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NBA, Sorare Team Up for NFT-powered Fantasy Basketball Game

Sorare becomes the official NFT fantasy partner of the NBA as part of a deal that includes the participation of the National Basketball Players Association.

Starting this fall, the NBA is putting the block in blockchain.

The league is teaming up with the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) and NFT-based fantasy sports platform Sorare on the first ever officially licensed NFT-based fantasy basketball game set to debut during the 2022-23 season, the companies announced Wednesday. The multi-year deal makes Sorare the official NFT fantasy partner of the NBA.

Much like Sorare’s offerings in global soccer and Major League Baseball, fans can collect blockchain-backed trading cards representing their favorite players either for free, via auction format, or by buying or selling on Sorare’s official marketplace. Players will need to own a card from each position on the court to play in different weekly fantasy tournaments are scored based on each player’s IRL stats. Prizes for each contest include rare and unique player cards that fans can use either to build their own collections further or sell on the marketplace.

“Our partnership with Sorare will give NBA fans an entirely new way to engage with our teams and players,” said NBA Commissioner Adam Silver. “With Sorare’s emerging NFT fantasy platform, we see significant opportunities to broaden our community of fans and grow NBA basketball around the world.”

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To date, Sorare has generated more than two million registered users in 185 countries.

“It takes the best of blockchain technology and it mixes it with owning player trading cards,” Michael Meltzer, Sorare’s Head of Business Development, told Boardroom. “What separates us is that there’s the element of ownership mixed with gamifications.”

On the heels of the news, the NBA described this project as a natural extension of its ongoing mission to build out its Web3 presence and tap into Sorare’s robust international audience.

“The NBA wants to be at the forefront of different technologies and emerging sectors,” Matt Holt, the NBA’s Head of Consumer Products, told Boardroom. “Our fanbase expects innovation and for us to be at the forefront of these kinds of emerging areas, and the NFT fantasy Web3 space is one of those. Sorare is undoubtedly the leader in the category. They effectively created this industry and this space.”

Having the NBA in the fold allows Sorare to enhance its growing foothold in the United States, and Meltzer believes there will be significant user crossover from existing fantasy soccer users. Holt said the NBA will promote the product on its social channels and with its media partners, while Meltzer said Sorare will work with the NBPA in engaging different players in spreading the word.

“Sorare has built an innovative gaming experience that creates a whole new way for fans from all over the world to interact with and learn more about our players,” said NBPA Executive Director Tamika Tremaglio. “We are very excited about this partnership and the effect Sorare will have on the growth of our game and players globally.””

All told, blockchain technology will allow NBA fans worldwide to play fantasy basketball in a new, unique way beginning this fall.

“From a Sorare standpoint, we’re looking to create one of the biggest global sports communities in the world and the NBA is a critical piece to putting that together,” Meltzer said.