NBA Partners with Sorare for NFT-Based Fantasy Game
Sorare's Ethereum-based fantasy soccer platform was key in the emergence of NFT gaming and digital sports collectibles, and the company also moved into baseball with an official MLB game. Sorare now intends to enter NBA Top Shot's market with the future release of an official NBA fantasy basketball game.
The platform, designed in partnership with the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA), will enable users to collect and use Ethereum NFT cards based on professional players from the league. Users may enter leagues that award ETH and NFT cards to the top performances, just like in Sorare's soccer and baseball games, by assembling a lineup from the NFT players they possess.
The NBA platform will offer a free-to-play option for customers who do not wish to buy NFTs. For example, in Sorare's original soccer game, new players receive a starting set of free player cards that are not on-chain NFTs and cannot be traded or resold.
Sorare plans to release the NBA game in time for the next 2022–23 season, which begins on October 18. There aren't many specifics yet, but Sorare's head of business development, Michael Meltzer, said that there would be some variations in card rarity levels and tournament scheduling depending on the structure and cadence of the professional basketball league.
Given the existence of NBA Top Shot, Dapper Labs' officially-licensed, video-based NFT collectibles platform on the Flow blockchain, Sorare is, of course, entering a vastly different sector with its NBA platform. NBA Top Shot, on the other hand, pushed NFTs into the public when it exploded in popularity in early 2021, and it has already surpassed $1 billion in sales.
Meltzer speculated that Sorare's approach as an interactive game, rather than a platform solely focused on collecting trinkets, will help differentiate its NBA platform from Dapper's Top Shot.
“We don't look at NFTs as a market—we see NFTs more as a technology,” said Michael Meltzer. “We think we have a very unique offering, and we have our own category that we've created through our [soccer] product. We think our success that we’ve had to date will translate well into the NBA, and is very distinct from anything in the marketplace.”
The league expects that the multi-year agreement with Sorare will allow it enough time to develop a long-term and mutually beneficial cooperation. The NBA also feels that the new NFT fantasy game, which will be released this autumn, will be an alternative with different features rather than a direct competitor to NBA Top Shot.