus on making onboarding a much simpler process for consumers who are new to blockchain and the NFT industry.
All purchases will be available in USD, making for a simplified experience and a gateway to digital collectibles, which are here to stay. Consumers will be able to use the upcoming DraftKings marketplace to both buy and sell NFTs.
In June, DraftKings shareholder Shalom McKenzie paid almost $12 million for a CryptoPunk NFT, marking one of the highest sales of such assets.