The NBA teams up with Ant Group to launch NBA NFTs in China
The National Basketball Association (NBA) has partnered with Ant Group, Alibaba’s fintech affiliate, to deliver NBA-themed NFTs to over 20 million basketball fans via a mini-app on Alipay.
Bringing Web3 to Chinese fans
The NBA is partnering with Ant Group to provide more than 20 million basketball fans with basketball-themed NFTs. Notably, NBA China has reported more than 170 million Chinese fans of the league, making it one of the biggest hotspots in the world for consumerism of American basketball.
The fans will access these NFTs through a mini-app on Alipay. On the app, they can watch NBA video content and access services such as a joint Alipay and NBA membership. The mini-app is a bridge between the digital and physical worlds and will facilitate onboarding more fans to the NBA.
NBA has had prior success in NFTs
NBA’s dive into NFTs is part of expanding its business model to engage and monetize its popular intellectual property. NFTs give fans access to digital assets in the form of art, virtual land, and in-game items. The NBA’s move is facilitating the development of its revenue streams.
The NBA has been active in the Web3 industry as it integrates some of its features to bring more users. In early 2021, the association introduced the NBA Top Shot, an NFT collection in partnership with Dapper Labs. The NFT collection has become the seventh latest NFT collection by all-time trading volume.
In September 2022, Sorare and the NBA partnered to bring the Sorare NBA. The Sorare NBA is an Ethereum-based game allowing players to trade, play and even win with NFT basketball cards. The platform has seen great success, whereby an NFT of Giannis Antetokounmpo sold for over $187,000 worth of ETH on Feb. 6.
Sports leagues integrating NFTs
Meanwhile, other sports leagues are also integrating NFTs. The English Premier League, in January 2023, partnered with Sorare on a four-year deal to bring about Premier League-licensed NFTs. Sorare will issue official player cards to game players to purchase on the platform.
Spain’s LaLiga also partnered with Sorare in September 2021 to allow users to purchase, trade, and play with the digital cards of players from LaLiga. The move marked the first time La Liga dived into the NFT space as a home to world-class football clubs such as FC Barcelona, Real Madrid, and Real Sociedad, among others.
The National Football League also joined the trend by issuing NFTs in partnership with Ticketmaster. The platform offered NFT ticket stubs to over 100 live regular season game attendees during the 2022 season. The platform issued more than 500,000 NFT tickets during the period.
More sports leagues are looking into NFTs and blockchain technology. Hence, more sport-themed collectible digital art will be the norm in the coming future.