Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) had a strong presence surrounding a major sporting event for the first time during last year’s Super Bowl. They immediately had the same effect at the next big sporting event, the NCAA Men’s basketball tournament. With new items and marketplaces, NFTs became a significant part of last year’s tournament, and this year’s March Madness picks will again be part of the popular collections.
Last March, sports betting giant DraftKings got into the basketball NFT collectibles market with the Primetime NFT Series, featuring the 2022 College Hoops Collection. They were released as part of the company’s effort to gain a share of the digital collectibles market.
It began with over 6,000 “Going Dancin” NFTs that featured an animated official basketball that changed in appearance as the tournament progressed. They also released seven more NFT collections totaling more than 12,000, priced from $10 to $200.
NFTU Leads College Digital Collectibles Market
Many other companies started selling NFTs focused on March Madness and college basketball before last year’s tournament. Blockchain company RECUR also launched a college sports NFT marketplace called NFTU. The tokens featured here are made up of various favorite college basketball moments of many players on different teams. The company’s website sold close to 18,000 NFT Cases in the first 24 hours after launching.
NFTU also featured a “Tip Off” collection that began after Selection Sunday and contained over 100 past and present NCAA stars, such as Jaylen Brown, Klay Thompson, Ja Morant, and NaLyssa Smith. It also has partnerships with the Pac-12 and various university programs such as Florida State, Michigan State, LSU, and West Virginia. It also recently began doing business with Learfield, which has relationships with about 180 schools nationwide.
NFTU is the biggest marketplace online for collegiate sports digital collectibles. Its incredible popularity shows that the future of fandom in college sports is built by connecting fans and athletes by owning these important moments in their favorite sport.
This has been an enormous step towards fairness in NIL (name/image/likeness) usage for college athletes. More than 50 universities and various professional athletes and brands are providing this unique opportunity for these student-athletes to profit from using their NIL.
Any players, students, and schools purchasing collectibles on NFTU have complete ownership of their NFTs and can receive royalties. According to RECUR, this is an ideal situation for both parties, as fans can own a piece of their favorite team, and players can generate income through new and sustainable methods.
Most NFT platforms restrict ownership of collectibles to a specific blockchain. However, NFTU allows fans to have full ownership of all their collectibles. Any time they are bought, sold or traded on any platform as an NFT, the athletes, and colleges on the network will be paid royalties.
Overtime’s NFT Bracket Contest
Digital sports media company Overtime added elements of the NFT market to March Madness last season for its bracket competition. The company sold 2,500 blockchain-based passes for $80 using SOL cryptocurrency, with the holders receiving one completed NCAA Tournament bracket that is unique from all the rest.
In addition to this, fans could buy and sell their brackets on the Magic Eden NFT marketplace. The top 100 brackets on the list earned a percentage of the over $100,000 pool.
This concept was inspired by past NFT projects where collectors bought a digital art NFT and then waited to see how rare the image was once the sellers conducted a “reveal.” This model also makes the contest more for casual fans who may not know the difference between Georgetown and George Mason.
After the brackets have been determined, players can search through them and try to purchase the one they think will be a winner, but only if the holder wants to sell. The fees for any secondary transactions are also added to the prize pool. As a result of the initiative, the popularity of NFTs continues to rise.