Founded in France in 2018, Sorare has focused on soccer thus far, but opened a U.S. office last year with the express intent of expanding to other sports. The company currently boasts 1.8 million registered users across 184 countries and hopes to introduce fans around the world to baseball, especially during a stretch of the calendar that features relatively few soccer contests.
“The company’s focus on transforming fandom through an innovative combination of sports, technology and gaming to let fans truly own a piece of the game they love is unique and goes beyond borders,” MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement, “allowing us to bring the love of baseball to more fans across the globe.”
Sorare users will be able to collect digital versions of active players (including some free options), create teams, and compete for money prizes. In 2021, Sorare tallied $325 million in sales volume amid a crypto boom. The deal is expected to last at least five years and includes an equity component.
Baseball brought fantasy sports to the masses in the 1980s, and MLB has been on the forefront of sports innovations in recent years as the game attempts to attract younger fans. In 2015, it was one of the first sports to partner with a daily fantasy company, beginning an ongoing relationship with DraftKings. MLB is marketing the upcoming Sorare offering as a “free-to-play game” to distinguish it from existing products. The league also has an extensive deal with Fanatics-owned Candy Digital for NFT highlights and other digital collectibles.
“We are very bullish on the market potential for our product in baseball,” Sorare head of business development Michael Meltzer said. “We think the gameplay, the scheduling of the season and the engaged fan base will all be factors in this product’s success. The U.S. is already one of our top markets by revenue to begin with. Adding MLB to Sorare is a massive opportunity.”
(This story has updated the number of Sorare users to 1.8 million from 1.7 million in the second paragraph.)