With this announcement, the WTA tennis pro blazes a trail that many female athletes are sure to follow.
Women’s History Month may be coming to a close, but Jessica Pegula is not letting it pass without making some history.
The WTA’s No. 33-ranked women’s tennis player in the world announced the launch of a limited-edition NFT series, making her the first female athlete — and the first tennis player overall — to mint a digital trading card.
As Pegula told Boardroom Breakers, however, she has bigger goals than simply grabbing the attention of collectors.
“This is about more than selling digital trading cards. I hope to inspire other female athletes to enter the NFT space and grow their brands,” she said.
Although fellow tennis player Oleksandra Oliynykova recently auctioned a part of her body as an NFT (!), Pegula is the first in her sport to go the blockchain-backed collectibles route. In the midst of a career year on the court, she’s spearheading a move into the crypto space that plenty of female athletes will undoubtedly follow in time.
“I am always looking for ways to grow the game of tennis and connect with our fans,” Pegula said. “The NFT headlines have all been about great athletes like Patrick Mahomes, Rob Gronkowski, and Bryson DeChambeau. No women, and no tennis players. So, I figured, why not?”
Pegula’s NFT auction, which began on March 31st and continues until midnight ET on April 7th, includes five different digital trading cards. Two of the NFT cards are 1-of-1, and while three of them are 1-of-3. Each piece is digitally hand-signed and numbered by the athlete herself.
However, the NFTs are only part of the deal. Each auction winner will receive autographed merchandise from Pegula — and that’s not all. The tennis star is teaming up with A Lending Paw for a truly good cause: The proceeds from each auction will pay for the adoption costs of one dog.
While Pegula may share a name with her famous father — Terry Pegula, owner of the Buffalo Bills — she’s forging a path that’s absolutely all her own. And before long, she might just become the sports world’s next big crypto entrepreneur.