Bored Apes and blockchains – why NFTs give us a glimpse into the future of football

Bored Apes and blockchains - why NFTs give us a glimpse into the future of football

MANCHESTER, England, March 9 (Reuters) – Soccer stars have a new game. From Brazil’s Neymar to Liverpool’s Andrew Robertson, many have become involved in NFTs, with these crypto assets giving us a glimpse of the future constantly evolution of sports.

You may have noticed Neymar or England defender Reece James recently changed their social media profile picture to what appears to be a funky digital illustration of a monkey – part of the Bored Ape Yacht’s NFT collection Club.

Short for “non-fungible tokens,” NFTs are digital assets, possibly linked to an image, video, or audio clip. While ownership of the originals is secured on a blockchain – the technology behind NFTs – many people are puzzled as to why so much money is spent on items that do not physically exist and can be viewed online. line for free.

Join now for FREE unlimited access to

“Footballers are prime targets for these things,” an agent who works with English Premier League players told Reuters.

“It’s about status – going to training to say they own something. Like a watch that’s on the side that they never wear.”

Some NFT owners are also hoping to benefit from higher prices, prompting them to promote their assets.

“These monkeys were selling for $180 last year,” Tim Mangnall, CEO of Capital Block, a UK-based football-focused NFT agency, told Reuters. “Now most sell for between $750,000 and $2 million. It’s a very exclusive club.

“I’m a Bored Ape Yacht Club fan, but I think we’re definitely in a bubble around NFTs and art.”

The reaction was mixed to say the least, with Robertson and fellow Liverpool defender Trent Alexander-Arnold forced to turn off their Twitter replies to their ‘collection’ launch, such was the volume of angry responses.

The ties of NFTs to cryptocurrency and the mystery surrounding the new craze were the main areas of concern.

“There are many models of fan engagement without getting involved in NFTs,” Malcolm Clarke, chairman of the Football Supporters’ Association, told Reuters.

It is not the first time that footballers have embarked on speculative investment projects, but this time the clubs also want to cash in.

The German Bundesliga has an NFT partnership with digital company Sorare, while the US National Basketball Association’s Top Shot platform has proven so popular that the crypto company behind it, Dapper Labs, has entered into a agreement with the Spanish division LaLiga.

The UK Gambling Commission is carry out investigations to determine if Sorare needs a business license.

So, just as basketball fans paid over $200,000 for an NFT of a video of a LeBron James slam dunk, a rare digital trading card of Borussia Dortmund striker Erling Haaland has been released. sold for nearly $700,000 in January.

The Premier League want a slice of the pie.

“I know every Premier League club has had conversations about NFTs,” Mangnall added. “Fan engagement is the big draw. We haven’t even scratched the surface of what clubs can do.”

The Premier League declined to comment when approached, but a source familiar with the deals told Reuters the body was working on its options. UK media have reported that any deal could be worth £400million for the clubs.

Last month, former Chelsea captain John Terry stripped the Premier League trophy from his ‘Bored Apes’ after legal action by the league linked to his trademark rights.

Many top teams around the world have launched their own fan tokens, where supporters can pay to have a say in minor things, like a pre-game song. Something again not universally well received.

But with the money at stake, more things like this seem inevitable, with the technology already in place for a new virtual world to open up to the masses.

“I’m an Arsenal fan,” Mangnall added. “I’ll watch Arsenal play, then the interview with (coach) Mikel Arteta. Then I’ll watch shows with other people talking about it.

“Imagine if you could create an NFT that places me in an exclusive club where I could get a personal glimpse of Arteta that is only available to a select group of 1000 people who own that NFT?

“The possibilities are limitless.”

Join now for FREE unlimited access to

Reporting by Peter Hall; additional reporting by Elizabeth Howcroft; Editing by Toby Chopra

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.