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NFLPA, DraftKings Announce Gamified NFT Collaboration

The collections will debut on DraftKings Marketplace in time for the start of the 2022 NFL season.

The NFL Players Association and DraftKings, in conjunction with NFLPA group licensing organization OneTeam Partners, have announced plans to launch gamified NFTs by the start of the 2022 NFL season.

The non-fungible token collections will debut on DraftKings Marketplace, making this DraftKings’ first partnership with a major professional sports league. The agreement gives DK licensing rights for active NFL players, including the authentic use of name, image, and likeness.

“Together, the NFLPA and DraftKings intend to capitalize on the increasing intersection between sports and NFT games,” Sean Sansiveri, General Counsel and Head of Business Affairs at NFL Players, Inc., the marketing and licensing arm of the NFLPA, told Boardroom. “That will be a cornerstone of engagement and entertainment moving forward.”

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DraftKings launched Marketplace in the beginning of August, which has gone on to feature NFT drops from superstar athletes like Simone Biles, Wayne Gretzky, and Autograph co-founder Tom Brady.

“As we continue to understand how we want to utilize NFTs…not only on the Marketplace side but across our other verticals, and make sure we’re on the leading edge of that, going into partnerships with the likes of the NFLPA to be able to bring a best-in-class IP and user experience backed by those technologies is really what we’re striving to do,” Beth Beiriger, DraftKings Marketplace’s senior vice president of product operations, told Boardroom, “We’re looking forward to bringing some interesting and innovative things to market.”

For the NFLPA, its players are the engine behind gamified NFTs, Sansiveri explained, the nature of which will be revealed over the next several months. The NFTs will not only be able to be bought and sold; they’ll also integrate digital scarcity as well as consumers using the collectibles within games against each other.

Expect the NFTs to live throughout other partnerships as well, as the NFLPA intends to have many joint partnerships in this space, including an existing licensing NFT partnership with the NFL and Dapper Labs called NFL All Day, its NBA Top Shot equivalent. DraftKings will utilize the NFTs across all of its verticals, including the sportsbook, daily fantasy sports offerings, and some IRL applications.

OneTeam Partners, a joint venture between the NFLPA, the Major League Baseball Players Association, and RedBird Capital, helped facilitate this deal.

For DraftKings, its goal is to use emerging technologies to provide existing users with a constantly improving experience. Partnerships with IP like the NFLPA will help with that.

“We as a technology company will definitely be looking to use this emerging technology not only on the Marketplace, but across our other verticals,” Beiriger said.

What the NFLPA is striving to accomplish across this and other NFT partnerships is to best connect the fan and the athlete.

“The NFT format really captures what we think is so special about fandom,” Sansiveri said, “which is harnessing the ‘I was there, I own a piece of that moment’ in the most direct way possible.”

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