DraftKings Signs NFLPA Agreement to Enter Gamified NFT Space

  • DraftKings will launch a fantasy-style game that will use gamified NFTs as their base
  • The launch of the gamified NFTs is scheduled for the start of the 2022-2023 season
  • Live since August, DraftKings Marketplace allows NFT buying, selling, and trading
  • Other firms involved in gamified NFTs include Dapper Labs, Turner Sports, and Sorare
Football player
DraftKings has struck a deal with the NFLPA that will see the firm launch NFL-related gamified NFTs. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

An exciting collaboration

DraftKings has entered a licensing partnership with the NFL Players Association (NFLPA) that will allow the firm to get into the gamified NFT space. The daily fantasy sports (DFS) and sports betting operator announced the new deal on Tuesday.

DraftKings already has its NFT marketplace up and running, but it does not yet have “gamified NFTs.” These are digital collectibles that feature the likeness, images, and names of current players. They can be bought and sold, as well as used for different types of contests.

plans to launch the gamified NFTs in time for the start of the 2022-2023 NFL season

DraftKings will launch a fantasy-style game using the NFLPA licensing rights. This will allow users to go head-to-head against one another using the NFTs. The operator plans to launch the gamified NFTs in time for the start of the 2022-2023 NFL season.

It is possible that down the line, NFT-based competitions could connect to the existing fantasy platforms that DraftKings operates. Certain elements of this agreement are exclusive, but it is not an exclusive deal in terms of using the NFLPA IP for gamified NFT offerings.

Expanding the existing DraftKings Marketplace

The DraftKings Marketplace launched in August and allows users to trade collectibles that showcase the likes of Derek Jeter, Tiger Woods, and Tom Brady. To date, the marketplace has seen more than 120,000 transactions, representing about $20m of volume.

DraftKings decided to launch its marketplace after seeing the time and money that a lot of its customers spent in the digital collectibles, crypto, and tech spaces during the COVID-19 pandemic. The company believes that the expansion into gamified NFTs makes sense, and does not anticipate any regulatory issues when offering them in certain states.

Speaking about the new collaboration, NFLPA head of business affairs and general counsel Sean Sansiveri said: “I’m most keen on seeing how the NFLPA and DraftKings capitalize on this increasing intersection between sports and NFT games.” Sansiveri believes a future expansion by DraftKings will cover the entire portfolio of its existing 87 licensing partners.

Competition in the space

Other parties have already started utilizing sports-related NFTs as the base for different types of digital competitions.

France-based Sorare has combined NFT trading cards with fantasy competitions. In September, it managed to raise $680m through a Series B round, which gave it a $4.3bn valuation. It now has an office in the US and has begun talks with various sports leagues about possible collaborations in the future. The MLS Players Association signed a licensing deal with Sorare in July with help from the leader of NFLPA’s digital media business, OneTeam.

the NFLPA and NFL have an equity stake in Dapper Labs

Turner Sports has an offering that allows people to purchase and sell avatars that are NFT-based and use them to take part in golf contests. Meanwhile, Dapper Labs has looked into the use of NFTs in a basketball arcade game, as well as forming with the NFLPA and NFL for its upcoming All Day offering. Both the NFLPA and NFL have an equity stake in Dapper Labs.

Despite forming numerous NFT-related deals, the NFL banned teams from selling sponsorships or ads relating to the likes of NFTs, crypto coins, and crypto exchanges.