DraftKings Lands NFL Non-Fungible Token Deal

By | December 7, 2021

DraftKings (NASDAQ:DKNG) is boosting its footprint in the booming non-fungible token (NFT) arena. The company announced today that it reached a deal with the NFL Players Association (NFLPA) to roll out “gamified” NFT collections.

DraftKings NFT
A non-fungible token (NFT) of Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes. DraftKings is furthering its NFT exposure in a deal with the NFLPA. (Image: Sportico)

The agreement also includes OneTeam Partners, a firm specializing in name, image, and likeness (NIL) marketing and rights for athletes. OneTeam is the NFLPA’s licensing partner. The parties said the NFT collections will debut on DraftKings Marketplace during the 2022-2023 NFL season.

The agreement grants DraftKings licensing rights for active NFL players, including the authentic use of name, image, and likeness,” according to a statement.

The online sportsbook operator announced the creation of DraftKings Marketplace in July. The NFT is an emerging digital asset class that’s generating considerable buzz, and one that many interested investors don’t know how to participate in. The platform will also feature “curated NFT drops and supports secondary-market transactions.”

DraftKings Fast Becoming Credible NFT Player

One of the initial applications of the NFL NFTs to be sold on DraftKings Marketplace is for customers to use the tokens in games against each other on the platform. There will also be separate buying and selling functionality. From there, it’s “expected there will be a variety of NFT editions and tiers that incorporate different aspects of utility and digital scarcity.”

Analysts view NFTs as a natural market for DraftKings, noting it could be a revenue diversification tool for the company. When the operator announced its NFT marketplace earlier this year, it also revealed a partnerships with Autograph, an NFT collecting platform co-founded by Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback and seven-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady.

Autograph has content accords with movie studio Lionsgate, as well as NFT deals with Tiger Woods, Wayne Gretzky, Derek Jeter, Naomi Osaka, and Tony Hawk.

NFT’s mesh with the company’s efforts to become a digital sports and entertainment monolith, not just a betting operator.

DraftKings Betting on NFT Growth

Sports betting is a hyper-competitive business requiring massive cash outlays to simply acquire customers. That often forces operators to endure extended periods of no profitability. Thus, DraftKings’ early move into NFTs could prove prescient. Data confirms the market is growing at an exponential rate.

The market for NFTs hit new highs in the second quarter, with $2.5 billion in sales so far this year. This is almost 20-times more than the $13.7 million in the first half of 2020,” says Nigel Greene, chief executive and founder of deVere Group.

The DraftKings/NFLPA will be powered by the cryptocurrency Polygon, with which the gaming company previously announced an agreement.

The aim of the Polygon accord is “to provide a scalable, eco-friendly blockchain solution that enables added throughput, lower transaction fees, and expanded capabilities,” according to DraftKings.

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