Bundesliga inks NFT partnership with OneFootball, Sorare and Topps

Beginning with the 2023/2024 season, the digital soccer server OneFootball will be an official partner of the Bundesliga.

The German football league, Bundesliga has recently granted three organisations licences worth more than €170 million (US$179 million) for stickers, trading cards, and non-fungible tokens (NFTs), a 280 per cent increase over previous contracts.

Beginning with the 2023/2024 season, the digital soccer server, OneFootball will be an official partner of the Bundesliga, with the authority to establish digital trading cards and video moments NFTs, which can be accumulated, traded, and offered on its Aera marketplace.

The agreement enhances OneFootball’s desire to become a major player in the developing markets for Blockchain-based sports products.

Furthermore, the newly signed two-year agreement with Sorare will have the exclusive rights to utilise NFTs centred on Bundesliga players in a blockchain fantasy game. The US-based collectibles company, Topps would have the rights to construct physical-digital stickers, trading card games and NFT equivalents.

The three NFT-related deals will run for two years, until the 2024/2025 season, with Topps’ physical contract enduring until 2028/29.

Lucas von Cranach, Founder and Chief Executive of OneFootball, said, “We couldn’t have imagined when we first started working with the Bundesliga that we would build the partnership and achieve official partner status. Now as the official partner of this incredible organisation, one of the most innovative leagues in the world, we have the chance to build an even longer-term relationship that gives us the chance to take tens of millions of football supporters from Web 2.0 to Web 3.0.

“As a founder and as a fan, this is fantastic for our organisation and for fans around the globe. Our vision is to connect the world of football and amplify the game. This long-term relationship means we can do just this, giving fans the opportunity to own digital assets – so they have more access, more ownership and get even closer to the game we all love, in a way that’s never been done before. And where better to do this than with one of the best leagues in the world which is home to so many of the most exciting players.”

Meanwhile, the collaboration represents a significant change in Bundesliga’s nascent NFT strategy and generates increased income for clubs across the league’s two divisions.

Bundesliga International, Chief Executive, Robert Klein, said, “I didn’t know the acronym ‘NFT’ until Match 2021 [with] the partnership between the National Basketball Association (NBA) and Dapper Labs for NBA Top Shot. I think everyone involved in sports and media saw this.

We decided to make sure we became like an expert about the technology as we could and if we didn’t know something, we would go and ask other people who knew the answers. How do we package [these rights] so we maximise the revenue we need for the clubs but also structure it in a way that we’re taking care of the fans and all the concerns that come with NFTs?

“We believe we’ve managed that there’s a separation we’ve made between static NFTs and ‘moments’ which are more like NBA Top Shot. We’re still treading cautiously [and in two years’ time is] the end of the domestic TV cycle. The space is always evolving and I’m sure the package we’ll be selling in two years’ time will be fundamentally different.”

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