Matchday receives $21M in a funding round backed by Lionel Messi
In a recent seed funding round, Matchday, a Web3 gaming startup, secured $21 million in investment with the support of Lionel Messi, the renowned NFT enthusiast and soccer player.
Matchday aims to create a range of soccer-themed games tailored to casual players, featuring official licensing from FIFA and FIFPRO players association.
Among the investors in the round are Play Time, Messi’s venture capital firm, as well as Courtside Ventures, Greylock, HackVC, Capricorn Investment Group, and Horizons Ventures. Additionally, Alexia Putellas, a prominent soccer player from Spain, is serving as Matchday’s founding global ambassador.
According to Derrick Ko, the CEO and co-founder of Matchday, the company’s games are being developed for an underserved segment within the soccer community. Sebastien de Halleux, the Chief Gaming Officer and former executive at Electronic Arts, highlighted that the games will provide authentic ownership of digital assets, with a focus on NFTs.
During the 2022 FIFA World Cup, Matchday launched a brief, time-limited mini-game, distributing 2 million NFT player cards among approximately 600,000 users.
Can Messi be a game-changer for web3 soccer projects?
Major soccer organizations have made significant strides in the Web3 arena. Sorare, a fantasy soccer game centered around NFTs, amassed $680 million in funding at a $4.3 billion valuation in 2021, boasting licenses from numerous teams and leagues. Last autumn, FIFA unveiled an NFT platform on Algorand, while dozens of teams have introduced Socios fan tokens that can fluctuate in value based on their performance on the field.
Messi has already established a significant presence in the NFT domain, acting as a brand ambassador for Sorare and the Socios fan token platform, in which he invested and secured a $20 million sponsorship agreement. He also created his own sanctioned NFT collectibles through the Ethernity Chain platform. With Play Time’s participation in Matchday’s funding round, it appears that Messi’s engagement in the Web3 gaming sphere will persist.
With Messi’s endorsement, Matchday is bound to attract interest from both the soccer and NFT worlds. The company’s official FIFA license lends credibility to their games, potentially paving the way for future collaborations with soccer teams and leagues.
As Matchday’s inaugural global ambassador, Alexia Putellas is a distinguished soccer player from Spain and a member of FC Barcelona’s women’s team. Her participation in the endeavor underscores Matchday’s commitment to advancing soccer to a broader audience, including women’s soccer, which has experienced a surge in popularity in recent times.
With possibilities for collaborations with soccer teams and leagues, as well as prospects for in-game NFT ownership, Matchday’s games have the potential to become a favored option among soccer enthusiasts and casual players alike.