A non-fungible token (NFT) of Borussia Dortmund striker Erling Haaland sold for $684,000 in an auction on Sunday January 30th.
The Sorare digital trading card is a one-of-one super rare NFT. It provides the maximum points boost in Sorare’s fantasy football paid contests, meaning it’s used in cash games in addition to being a collectible.
Sorare is a fast-growing company currently valued at more than £3 billion – and it has become one of the leaders of the growing NFT football landscape.
What Does the Haaland NFT Look Like?
The Haaland NFT is designed to replicate real-life trading cards, showing key player information such as number, age, position and nationality.
The NFT also displays the level of rarity listed in the top-left corner, which in this card, is unique. The cards are also color-coded based on rarity, too.
How is Sorare Different From Other Football NFT Projects?
Unlike other projects that have been growing in popularity as of late, such as John Terry’s controversial apes, Sorare is focused on giving its NFTs use cases beyond just being a collectible. The football NFTs can be entered in fantasy contests based on real-life player performance. Rarer items provide higher multipliers, thus theoretically helping users earn money back on their investment.
That utility factor has helped insulate Sorare from broader cryptocurrency market trends, and CEO Nikolas Julia told GOAL that users often don’t think about the fact they’re even using crypto.
While cryptocurrency in general has dropped significantly in recent months, Sorare’s marketplace has enjoyed marginal gains.
Sorare’s Rapid Growth and Expansion Plans
As a company, Sorare has followed the upward trajectory of NFTs since late 2020. Sunday’s massive sale of the Haaland NFT is another example of its popularity and the trust users have in it being a sustainable model.
Last year, Julia told GOAL that developing a mobile app and improving the user interface experience for beginning players were his top priorities. He now says he’s satisfied with improvements in the latter category and added an app would be released this fiscal quarter. Right now, the app is in beta testing.
In addition, Sorare plans to expand beyond football and aims to gain a bigger footprint in the United States, with two new sports scheduled to be launched in 2022. The company has been hiring aggressively in the U.S. market in recent months to prepare for their U.S. launch, and tennis icon Serena Williams has come on board as an advisor as well.
Still, football will likely remain to be heart and soul of Sorare for some time. It is, after all, the cornerstone from which it went from a nobody to a multi-billion pound firm.
It’s a growth pattern that has attracted football’s biggest leagues to participate, and those partnerships in turn have added credibility to the project.
Bundesliga International CEO Robert Klein told GOAL: “The Bundesliga has long-held its position as a leader in sports innovation; we are constantly looking ahead, focused on providing our global fanbase with new experiences and ways to engage with their favourite clubs and players.
“A key factor in choosing Sorare was their fantasy game, which has become popular around the world. The fact that the game places importance on curating a squad which not only includes securing established global stars, but also scouting exciting new talents, makes it a perfect fit for the Bundesliga. Sorare’s drive for innovation matches our own, and we are excited to introduce even more elements to the partnership in the near future.”
Julia, meanwhile, said he was grateful for the “win-win” partnership that has enabled licensed digital products to skyrocket in value on his platform.