There are a few areas of gaming — when the term “gaming” is painted with a broad brush — that appear to me to be no-brainers for blockchain involvement. Fantasy sports is without question up near the top of that list. Now, French fantasy football (soccer) company, Sorare, has raised staggering backing for the development of the blockchain-based game.
Sorare’s fantasy football platform is built on the Ethereum blockchain, with each player card registered as a unique NFT. The cards can be traded and sold, with the most expensive card to date being a unique Cristiano Ronalo NFT which sold for €245,072 in March of this year. In 2021, over $150,000,000 worth of cards have been traded, and somewhat confusingly, Sorare doesn’t take a percentage of player-to-player transactions as you might expect. I would suspect this will change at some point in the not-so-distant future.
Sorare already boasts over 180 licensed teams globally and has investment from major companies as well as A-list footballers like Antoine Griezmann, Gerard Pique, Andre Schurrle, and Rio Ferdinand. The explosive growth the platform has seen in the last 12 months — around 51x in sales from between quarter two of 2020 and quarter two of 2021 — has led to a Series B funding round with SoftBank. With $680,000,000 raised, it’s safe to say it was successful.
How Does Blockchain Fantasy Sports Help Traditional Gaming?
This new development in blockchain gaming may seem tenuous and distant from the traditional gaming we typically cover. While I agree the immediate impact is unlikely to be anything to ignite a fire in the loins, the potential trajectory for adoption is exciting and not farfetched. For example, should Sorare reach somewhere near the success of NBA Top Shot, other football games may look at how they can integrate NFT cards. Regular readers of TG will know where I am going with this: Fifa Ultimate Teams. It is the perfect mainstream use case of NFTs in gaming, along with trading card games like Hearthstone. The NFTs might as well integrate themselves it is so well-suited.
Once a major franchise like Electronic Art’s Fifa harnesses blockchain, the floodgates are open. And lest we forget, EA has blockchain and NFTS in its long-term plans.