How College Sports NFTs Could Deliver Financial Freedom to Amateur Athletes
NFTs can help college athletes earn from their accolades
The NCAA made $1.15 billion in revenue...
The action off the field is getting as exciting as the action on it thanks to innovative athlete NFTs.
It seems like hardly a week can go by without new athlete NFTs breaking records with jaw-dropping sales figures. These types of NFTs fuse the classic drive for sports memorabilia collecting with enticing new opportunities for appreciation — some even afford owners real-world perks and benefits, including meetups with the athletes themselves. Read on to find out all about the most valuable blockchain assets for a range of in-demand superstars.
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Athlete NFTs are a new way to collect and trade sport assets, with some being distributed by official leagues and others created by the stars themselves. They’re a specific type of sports NFT, or unique digital assets, that represent either real-world sports collectibles or ownership of a digitally native asset. Each token can correspond to an individual asset itself, or a fractionalized share of an asset. Check out our article, What Are Sports NFTs to learn more.
Tom Brady released his own Tom Brady Origins Collection of NFTs on Autograph in late 2021. The collection featured 16,000 NFTs, consisting of 25 sets of tiered collectibles representing early moments in Brady’s career. All 16,000 sold out in less than 10 minutes, despite each one costing $80 and their contents only being revealed at a special post-sale event. The floor price for items from the collection currently range from $230 to $500 on DraftKings’ secondary market.
More recently, Autograph and ESPN announced a deal to create and release NFTs based on the 10-part Brady docuseries, Man in the Arena. It’s too early to tell, but this collection may provide a more cost-effective method to add a Brady-themed NFT to your collection. Brady will sign 50 of the NFTs in the collection.
Kansas City Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes got his feet wet in the NFT space with the release of a set of six different pieces of art on MakersPlace. Four of the items were open editions, ranging in price from $2,500 to $10,000, and Mahomes sold as many as could be purchased in 15 minutes. In that time, 451 were purchased for a total of more than $2 million. However, the highlight of the sale was a 1:1 NFT (a single NFT as a unique asset) that sold for $247,000. Mahomes has announced that he will release additional NFTs via a partnership with NFL All Day.
The famed Statue of LeBron NFT is one of the most valuable athlete NFTs out there, with a current asking price of $12 million as of this writing. James is also one of the most popular athletes on NBA Top Shot, and other items featuring James have sold for hundreds of thousands of dollars. With this kind of star power, and as one of the savviest athlete businessmen around, it’s no surprise that James is looking to take his NFT talents to the metaverse on his own. Stay tuned.
Preparations are underway to launch an NFT collection honoring the late, great Kobe Bryant. The KB24NFT has already attracted thousands of reservations from fans and collectors. The collection will feature 10,000 NFTs that organizers say will represent Bryant’s achievements, moments in his career, and personality. All of the proceeds will be donated to the Mamba & Mambacita Sports Foundation, the charitable foundation established to continue the Laker’s legacy. At 0.08 Ethereum, the price of entry for this collection may be more affordable than many others.
Last fall, Tiger Woods released the initial Tiger Woods NFT collection on Autograph. The 10,000-item collection included 9,700 images originally priced between $12 and $100. The remaining 300 NFTs were signed by Woods and priced between $250 and $1,500. All 10,000 items sold out within 10 minutes, and one rare, signed Woods NFT sold for $70,000. In addition to ownership of the signed NFT, holders are granted VIP access to the first Limited Edition Tiger Woods Drop as well as Autograph’s private community on Discord.
Various Serena Willams NFTs can be found on OpenSea, including a CryptoPunk series and a 1:1 Williams exclusive. Earlier this year, Sorare announced that it was bringing Williams on as an advisor. We’ll have to wait and see if this means more ambitious plans for the release of a personalized Serena Williams NFT collection, but we can hope.
Soccer legend Messi created waves off the pitch last summer with the release of his first-ever licensed NFT collection. Released in partnership with the Ethernity platform, the project is known as “The Messiverse.” The collection was authored by Australian designer BossLogic, known for his work with Marvel and Disney. One week after launch, the rarest piece in the collection, “The Golden One,” resold on the secondary market for more than $9 million.
In March 2022, Michael Jordan and son’s Solana-based platform released “6 Rings,” the inaugural NFT set celebrating Jordan’s six NBA championships. The company, Heir Inc., sold 5,000 of the NFTs for 2.3 SOL (about $220) each, and each holder was designated as a “founding fan” with special entitlements to exclusive events and content. Heir recently announced plans to release a Lonzo Ball NFT collection as well.
Zion Williamson is the subject of an NBA Top Shot clip that previously sold for more than $100,000. The NFT is a video clip of Williamson blocking a shot from the Denver Nuggets, sending the ball into the stands at the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans. Inevitably, not all high-value athlete NFTs will retain their value — this one was bought at a market high and is now available on Top Shot for between $16,000 and $18,000.
Current NBA champ Steph Curry changed the game forever, and his NFT collection is just as innovative. Three days after setting the NBA’s all-time 3-point record at 2,974, Curry released The 2,974 Collection on the FTX platform. The collection features one NFT for each three-pointer he made, highlighting the date, location, and Curry’s digital signature. Curry donated 100% of the revenue from the sale to Eat.Learn.Play, his foundation focused on education and ending childhood hunger.
But the “cool factor” associated with this NFT didn’t stop there. Demonstrating how to keep excitement for an NFT release alive, Curry surprised all 2,974 owners with an unannounced Birthday Cake NFT on his 34th birthday. Then it got even better. Of the 2,974 three-pointers made to that point in his career, 28 happened on a game taking place on his birthday. The owners of the NFTs associated with those 28 shots were entitled to an all-expenses-paid trip to San Francisco for a special meet and greet with Curry himself.
Dibbs is a great place to start. Our fractional marketplace allows you to purchase shares of the most valuable sports collectibles, so it’s an ideal way to create a stable portfolio with a low cost of entry. If you’re looking to turn some of your beloved collection into cash, Dibbs allows you to sell percentages of your card to multiple buyers while still keeping a percentage of ownership. It’s a great way to turn short-term crypto profits into physical assets with long-term value, and if you sign up now you’ll even get a free Frac Pack to start your collection.