DraftKings is embarking on NFT gaming, announcing a marketplace to curate sports and entertainment-themed digital collectibles for its enthusiastic audience. The platform “will debut later this summer” and features another potentially lucrative expansion for the fantasy sports betting company.
DraftKings is entering a market that is both crowded and sparse – with plenty of NFT market options for today’s niche group of collectors, although the offerings are still small considering the billions that have passed through it. ‘space during the first months of the year. This week, investors gave the NFT OpenSea market a valuation of $ 1.5 billion. Dapper Labs, which manufactures NBA Top Shot, recently raised to a valuation of $ 7.5 billion.
Dapper’s existing influence in the space will let DraftKings pursue opportunities outside of the league’s exclusive partnerships. NBA Top Shot allows players to purchase “Moments” of NBA history, clips of actual games and player footage accessed through partnerships with leagues and player associations. In addition to the NBA, Dapper has already partnered with other leagues.
DraftKings’ anchoring in space will come from an exclusive partnership with Autograph, a new NFT startup co-founded by quarterback Tom Brady. The company has signed exclusive NFT deals with some top athletes, including Tiger Woods, Wayne Gretzky, Derek Jeter, Naomi Osaka and Tony Hawk, in hopes of making its platform the hub of collectibles for sports personalities.
Besides partnerships, DraftKings hopes to get a head start in the space by further simplifying the user onboarding process, allowing users to purchase NFTs without loading a wallet with cryptocurrency, instead of buy with usd. When the platform launches, users will be able to purchase NFTs from DraftKings and resell or trade them through the platform.
For DraftKings, which has raised some $ 720 million in funding since its launch in 2012, NFT’s expansion could provide an opportunity to channel their existing audience into the new vertical. Few of the existing tech startups have made any notable expansions in the NFT world despite the hype and investor interest. DraftKings co-founder Matt Kalish told TechCrunch that the startup’s dedicated community is its biggest asset to winning in the burgeoning space.
“DraftKings has millions of people in our community who show up on the platform every day and every week,” says Kalish. “We believe that our greatest advantage is the strength and size of our community… [We] will bring lots of eyeballs to the table.