In the mobile game, which officially launches in open beta on Android and iOS Tuesday, users can buy a unique NFT golfer with built-in power, accuracy, focus and stamina stats, starting at $7. Golfers with better stats, meanwhile, can sell for hundreds of dollars. The golfers will compete in events for prizes that can be used to improve their characters, making them more valuable in the marketplace. Blocklete plans to introduce cash contests and NFT gear to the system as well.
“The big thing for us is we want to bring in a broader audience than just the NFT audience, so really doing it in a way where they’re enjoying the game and then NFTs are enhancing that game experience for them,” said Yang Adija, Turner Sports SVP, digital league business operations. On the Apple App store, the app is pitched as pairing “investment-style strategies with a fun golf game.”
Work on Blocklete Golf stretches back to 2019, an eon in web3 time. Through its joint management of NBA Digital, Turner has had an active role in the development of NBA Top Shot. Adija also helped Bleacher Report step into the NFT world last year. Recently, Blocklete Golf transitioned from the Ethereum blockchain to Flow, the same platform that hosts Top Shot. Blocklete supports in-app purchases with USD to make the game more accessible for crypto newcomers.
“What we want to be able to do is continue to work with our other brands and IPs,” Adija said. “What we’re looking to do is have Blocklete Games as the underpinning brand that will bring on other sports properties.”
Play-to-earn pioneer Axie Infinity surpassed $4 billion in all-time NFT sales earlier this month, with nearly 50,000 users buying, training and selling virtual pets. Blocklete Golf is one of many outfits converting the model to sports. Soccer-based MonkeyBall and the basketball-focused Rumble Kong League have both raised millions to build out (yes, ape-related) team-based games, while Draftkings and Sorare are mixing gamified NFT mechanics with fantasy sports competitions. The Olympics have even experimented with lending their IP to NFT-based contests.
Adija also hinted at possible synergies between Turner’s existing media properties and its growing gaming ambitions. For instance, Blocklete players might one day be able to capture a QR code during an event on TNT that would unlock in-game gear. Alternatively, winners of a Blocklete contest could be awarded access to a pay-per-view event.