The NFT market recorded its worst performance of the year in June. Still, despite these losses, OneFootball, the Germany-based football media platform, has announced a global partnership with the Italian top-flight soccer league Serie A to bring licensed digital collectibles to fans around the globe. The value of the deal has not been disclosed.
“We’re creating an accessible experience for fans of Serie A,” Lucas von Cranach, OneFootball’s CEO and founder, said in a Zoom interview. “Our core business is Web2. We, as OneFootball, focus on centralized experiences. But I’m a true believer in Web3, because it opens up possibilities to decentralize these experiences and to be in the position to own content.”
The agreement—which begins in August, in tandem with the start of the upcoming Serie A season—includes the commercialization of NFTs from the games played in the Coppa Italia (the Italy Cup) and the Supercoppa Italiana (the Italian Supercup, featuring the previous winners of the Coppa Italia and Serie A). OneFootball has also acquired the rights to create NFTs out of iconic historical moments from Serie A’s archive.
With over 530 million fans globally, Serie A is among the top five soccer leagues in the world. Currently, eight out of 20 Serie A clubs are owned by Americans: Atalanta B.C. (55% Bain Capital), ACF Fiorentina (Rocco Commisso), Genoa CFC (777 Partners), AC Milan (RedBird Capital), Parma Calcio 1913 (Krause Group), A.S. Roma (Dan Friedkin), Spezia Calcio (Robert Platek) and Venezia F.C. (Duncan Niederauer). Another Serie A club, Bologna F.C., is owned by Canadian investor Joey Saputo, who also owns F.C. Montreal.
Founded in 2008, OneFootball has over 100 million monthly active users worldwide. Members can watch matches of more than 150 clubs globally on a pay-per-view basis, and the platform also offers breaking news, highlight clips, live streaming of match statistics and live scores of hundreds of leagues and competitions worldwide.
The digital video moments are built on Flow blockchain that uses Dapper Lab’s secure wallet, and will launch on OneFootball’s marketplace Aera. “But I want to emphasize also that we, as OneFootball, want … to be wallet agnostic, metaverse agnostic so that we provide the football fan with the best product,” von Cranach said.
OneFootball’s shareholders include top-tier soccer clubs such as Arsenal, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Chelsea, Juventus, Liverpool, Manchester City, Paris Saint-Germain, Real Madrid, Olympique de Marseille, Borussia Dortmund and Tottenham Hotspur, and the German Football Association.
OneFootball’s biggest competitor in the space is Sorare, one of the largest NFT platforms for soccer. It has exclusive deals with France’s Ligue 1, LaLiga, Bundesliga, MLS and Dutch Eredivisie, and with over 150 teams around the world. The French company is able to report that it has done more trading volume in H1 2022 than the whole trading volume of 2021 ($325M), growing trading volume in H1 2022 by more than 274% compared to H1 2021.
According to Deloitte, Global NFTs for sports media will generate more than $2 billion in transactions in 2022, about double the figure for 2021. The forecast is that NFT sports collectibles will reach $92 billion by 2032.
This story has been updated to include additional information on Sorare’s sales volume.