The sports world is seizing NFTs in search of financing

On May 17, the Sedan Ardennes Sports Club (CSSA) will launch its collection of “non-fungible tokens” (or NFT, for Non-functioning token† Excuse me ? Who does what ? Yes, the football club Sedan, famous for its unexpected final of the Coupe de France in 1999 and its unexpected adventure in the Ligue 1 in the same year and continuing until 2003, which today points to National 1 (the third division), dare the bet NFT , these digital assets whose title is guaranteed by a particular technology, the blockchain

→ EXPLANATION. What are NFTs, this new digital passion?

Specifically, the CSSA will produce exactly 11,011 digital cards depicting the club’s mascot, a wild boar. Each is clearly unique, and these cards can be purchased from May for a few “ethers,” a cryptocurrency that competes with bitcoin. Buyers will then take advantage of some special benefits that involve them in the life of the club.

Leading sectors: luxury and sports

It is this dimension that its president, Marc Dubois, wants to emphasize first: “We want to expand and maintain a community of fans well beyond our small division, which has fewer than 270,000 residents”, he says. The economic dimension is of course also present. Even if it is difficult for a national team to sell its image, any source of income is good to take “for a club born in 1919 that has never managed to balance its accounts”Marc Dubois summarizes.

The CSSA is not alone in exploring this innovative digital field, by the way. “The two sectors that are investing the most in this ecosystem today are luxury and sports”assures Emmanuelle Dubois, co-founder of the Coinception agency, which supports Sedan in its NFT offering.

In fact, not a day goes by without a club or athlete completing their conversion to NFTs or other cryptoassets such as Coins† The success of the French start-up Sorare, which will publish collectable NFTs of some 6,000 footballers worth almost 4 billion euros in the autumn of 2021, will undoubtedly inspire. In February 2022, one of his unique cards, that of Norwegian striker Erling Haaland, sold for over €600,000.

→ EXPLANATION. Sorare becomes France’s most expensive start-up

Former France XV coach (2007-2011) Marc Lievremont and ex-PSG footballer Alain Roche, associated with the Sponsorlive company, hope to increase success with Fanlivecards, a collection dedicated to rugby launched this April. launched . Tennis coach Patrick Miratoglou put a collection called “The Coach” on sale at the end of March, after which buyers could be invited to competitions or personalized coaching sessions. In November 2021, Belgian Jumbo-Visma rider Wout Van Aert auctioned three “sports moments”, NFTs of his wins in the 2021 Tour at Ventoux and on the Champs-Élysées, and the classic Strade Bianche in 2020. All sold for €47,000.

The risks of a highly speculative universe

If these NFTs are later resold, each new trade must yield a percentage for the champion and his team. For these rugby tickets, Marc Lievremont promises 30% for clubs and 10% for players. “The current craze shows the extent to which athletes are looking for new revenue streams, in particular to replace online gamblers whose sponsorship is increasingly banned in Europe.underlines the economist Jérémie Bastien, lecturer at the University of Reims Champagne-Ardenne. But for now, NFTs are not bringing them much, and it is mainly the digital players that are doing well.”

→ ANALYSIS. Art, luxury and video games, NFT “digital tokens” are popular

Is the nascent market destined to develop to become inevitable? His strengths are real. “NFTs establish a direct link with supporters, which is very valuable from a marketing point of view, and these digital products are much easier to sell than traditional derivatives, they also allow reaching audiences around the world”recalls economist Philippe Herlin, a specialist in monetary issues.

But the expert also points out the most important frontier of the system in the making: speculation. “When you buy an NFT, you make a double bet. First about the intrinsic value of the NFT, which cannot be taken for granted in the long run: what will a Messi NFT be worth in five years? On the value of the cryptocurrency that is then used for exchanges, the course of which is also volatile. I’m not sure if this double risk is properly taken into account. †

It prevents. NFTs are on the rise and clubs are watching with interest the technology promises of tomorrow, as noted by Emmanuelle Dubois, who concludes: “When our interlocutors hear about Web3, the new generation of the Internet, and virtual universes like the metaverse, they tell themselves not to miss the boat. †

Crazy about tokens

Tokens are a different kind of digital “tokens”. They are also sold in cryptocurrency and give passionate buyers certain privileges, for example to vote for the phrase written on the bracelet of the captain of a football club. PSG, Manchester City, Juventus or Barcelona, ​​among others, publish it. About 3% of Lionel Messi’s salary at PSG is paid in tokens.

The basketball club L’Élan Béarnais Pau-Lacq-Orthez will innovate on April 26 by opening part of its capital to the general public in the form of tokens. “It will be a world first”has just disclosed the Courtepointe Sports Group, the US investor that bought the club in June 2021.

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