Premier League Shortlists Four Blockchain Firms for NFT Licensing Deal Worth Up to $589M

The Premier League has shortlisted four blockchain companies in the running for the football league’s first NFT license.
Image source: Sports Unfold

Last Updated on March 24, 2022

Quick take:

  • The final shortlist includes Sorare, which is under inquiry by UK’s Gambling Commission.
  • Most of the shortlisted companies are involved in sports NFTs.
  • The winning bidder will produce a range of digital collectibles including virtual football stickers and trading cards. 

The Premier League is considering four blockchain-based firms that have submitted bids for its first NFT licensing tender. The final shortlist consists of Sorare, Candy Digital, Dapper Labs and ConsenSys.

The bids from these four companies reportedly offer returns of between $298 million to $589 million over a four-year period. 

Due to the size of the Premier League’s global fanbases and its decision to delay going to market, the bidding offers it has received eclipse those in other sports categories such as the National Basketball Association (NBA) and the National Football League (NFL), each worth $20.3 million a year.

All four of the shortlisted companies are already involved in sports NFTs and digital memorabilia. 

Dapper Labs has signed deals with NBA and the NFL, while Candy Digital has a partnership with Major League Baseball (MLB). Consensys has developed an auction platform to facilitate live bidding on in-game sports gear of The Sacramento Kings.

Sorare has partnered with over 230 clubs and major European leagues to offer NFTs and digital trading cards of football players. 

However, its presence on the shortlist has raised eyebrows as it is still undergoing inquiry by UK’s Gambling Commission for launching a blockchain-based fantasy soccer game without obtaining a UK license. 

While the regulatory body urged users to exercise caution while using the platform, a Sorare spokesperson welcomed the inquiry, saying: “It’s completely natural that regulators would want to scrutinise emerging trends, or new technologies, and act in the interests of consumers. We will always engage and have an open dialogue with authorities who reach out to us to learn more about our game as we believe this is the responsible way to grow our game and community globally.”

The winning bidder will be awarded an official license to produce a range of digital collectibles which will be presented to the football clubs by the end of February. Some of the digital collectibles to be produced includes trading cards featuring football match footage and players at all 20 top-flight clubs as well as NFT based on Panini stickers.

Fans around the world will be able to buy and trade the Premier League’s digital cards. The cards’ value will be based on the Panini stickers and will fluctuate according to supply and demand as well as players’ performances on the football pitch. 

The clubs will be asked to approve the Premier League’s preferred bidder next week.

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