DraftKings’ push into the NFT world continued apace Tuesday morning with the announcement the company has entered into an agreement with the NFL and the NFL Players Association to launch gamified NFTs (non-fungible tokens) on the DraftKings Marketplace in time for the 2022-23 NFL season.
The agreement grants DraftKings name, image, and likeness rights to active NFL players. The deal also includes OneTeam Partners, the group licensing partner for the NFLPA.
Things in the metaverse are heating up 🔥. I'm pumped to announce a collaboration with the @NFLPA and @DraftKings to launch gamified NFT collections that will debut on DraftKings Marketplace during the 2022-2023 @NFL season.
— Matt Kalish (@mattkalish) December 7, 2021
“The future of fandom is unfolding in front of us, and few organizations beyond DraftKings are as equipped to capitalize on the increasing intersection between sports and NFTs that will be cornerstones of engagement and entertainment within Web3,” Beth Beiriger, SVP of product operations for DraftKings Marketplace, said in a press release. “We will continuously adapt, innovate and seek progressive collaborators like the NFLPA and OneTeam to reach early adopters among fanbases and ultimately introduce these next-generation products to the masses.”
This announcement comes on the heels of Dapper Labs — the home of NBA Top Shot — announcing plans for NFL NFTs. That announcement, made in September, promised NFL NFTs at some point during this NFL season. Those NFTs have yet to be released.
Head-to-head NFT action ahead
The DraftKings-gamified NFL NFTs represent a new entry into the increasingly crowded NFT field and will allow collectors to use these NFTs to play games against other customers on the platform, according to the release. While details are scarce, it is expected there will be different layers of NFTs, geared toward utility and/or scarcity.
“The NFLPA strives to be at the forefront of innovative new products, and the emerging landscape of digital entertainment that creates excitement among players and fans. We look forward to integrating NFL players into DraftKings’ NFT experience to create authentic connections for avid fans,” Sean C. Sansiveri, general counsel and head of business affairs at NFL Players Inc., the marketing and licensing arm of the NFLPA, said in the release.
Of course, this isn’t DraftKings’ first NFT rodeo; earlier this year the company launched its “marketplace” with the first offerings from Autograph, an NFT company co-founded by Tom Brady.
The initial public response to the launch was positive, but a series of missteps in the days and weeks following — in which some users found workarounds to the queue process in order to be able to purchase NFTs — soured many users on the process.
Today, some four months after launch, the aftermarket prices for the majority of the Autograph-issued NFTs have crashed back down to earth. Valuations have tumbled from 10x — or more — to some of the lower-end NFTs selling for at or near the original price. Many higher-end autographed versions, however, have maintained their outsized value.