The National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) and the NBA have partnered with Dapper Labs to launch a blockchain-based marketplace for NBA highlights. The NBPA is a player’s union founded in 1954. According to the statement made by Dapper Labs:
“Fans can collect, trade, and own some of the greatest moments in league history on the blockchain.”
Furthermore, fans can also buy and sell digitally collectible in-season moves like “Joel Emiid’s dunk or Kevin Durant’s 3-point shot”. These digital collectibles can then be used for on-chain games and tournaments. Just like the current NBA 2K, Dapper’s NBA Top Shot lets users acquire players and create rosters with an extra hook: buying particular moves from the previous season.
The product comes two years after the launch of the number one blockchain-based game, CryptoKitties. It also comes several months after a pre-sale of Dapper Labs’ second major game, Cheese Wizardz. According to Josh Goodstadt, NBPA commercial executive, Dapper’s product is a new way for the fans to get close to their favourite athletes. He said:
“We believe the blockchain technology creates a truly unique product that fans can collect, manage and engage within a fun environment.”
The CEO of Dapper Labs, Roham Gharegozlou, further explains:
“We use the latest in blockchain technology to create assets and experiences that are guaranteed limited edition and authentic, not to mention portable and permanent in a way nothing digital has ever been before.”
Dapper Labs has already become a major name in the digital collectibles space with the launch of its popular CryptoKitties game. Some of the digital felines at some point were going for at least $100K as trading activities clogged the entire Ethereum network.
With the massive NBA audience, Dapper Labs can now expose the blockchain and token economy to millions of fans simultaneously. Recent reports show that single NBA games have attracted over 40 million viewers. Even though the league has experienced slight plunges in viewership since 2016, it has become bigger on social media.
NBA players in a recent ESPN report were outshined only by soccer players in popularity worldwide.
Survey shows that NBA Twitter is a growing phenomenon. The head of Twitter’s sports league partnerships, TJ Adeshola, stated:
“NBA Twitter just has this really special connectivity to it that doesn’t exist anywhere else.”
The fans are young, loyal, and more tech-savvy than the fanbases of the other sports. Josh Goodstadt sees the potential synergy. He commented:
“We believe blockchain technology creates a truly unique product that fans can collect, manage and engage within a fun environment, and we are excited to partner with Dapper Labs to introduce these groundbreaking digital assets to the NBA community.”
If Dapper Labs succeeds in recreating the CryptoKitties magic with the NBA audience, blockchain adoption could break into the mainstream. The potential is already there with teams mining for crypto, pro-NBA players touting bitcoin, and legends pumping altcoins.
The NBA Top Shot collectibles will enter the market this fall. The game will follow in early 2020.