The English Premier League has signed an agreement with digital trading card company Sorare to expand its non-fungible token (NFT) offerings on different marketplaces. The deal between the English soccer league and the NFT-based fantasy sports will give Sorare complete access to licence official player cards of the world’s top soccer league. They offer users the chance to purchase, build their teams, and compete in a fantasy version competition. This sports organisation is the latest to partner with an Ethereum-based platform.

On January 30 2023, Sorare announced in a blog post that the deal between the duos would last for four years and is worth 120 million British pounds ($150 million). Sorare has continued an uptrend despite the endless crypto winter and retained interest. CEO of Sorare Nicolas Julia noted, “The big-spending power users are enough to drive revenue generation, as Sorare takes a cut of all transactions processed through its service. The platform is now the third-largest NFT collection worldwide and processes roughly $1 million USD in transactions daily.” The collaboration will allow soccer fans to mint, trade and collect virtual versions of their favourite players’ cards amongst one another in five-a-side fantasy soccer games based on real-time player performance. 

According to the post, Sorare will launch two new features to the game: the ability to compete with league-specific player cards and a financial fair play feature that prevents users from creating overpowered all-star teams. Sorare also offers a free-to-play competition that allows its users to compete by collecting soccer players as non-fungible tokens. According to Chief Executive of the Premier League, Richard Masters, how fans follow their favourite players and teams is progressing, and the Premier League is always searching for ways to engage with supporters. Masters noted, “Sorare’s digital cards and innovative online game represent a new way for them to feel closer to the Premier League whether they are watching in the stadium or from around the world. We believe that Sorare is the ideal partner for the Premier League, and we look forward to working closely together.”

 Sorare’s timeline

According to a Sorare representative, talks between them and the league have been occurring for some time. In 2019 Sorare made a significant breakthrough in the English Premier League (EPL) network by signing West Ham United as its first English club partner. According to reports, the value of the partnership is undisclosed due to contractual reasons; however, the contract is bound to benefit both sides in the coming years.

The spokesperson for the company also broke down how this agreement would be structured, with Sorare making an upfront payment to the league in exchange for licensing rights. Then, profits from digital card sales will be split between Sorare and the Premier League. Sorare is a platform that mints digital cards of EPL participants on the Ethereum blockchain. The platform has been using ERC-721 token standard for its NFT player cards, allowing supporters to collect, trade, and use these tokens in the fantasy sports league.

Before being available for trading on acclaimed marketplaces, the Premier League digital cards will be available for purchase on Sorare. The mission of the fantasy sports platform has always been to unite fans, players and organisations through blockchain technology. “For Sorare, this innovative technology is the means to connect users with their favourite teams and clubs. We are excited to see it creating and powering the next generation of sports fanatics and entertainment experience.

Game instructions

Sorare has partnered with over 300 football teams and clubs globally, including Europe’s top leagues. Click here to see which football rules are also included in the game, and there are no costs to signing up or playing . Below are the steps to follow:

  • Select eight players from professional leagues worldwide, including the top Leagues in Europe.
  • Lookout, trade, buy and sell digital player cards to build your line-up.
  • Pick a five-a-side team and enter a variety of free, twice-weekly competitions.
  • Compete with other officials worldwide for rewards where your players’ real-life performance determines scoring.

In September 2021, Sorare announced that it was backed by top names such as Benchmark, SoftBank and Accel, including sports stars Serena Williams, Kylian Mbappe and Lionel Messi as shareholders. Sorare doesn’t offer traditional gambling products like sports betting, but the nature of trading NFTs that are valued based on real-world events walks a fine line between what is and isn’t gambling. However, Sorare is currently under the scrutiny of the UK and French Gambling Commission to determine if Sorare requires a gambling license. In October 2021, the company said it is working hard to meet regulations and is devoted to changing its platform, including strengthening free-to-play gaming.

In recent years NFTs, including digital trading cards and highlights from various sporting codes, have become popular collectables. In 2021 NBA Top Shots skyrocketed in popularity, while the football leagues are taking advantage of blockchain-based platforms. As we congratulate Sorare and the English Premier League collaboration in the NFT world, we promise to keep you updated on any new developments and progress. This article is for informational purposes and should not be used as legal advice.

Photo by: Maxim Hopman on Unsplash

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