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Nas and Dapper Labs’ CEO Are Backing Athlete-exclusive NFTs at SportsIcon

Last Updated: July 20, 2023
With millions in new fundraising, the platform aims to offer not just digital collectibles, but exclusive “masterclasses” with top athletes.

There is no denying that non-fungible tokens have taken the sports collectibles world by storm. In recent months, NBA Top Shot has done over $500 million in sales, Topps launched NFTs focused on Major League Baseball, and several individual athletes have minted their own exclusive digital releases.

However, it is safe to assume that we’re only getting started.

New startup SportsIcon hopes to be the latest major player in the crypto collectibles game. With the NFT market getting increasingly competitive, SportsIcon worked to find a unique angle to separate itself from the rest, and to do so, they’re not just building a marketplace.

They’re promising to take fans behind the scenes and give them new ways to connect with their favorite stars, and have carried that momentum into a new fundraising round supported by, among others, legendary rapper Nas and Dapper Labs CEO Roham Gharegozlou.

“The coming decade will be remembered as the Age of Digitization, and as if often the case with technological innovations, it will be led by the sports industry,” said SportsIcon founder Chris Worsey in an official release. “NFTs provide [a way for] the most passionate fans to own a unique piece of sporting history in a manner previously unavailable.”

And what is that manner, exactly? SportsIcon aims to set itself apart by offering collectors exclusive “two-hour masterclasses,” behind-the-scenes engagements that give fans an inside look at how athletes train themselves for excellence.

“This is the key: The beauty is the built-in scarcity of this content,” Worsey told TechCrunch. “We won’t be releasing it elsewhere.”

Other key participants in SportsIcon’s fundraising round, which is reportedly in the seven-figure range, include former NBA player Andrew Bogut, Elefund, Eniac Ventures’ Nihal Mehta, and YouTube founder and former CEO Chad Hurley.

To start, SportsIcon’s will collaborate directly with athletes on 15-20 exclusive NFTs that celebrate special moments from their careers. Each digital token will be auctioned off in packs that will retail between $10-$999 each. The more expensive packs will contain rarer items as well as physical collectibles bundles, including signed memorabilia and tickets.

“Sport delivers many of the most iconic moments in our shared cultural history, and engenders passions amongst fans like nothing else,” said Elefund’s Serik Kaldykulov. ”SportsIcon is allowing athletes to directly connect with fans in new and engaging ways and is poised to be at the epicenter of a new era of sports memorabilia”

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Although the company has yet to announce which sporting stars will be on their inaugural roster, they noted that they are in active negotiations with athletes across basketball, baseball, soccer, tennis, and MMA.

And if this list of partners is as star-studded as their current investors, SportsIcon will figure to position itself as a phenom among collectibles platforms.

About The Author
Bernadette Doykos
Bernadette Doykos
Bernadette Doykos is the Senior Director of Editorial Strategy at Boardroom. Before joining the team, her work appeared in ELLE. She previously served as the head of evaluation for a nonprofit where she became obsessed with systems and strategy and served as the curator of vibes and extinguisher of fires for the design thinking firm Stoked. She is constantly plotting a perfect tunnel ‘fit and a playlist for all occasions.