La Liga becomes first major league to sign a significant NFT partnership: Will other competitions follow?

La Liga has become the first major league to sign a major non-fungible token (NFT) partnership, in what has created a significant new revenue stream for the competition.

The Spanish competition has struck a deal with Sorare, a fantasy football platform, and in turn will launch NFT’s for all of the league’s players.

Sorare is a marketplace to trade digital cards from more than 180 football clubs, with over 500,000 users signed up on the platform.

Through this partnership La Liga fans, collectors and fantasy football players will be able to freely trade and play with digital cards of players from the league.

Sorare has strong ambitions for the future after securing their agreement with La Liga, with the company planning to partner with all of the world’s top 20 football leagues by the end of next year.

The deal with La Liga covers both the first and second divisions in Spain and highlights the global interest in the ever-growing NFT card space, which has garnered close to $130 million in card sales this year.

Javier Tebas, President of La Liga, explained further about their partnership with Sorare to the La Liga Newsletter: “At La Liga we are always looking for innovative ways to offer our fans new and exciting experiences and to broaden the appeal of our competition, the greatest in the world. This partnership with Sorare, the most exciting sports NFT projects today, enables us to reach new audiences globally and gives existing fans additional ways they can get involved with the players and the clubs they love.”

Nicolas Julia, CEO and co-founder of Sorare told the La Liga Newsletter: “NFTs are the future of gIobaI sports fandom because they allow fans to come together and to feel ownership of the sports they love. This partnership isn’t just a sign of Sorare’s growing leadership in the NFT sports space, it is a major signal of intent by the sporting world that it sees Sorare’s unique ability to connect fans with sports through NFTs as a crucial part of their plans for the future.”

“La Liga is one of the best leagues in the world, home to some of the most exciting clubs and footballers on earth. We are very proud that they have become our first ever league partnership, and we are looking forward to working together in the years ahead,” Julia added.

Sorare cards are NFTs, which means each of those cards are unique, scarce and its ownership able to be publicly verifiable via the blockchain. The company’s combination of NFT technology with sports cards and a fantasy game is the leading next-gen offering within the world game. Through the collecting, owning and trading of these rare digital collectibles, Sorare has created an experience where users can own their game, build connections in the real world and control their assets in a secure, safe place.

The next generation gaming experience will help La Liga and its teams expand their international brands, reaching fans and new types of audiences, including crypto-enthusiasts across the US and Asia.

This partnership means Sorare now has the majority of the top 100 football clubs in the world under license, including powerhouses such as Liverpool FC, Paris Saint-Germain FC and Juventus FC.

Despite these individual clubs signing up, the other 4 major leagues have not entered a NFT partnership.

With a new digital football hub set to be implemented by the Australian Professional Leagues (APL) in the coming months, gaming competitions such as fantasy football, are most likely set to return for fans of the A-Leagues.

A partnership with a platform such as Sorare, will be extremely beneficial for the local professional game.

Utilising NFT trading cards for A-League football players across fantasy football will be unique and fit in with their ongoing plans for digital innovation across the domestic competitions.

Alongside this, it is a revenue stream for the APL which looks to connect the younger generation to the game and reap similar rewards to what has previously been implemented across the E-League.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Philip Panas is a sports journalist with Soccerscene. He reports widely on football policy and industry matters, drawing on his knowledge and passion of the game.

Sport and Recreation Events Funding Program a key investment in Western Australia

Western Australia events are receiving significant support through the Sport and Recreation Events Funding Program 2023-24.

The WA State Government has invested over $630,000 to a host of sporting bodies across a vast number of codes.

The objectives of the program are to:

  • build capacity and capability of the sport and recreation workforce and volunteers to plan, secure and/or deliver quality sport and active recreation events
  • provide opportunities for talented WA athletes, coaches and officials to participate at a national and/or international level in their home environment
  • provide opportunities for the public to participate in sport and/or active recreation events
  • provide opportunities for regional Western Australians to experience and conduct major sporting events and sport development initiatives in a regional location.

The program comprises three categories:

  • event projects (up to $15,000)
  • event hosting (up to $50,000)
  • the Country Sport Enrichment Scheme (up to $30,000).

In Round 1 of the Sport and Recreation Events Funding Program 2023-24, one of the successful applicants was Football West, who ran 2024 Goldfields Regional Festival of Football – a seven-day community engagement event that improved football capacity in the wider Goldfields area. After receiving $24,200, Football West’s main goal is to increase participation in the region.

There is still time to apply for the next round of funding, which closes 5:00pm on February 26, 2024.

For full information and eligibility to apply, you can find it here.

WSL eyeing enormous 150% increase to broadcast rights deal

In a historic first for football in the UK, every single Women’s Super League match is set to be broadcasted live from next season across multiple channels.

The WSL tender document issued to broadcasters this month features all 132 league games, with 56 to be sold exclusively and the remaining 76 available on a non-exclusive basis.

Under the terms of the existing deal that expires at the end of the current season, Sky broadcast 35 matches-a-season and the BBC 22, with the rest streamed for free on the FA’s website.

The tender document is asking for a huge £20 million ($38.48 million) a year TV deal and this 150% increase to the value of its broadcasting deal is far from surprising following the explosion of the women’s game. This figure is set to be confirmed as soon as they can find the right suitors.

In an attempt to gain an increase from the existing £7.75 million ($14.91 million) a year deal, the WSL have responded by making every match available for broadcast, which the league hoped would attract bids from beyond current rights holders Sky Sports and the BBC, It looks to be working.

Sky Sports and the BBC are set to bid again on the rights and extend the current partnership whilst it is said that this potential deal is also attracting networks like TNT Sports and DAZN.

The Premier League and EFL have stood firm on the UEFA blackout that suggests all 3pm Saturday matches are not shown on TV, to encourage locals to attend matches in person. This means the WSL will have to work around it and it is likely that Saturday lunchtime and Sunday afternoons remain as the most common kick-off times.

There is little the WSL are having to do to persuade broadcasters into putting their hands up for these rights, which is a testament to the sport’s current growth and upward trajectory it is trending towards.

FA Director of Women’s football, Kelly Simmons, explained how important it was to secure this monumental broadcast deal.

“While we’ve been developing this it’s been so hard to sit on it because it’s so exciting for the women’s game. It is transformational,” Simmons said in an interview with Guardian Sport.

“When I first came into this role, we said that we really thought women’s football could really break into the mainstream and this is mainstream, this is prime slots on television, big audiences, week in week out.”

This deal in particular launches women’s football into the mainstream and helps improve the quality of the product which goes a long way to opening the eyes of a huge audience to its impact as a sport and socially.

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