ESPN Enters the NFT Space with Tom Brady’s Startup
- Sports partnerships in the crypto space are more commonplace now.
- ESPN has signed a multi-year deal with Tom Brady’s NFT startup.
- The NFTs based on ESPN’s Tom Brady docuseries will be released on Polygon.
Driving fan engagement has been a top priority for sports marketers and enterprises. As a large chunk of the global population turns to NFTs and the Metaverse, firms, too, are turning their head in the same direction.
ESPN x NFTs
ESPN announced its first-ever NFT collection in partnership with Brady’s startup Autograph. Autograph is a sports and entertainment NFT startup that the quarterback co-founded in 2021.
The sports media giant’s first NFT drop will be based on Brady and ESPN’s documentary series about him, ‘Man in the Arena: Tom Brady.’ The collection consists of three magazine covers from ESPN’s special edition December issue, which included 14 stories ESPN had written on Tom Brady.
— Tom Brady (@TomBrady) April 6, 2022
Brady will sign fifty editions of the NFT covers. After the docuseries’ release, a second NFT collection called “Back in the Arena” will drop once the tenth and last episode airs. All of the NFTs are minted on Polygon, a sidechain scaling solution for Ethereum.
Tom Brady is already well-established in NFT collectibles, and now he is joining forces with sports media giant ESPN.
ESPN’s alliance with Autograph is a multi-year deal. Autograph Co-founder and CEO Dillon Rosenblatt spoke about the agreement,
“As the first NFT partner for ESPN, the possibilities across sports and technology are endless, and we couldn’t be more excited to get this content out to the world in a massive way.”
Autograph closed a $170 million Series B round led by Andreessen Horowitz and Kleiner Perkins with Katie Haun’s new fund participation and Lightspeed partner Nicole Quinn in January this year.
NFTs Taking Over the Market
The sales of NFTs had skyrocketed to some $25 billion in 2021 as the speculative crypto-asset exploded in popularity. The last year saw a seismic shift in demand for NFTs and interest in the Metaverse.
Sports and crypto partnerships have become more commonplace now than ever. Before ESPN Sports Illustrated, ESPN partnered with NFT startup OneOf to launch NFTs based on its classic magazine covers. Basketball magazine SLAM has launched NFTs through Autograph.
In mid-March, PwC published its ninth edition of the Sports Outlook for North America and highlighted NFTs and digital assets as one area of focus. As reported by FXEmpire earlier, global crypto exchange Crypto.com added FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 to its list of sponsorship deals with sports to drive brand awareness.