Rapper Ice Cube’s Professional Basketball League BIG3 to Offer Fractionalised Team Ownership Through NFTs

Actor and rapper Ice Cube’s professional basketball league, Big3, will offer fractionalised ownership of its 12 teams in the form of NFTs.
Image source: BIG3

Quick take:

  • Each of the 12 basketball teams will have 1,000 NFTs split between two tiers.
  • BIG3 NFT owners will be able to vote on team matters, as well as receive game tickets and exclusive merchandise.
  • The NFTs will likely be minted on Ethereum.

Rapper and actor Ice Cube’s basketball league, BIG3, announced today that it will offer fractionalised ownership of its 12 basketball teams via NFTs, according to Decrypt.

Each team will have a collection of 1,000 NFTs split into two tiers: 25 ‘Fire’ NFTs at $25,000 each and 975 ‘Gold’ NFTs at $5000 each. Currently, BIG3 owns all of the teams but Ice Cube told Decrypt in an interview that the league had always planned to sell its team to investors.

However, the emergence of blockchain technology and NFTs made BIG3 realise that it is possible to distribute ownership of the league to a wider group of people and not just to millionaires. 

Speaking to Decrypt, Ice Cube said: “The NFT blockchain revolution hit, so to speak, and we were like: ‘Yo, do we want just some fat cats coming around buying teams that we gotta deal with?’ This is a great way for the fans to be owners. And so, it’s a no-brainer for me. I’m all about changing the game and shifting the paradigm.”

Talent agent and BIG3 co-founder Jeff Kwatinetz, told Decrypt that the NFTs will “most likely” be minted on Ethereum. 

BIG3 NFT owners will enjoy perks such as the ability to vote on team matters, receive tickets to BIG3 games and additional VIP experiences, as well as exclusive merchandise. NFT holder benefits include whitelisted access to NFT sales for teams that join the league.

Ice Cube told Decrypt that these perks are close to what he’s getting as co-founder of the league, and that he wants NFT buyers to feel like owners rather than buyers of hyped-up VIP packages.

Owners of the $25,000 ‘Fire’ NFTs get extra benefits such as licensing and intellectual property rights to create merchandise, subject to the league’s approval. A cut of the merchandise sales and royalty from all BIG3 NFT secondary sales will go to the league. 

According to Decrypt, ‘Fire’ NFT owners also stand to enjoy a significant benefit in the future if a BIG3 team is sold to new owners through traditional means. If a team sale is approved by the league, a majority of team owners, Fire NFT owners for that team and Fire NFT holders will collectively receive 40% of the sale price.

If all 1,000 of the NFTs sell at planned prices, the league would generate $66 million as it grows its viewership and teams, and expands internationally.

Unlike the NBA, BIG3’s matches are 3-on-3 with unique rules, which it calls FIREBALL3, a half-court game in which teams compete to be the first to score 50 points. Former NBA basketballers like Joe Johnson, Nate Robinson, and Josh Smith are set to play in the upcoming fifth season, which begins on June 18.

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