How NFTs are bringing Southampton FC closer together, led by Kyle Walker-Peters and Yan Valery.
Southampton F.C. is all-in on NFTs, and Kyle Walker-Peters and Yan Valery spearhead the fixation. Initially, the pair of right-backs were reluctant to engage the cryptic world of crypto, but a deeper understanding of NFTs and the metaverse has unexpectedly bonded them beyond the pitch.
Valery credits most of his NFT pursuits to Walker-Peters, the club’s unofficial digital connoisseur, because he turned him from a skeptic to a believer in the ever-growing Web3 scene.
Boardroom sat down with Valery and his brand manager, Kenny Annan-Jonathan of the Mailroom agency, to discuss Southampton FC’s newfound love.
The beginnings of Valery’s NFT knowledge came from Walker-Peters, but the rest was self-taught. Valery scoured the internet, absorbing information from videos that taught him the basics of NFTs.
The metaverse, however, was a much easier sell; it was the idea of humans wanting to escape the reality of life in order to enjoy pure entertainment, even just momentarily.
Although Valery has only been collecting since last summer’s preseason, the duo’s interest in the digital world has piqued the interest of the rest of Southampton FC. And although they love to spread the gospel of NFTs to their teammates and the world, they’d much rather an interested party do their research to understand the power of digital assets for themselves.
“Some players ask us sometimes, what is an NFT?” Yan said. “We try to explain but to understand NFTs, you need to look for yourself. To look up and watch videos.”
Both players are exceptionally competitive by nature on the pitch. So it’s only natural that their athletic ambitions would translate to the digital world against each other; in good fun, of course. The teammates help each other find suitable projects to invest in together. However, Valery is more cautious than Walker-Peters when spending money on digital assets.
One thing is for sure — Walker-Peters is sure to remind Valery of his superior collection and insightful eye on growing projects to collect in the future.
“We help each other,” Valery said. “But sometimes, I’ll be unsure of a project, and Kyle would go for it. Then if it goes well, he’ll say, ‘Look, I told you, go look now.'”
As of now, Valery owns five unique NFTs after selling a good amount of his collection. His most prized possession is the famous inBetweeners bear #8001 by Gianpiero D’Alessandro, which Justin Bieber has heavily endorsed. The NFT has a value of 0.377 Ethereum, which equals $1,117.28.
Walker-Peters currently owns eight unique NFTs on OpenSea. Like his teammate, his most valuable digital asset is an inBetweeners Bear, #7349. However, this bear comes at a higher value of 0.85 Ethereum, which translates to $2,500.91.
The teammates share a mindset when it comes to purchasing NFTs. They select startups at a low price likely to grow in value, as opposed to spending money on established (and expensive) brands in the space, such as the exclusive Bored Ape Yacht Club. And a ton of factors come into consideration when determining what to buy.
“Who is the person making the NFT? Who is behind the design? And then, after I look, I think, what would you get from the NFT? What is going to bring?” Valery said, describing his process.
“Then I look at the community on Discord and see if there is a large community,” he continued. “With inBetweeners, everybody is talking and helping each other. Those are the main things when thinking if it makes sense.”
Collecting the NFTs is just the tip of the iceberg for the Frenchman’s long-term plans for his possessions. He ultimately envisions his collections on both apparel and his football boots during training or even on match day. However, he’s also a lover of the ownership aspect of art pieces and wants to hold onto ones he finds aesthetically pleasing.
His and Walker-Peters’ infectious love of the NFT space is causing their teammates to take notice and get in on the fun themselves, which has brought the squad closer together. Currently, Southampton sits at 13 in the Premier League standings, two positions higher than their 15th-place finish last season. There’s no telling how much higher they can climb with this newly minted chemistry.