Sports Business Journal reported recently that Dapper Labs, the firm behind NBA Top Shot, would launch a marketplace for NFTs with the National Football League.
In turn, Dapper Labs will give the NFL and the NFL Players Association equity. The revenue the players' union will receive through the deal when it comes to digital licensing will be second only to that which it will receive from EA Sports, which makes the popular "Madden" video game.
The company is often credited with bringing back NFTs, which use blockchain technology to work as ownership deeds for both real and digital assets.
A crypto-based digital collectible project, CryptoKitties, was Dapper's first NFT project. The company now sells sports trading cards.
In addition to NBA Top Shot, it has expanded into WNBA and Spanish football as well with a collaboration with La Liga.
In its most recent round of funding, it raised $250 million from Coatue, along with Andreessen Horowitz and others. It is now valued at $7.6 billion, up from $5.5 billion after funding in March.
Despite the NFL's huge audience size and revenue, and NBA Top Shot's huge success on many metrics, NFL Top Shot's success may not be assured. As the most socially savvy professional sports league, the NBA was perfectly suited to adopt digital trading cards to attract players and fans.
Major League Basketball Crypto Collectibles, a cryptocurrency collectibles platform it attempted in July 2018, did not succeed. How likely is it that NFL fans will purchase NFTs?
"When comparing NBA and NFL, the NBA really blazes a trail in many ways, and it's willing to take some risks," Caty Tedman of Dapper Labs said.
"It is very much in their playbook to learn from the NBA as well. When we build products with other partners, we think about tailoring it to their fan bases. We can't just slap NFL players on NBA Top Shot and expect it to work," Tedman continued.
Details around the launch date are yet to be released to the public.