“With its NFT Ballon d’Or, L’Equipe offers something new”

Ahead of the Ballon d’Or 2022, L’Equipe will unveil its first NFT collection dedicated to the trophy on September 15. Emilie Montané, the group’s strategy and development director, explains to the JDN the ambition behind this project.

JDN. You will be announcing a collection of NFT Ballon d’Or from September 15. How will this project progress?

Emilie Montané, strategy director at L’Equipe. © Thomas Vollaire

Emily Montane. There are four drops, the first of which will take place in an auction on September 15th: three NFTs will be published, this is the act of incorporation to encourage other buyers to whitelist for the next drops. These NFTs will be accompanied by utilities. The goal is to make the inaccessible accessible, we offer something that does not exist today. When you buy this NFT, everything is taken care of: transport to Paris wherever you are, accommodation in the players’ hotel, the same transport as the players for the ceremony at the Châtelet theater, the red carpet, the closing cocktail… An exceptional experience that has never been offered today, for two people by NFT, so in reality six people will be able to benefit from this enriched experience. The second will take place on October 17 and it will be a world first: we will present all five Ballon d’Or winners with their trophy in digital format, the twin of the physical trophy.

These NFTs are ultimately very exclusive. What is the offer to the general public?

On October 23, 2022, NFT Pyrite Fragments will be sold on our platform: we thought it was a fair number, maybe not very ambitious but we wanted a well-controlled project. This drop will initially be open to people registered on the whitelist which will open from September 12th and if we weren’t sold out it will be open to everyone on October 25th. The Ballon d’Or community will have access to exclusive information and will be fed exclusive games, news and behind-the-scenes videos all year round. In addition to this common core, additional utilities will be unveiled in November. Finally, on November 8, on the occasion of the auction of photos from the L’Equipe fund, we will be auctioning two artistic NFTs created by Léo Caillard, which will give access to the 2023 ceremony.

“The goal is to make the inaccessible accessible”

Why did the L’Equipe group choose the Ballon d’Or to discover Web3?

This project was of course part of the strategy to diversify our activities. We could explore this sector with other brands, but it is true that the Ballon d’Or has a strong feature: it is an international brand, very well known and already has a strong community, which we wanted to take advantage of and strengthen and to expand.

Do you think your audience is sensitive to this sector?

This is another goal of the project: to seek targets other than just Ballon d’Or fans or football fans, i.e. crypto natives and enthusiasts, to increase their awareness of this brand. There is also a desire to tackle a young target, which is why we respect the codes of Web3: we launched our disagreement (community platform, editor’s note) on August 31 and we have the ambition to respect all the codes of Web3 and crypto with this project. For people less initiated into this world, the aim is reversed: it is a matter of showing them that this universe is accessible and we will guide them through a form of pedagogy so that they can enter this universe on their own.

“We wanted to strengthen and expand the Ballon d’Or community”

To graphically design these NFTs, you therefore chose Léo Caillard, known for his role in LCD Lab. Was it a natural choice? What can we expect from him?

I humbly confess that we didn’t know Léo Caillard before our agency Doors Sport told us about him and we were very seduced by his work: he was originally a sculptor, he got into the digital arts and he works in particular on old-fashioned Greek statues, so around the body, sports, olympism. There were very strong bridges between us and we were completely attuned to the creative concept. The ball as such is sacred, it is the players’ trophy, we don’t touch it. On the other hand it rests on a pyrite base which is a rare ore and we thought there really was a story to tell for the community to appropriate the Ballon d’Or so all variations of licorice will be done around pyrite.

L’Equipe communication campaign © The team

Why did you choose the Tezos blockchain for this project?

With our partner Doors we evaluated the pros and cons of working with each blockchain and we joined the Tezos project in the first place thanks to the excellent relationships we had with Nomadic Labs (dedicated developers to Tezos, editor’s note). Also the fact that this blockchain is supported by a foundation of which one of the creators is French (Arthur Breitman, editor’s note) and because it is the most ecological of all blockchains today, it is stable, proof-of-stake. The social dimension of the project was important to the L’Equipe group. For example, part of the profits will be donated to Fondaction L’Equipe, the group’s solidarity structure.

“Launch on own platform instead of OpenSea shows group ambition”

Many NFT projects fall under the marketing opportunity. Is it a sustainable and relevant project for the group?

Obviously, we have the humility to tell ourselves it’s a world we don’t know, although we cultivate ourselves, and that’s another one of the strong elements of this project: it allows us to learn a new trade . Discord was not a social network we were on until now. We are here today and we are very happy with this experience and if this operation were to be a success, which we hope, we have the ambition to continue. There is of course a part of marketing, but it is important to say that we are really working on the community aspect: the Ballon d’Or, you have to imagine it’s an annual ceremony that lasts one evening and in reality we think this A raid on Web3 will help us talk about the Ballon d’Or with our community all year round.

L’Equipe is Amaury, also owner of the Tour de France brand. Does this Ballon d’Or experience ask for others?

The experience that can help you in your thinking is the fact that we would rather launch on our own platform than on a third-party marketplace. We don’t go to OpenSea to find our NFTs, the platform is nft.ballondor.com. It kind of shows the ambition of the group: in the future this project could be followed with other brands that would come to feed this platform. There are project levels of different maturity, I am not sure exactly what the group will decide, but what is certain is that we have built up a know-how that we will be happy to share with them at the moment. to go.

Emilie Montané, former manager and legal director of NBC Universal, then evolved within the French Tennis Federation, notably leading the marketing of the broadcasting rights of Roland-Garros and the Rolex Paris Master and the production of live content. She joined the L’Equipe group in January 2022.

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