Earlier this week, Italian soccer club Juventus F.C. announced a licensing partnership to launch digital collectibles of its team players using tokens on Ethereum’s blockchain. The news development is an evolution of Cryptokitties, which became popular as digital pets in December 2017. Juventus has partnered with Sorare, a France-based global fantasy soccer company, for the deal.
Digital collectibles are the online equivalent of baseball cards. They are non-fungible tokens (NFT), meaning they cannot be replicated because they are affixed with a unique identifier hash. Digital cryptocurrencies are fungible tokens and can be exchanged one for another. A secondary trading market enables holders to recoup returns and profit from an appreciation in value.
According to Coindesk, Sorares offers one Unique, 10 Super Rare and 100 Rare cards for players. The Unique cards can sell for over $2,000, a spokesperson told the online publication. As of this writing, there are three Super Rare, 21 Rare, and no Unique cards for Cristiano Ronaldo, Juventus’s star striker, on the platform.
Unlike Fantasy Football leagues, which earn billions in revenue, in the United States, fantasy soccer leagues are yet to take off. However, the sport, which is already the most popular game in the world, is expanding beyond its traditional markets, leading to an infusion of more private equity money into the game. The growth in markets creates additional revenue opportunities for clubs and trading cards might be one such area.