Sorare, the creator of an NFT fantasy football game, will launch a Major League Baseball fantasy game this summer.
The company has partnered with both MLB and the MLB Players Association.
So rare built his EthereumNFT-fantasy football platform based on one of the most popular blockchain-based games on the market – and a valuation of the startup at 4.3 billion dollars. The firm now plans to apply this formula to a brand new sport this summer: baseball.
Today, Sorare announced that he has signed with both Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association to launch a new baseball fantasy sports game based on the American League. It’s the first new sport Sorare is getting into after launching his original football game in 2019.
The MLB game will also feature digital trading cards of professional players represented as Ethereum-based NFT collectibles, which can be bought and sold. Users can insert their own NFT player cards into fantasy lineups and earn points based on the respective actual performance of the pros in MLB games.
“MLB is, for many people, myself included, their first experience with fantasy sports,” said Ryan Spoon, COO of Sorare. Decrypt. “It’s a high-paced, math-driven, stat-driven sport with tons of positions and players, scouting and prospects, and stars versus call-ups. It’s going to be awesome.
Spoon also pointed to the long legacy of trading cards and collectibles with baseball, which Sorare aims to continue in the digital space.
Sports collectibles have played an important role in the rise of the NFT market, with NBA best shot and Autograph of Tom Brady platform among the most notable space efforts alongside Sorare. An NFT works like a blockchain-backed receipt for a digital item and can represent goods such as artwork, collectibles, profile pictures, and unique video game items.
Major League Baseball has an existing NFT agreement with the startup Candy Digital, majority-owned by sporting goods giant Fanatics. Trading card stalwart Topps has also released MLB digital trading cardsalthough the company was acquired by Fanatics earlier this year and is now under the same umbrella as Candy.
Sorare’s MLB card artwork is still being finalized, but Spoon said it aims to maintain the approach to current football NFTs – with visible stats and edit numbers – while capturing the spirit of baseball. Each MLB player will also have the same total number of NFT cards available at varying rarity levels, though that number is yet to be determined.
The current football game is a free experience that offers users a starter pack of player cards that are not tradable NFTs, although NFT cards tend to be more beneficial for users trying to win fantasy leagues and earn rewards. The MLB experience is also presented as a free game that will not require the purchase of NFTs to play.
Unlike Sorare’s soccer game, which spans partnerships with nearly 250 teams across an array of international leagues, the baseball game will focus exclusively on Major League Baseball and its 30 clubs.
According to Sorare, it now has 1.8 million players per month for its football game and had an NFT transaction volume of $325 million in 2021. The company says it is on track to double that amount. This year. As mentioned earlier, Sorare hit a $4.3 billion valuation last September through a $680 million Series B funding round.
The MLB deal is the latest step in the company’s U.S. push, after a March deal with Major League Soccer which brought the American League and its teams to Sorare’s platform. At the time, Michael Meltzer, head of business development at Sorare, said Decrypt that he planned to announce two partnerships with the American League in the coming months.
Kicking off a Major League Baseball game gives Sorare the opportunity to target what is primarily an American audience, albeit in a sport with global talent and fans outside of North America.
“We have a very global footprint today, both with users and of course with partners, but also with our players,” Spoon said. “We think we can take a lot of the legacy of the software platform and translate it in a way that makes a lot of sense for baseball.”
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