Blockchain

NFL bans teams from signing deals with NFTs and cryptocurrencies


(NFL) has announced that for now, teams will not be allowed to sign sponsorship deals with cryptocurrency trading firms or sell branded non-fungible tokens (NFTs).

The reasoning is likely that the NFL is developing a league-wide digital strategy, and deals of this nature could compete with their offering. Hence it’s hiring someone to develop a strategy for the sector.

While other sports leagues have allowed their teams to get in on the ground floor of NFTs and cryptocurrency, the NFL is hesitant to do the same.

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The league has informed teams that they are not allowed to sell sponsorships to cryptocurrency trading firms or sell NFTs (non-fungible tokens). It seems the NFL is being cautious in building its business plan and strategy within the NFT environment or digital art and sports trading cards.

“Clubs are prohibited from selling, or otherwise allowing within club controlled media, advertisements for specific cryptocurrencies, initial coin offerings, other cryptocurrency sales or any other media category as it relates to blockchain, digital asset or as blockchain company, except as outlined in this policy,” read an NFL statement.

First, a blockchain is a digital ledger with technology that powers NFL and cryptocurrency sales. The NFL is also restricting working with some of the top names in crypto such as FTX, Coinbase and Binance. FTX is endorsed by Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB Tom Brady, which seems to be allowed under the new policy.

Still, with NBA’s Top Shot’s success, MLB’s partnership with Candy and Topp’s new digital trading cards initiative, the NFL might miss an opportunity if it didn’t invest in an NFT strategy. 

It’s likely no coincidence that the league is currently hiring a Director of Emerging Products. The role requires expertise in “blockchain, non-fungible tokens, and cryptocurrency”, sports betting and intellectual property licensing.

On the other hand, football players are very active in the NFT industry. Rob Gronkowski was one of the first players to launch and sell NFTs for hundreds of thousands of dollars, which opened the space for other athletes to follow in his footsteps, and Tom Brady has launched his very own NFT platform for celebrities. The league’s player union NFLPA was also one of the organizations that signed exclusive licensing rights deals for collectibles with Fanatics, which has a majority ownership in NFT platform Candy. 

Meanwhile, the NBA has set up a blockchain advisory board to further explore the uses of the technology in the league. The WNBA recently joined Top Shot’s roster of NFT highlights. And DigitalBits will sponsor alongside Zytara Italian soccer team AS Roma in a $42 million deal as well as Inter Milan.

Here’s a better explanation of what the NFL said in layman’s terms.

First, a blockchain is a digital ledger with technology that powers NFL and cryptocurrency sales. The NFL is also restricting working with some of the top names in crypto such as FTX, Coinbase and Binance. FTX is endorsed by Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB Tom Brady, which seems to be allowed under the new policy.

NBA Top Shot is a classic example. It’s a whole collection of NFTs that are digital highlights of a specific player or game. Most of the rare ones only number in the 100s-800s and are unique to the buyer. The most expensive NBA Top Shot at the moment is a legendary 1-of-32 of LeBron James posturizing a Sacramento Kings defender on a dunk, which is now worth $1 million. NBA Top Shot is owned by the league itself, but it’s a ton of revenue.

Some people may not understand NFTs yet, and you’re not alone. NFTs are basically digital collectibles that are highly limited, can increase in value over time, and can be traded.

Abhishek Shah

Journalist at TechMantle Technology Writer, Entrepreneurship, Business, IoT, Management

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