The MLB thought it was pulling the plug on its first foray into non-fungible tokens. Then, investors flipped the script.
Major League Baseball recently confirmed that it no longer has an active licensing agreement with Lucid Sight Inc., a video game developer that specializes in blockchain technology. That means MLB Crypto Baseball, the game the two parties build around a set of NFTs called “MLB Champions,” is dead and buried.
That was the intention, anyway.
However, after spending more than a year somewhere between obscurity and non-existence, MLB Champions is suddenly back. The Crypto Baseball game itself may be defunct, but with the new baseball season fast approaching, the NFTs themselves have enjoyed a serious leap in demand among collectors, notes Alex Silverman of Morning Consult.
The market for the MLB Champions NFT figures went from essentially zero in early 2020 to nearly $55,000 in sales in just the last two weeks:
Major League Baseball is surely among the numerous sports leagues across the world that have watched NBA Top Shot Moments bring in more than $370 million in revenue since launching in October 2020. If they weren’t doing their due diligence on the NFT space before, they certainly are now.
The demand is just that huge.
MLB Chief Operatons and Strategy Officer Chris Marinak reiterated on a preseason media call that the MLB Champions partnership with Lucid Sight is inactive, but he did mention that the league is nearing an announcement of a new NFT venture in the coming weeks or months.
Front Office Sports previously reported that MLB is among the leagues who have been in discussion with NBA Top Shot creator Dapper Labs about getting deeper into the world of crypto-backed collectibles. The league has not confirmed that report as of this writing, however.
“These are permanent relics of a failed project the same way of the Honus Wagner card,” software developer and collector Patrick Toner said of the surprise development, via Morning Consult.
As Major League Baseball positions itself for a newer, bigger move into the world of digital collectibles, the surge in interest for MLB Champions’ previously dormant NFTs implies that a market will be there. How the league capitalizes on all that unclaimed territory promises to be an exciting subplot to the 2021 season.