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Six Sports NFT Marketplaces Helping Players and Teams Unlock New Value

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Jonathan Barbone

Find the right match to bring your athletic brand to the blockchain

Sports NFTs are a growing market, with players and teams vying to tap into the new demand for digital collectibles. Marketplaces from some of the biggest names in NFTs as well as sports-specific platforms are competing for your attention — and your business. With so many options to choose from, finding the best sports NFT marketplace to match your team’s brand, or your personal brand as an athlete, takes some research. Fortunately, we’ve already broken down six of the most promising contenders to help you start engaging with and monetizing your fans in exciting and secure ways.

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What Is a Sports NFT Marketplace?

The Six Best Sports NFT Marketplaces

Dibbs

Autograph

OpenSea

NBA Top Shot

Rarible

Nifty Gateway

What Is a Sports NFT Marketplace?

A sports NFT marketplace is a platform for buying or selling sports NFTs, which can range from all-digital, sports-card-style game moments to signed, physical player jerseys. In some ways, an NFT marketplace is no different than any other retail store; some specialize in just a few things, while others sell a wide variety of items. Your sports NFT marketplace of choice will allow you to create tokenized assets on the blockchain, then broker transactions between you and your customers.

Here are some of the most important factors to look out for when finding the best sports NFT marketplace to match your brand:

  • Size of the market: Sending your first NFTs out into a massive marketplace means exposing your digital assets to a broader audience, and potentially winning new collectors who may not have found you otherwise. However, it also means competing for attention against other high-profile creators. Starting with a smaller market could mean less competition and more cross-promotional opportunities.
  • Blockchain: You’ve probably heard people refer to “the blockchain,” but there are actually several different types of blockchain in existence. You can think of them roughly like the difference between iOS and Android: They mostly work toward the same ends, but they have their own unique ways of going about things, and they aren’t generally cross-compatible.
  • Fees: One of those differences between blockchains is the kind of fees you may be charged to create, or “mint,” an asset or perform transactions; for instance, gas fees on the Ethereum blockchain are charged per transaction to compensate the miners who power the blockchain’s cryptographic infrastructure.

The Six Best Sports NFT Marketplaces

Dibbs

The Dibbs Marketplace specializes in selling physically backed NFTs — meaning NFTs that represent ownership of real-world assets such as collectible merchandise, game-worn gear, and beyond. Dibbs authenticates and insures all of the assets it sells, keeping them (and their value) safe in a secured vault facility while the token representing their ownership can be traded freely on the market.

On top of serving as a marketplace of its own, Dibbs also works with athletes, teams, and beyond to drop tokenized physical assets on any number of web3 marketplaces. Given the plethora of potentially collectible items that go along with a career in professional sports, working with Dibbs presents an exciting new way to start monetizing assets you may already have. To learn even more about selling sports NFTs at Dibbs, partner with Dibbs today.

Autograph

Founded by football legend Tom Brady, and with an advisory board comprised of sports greats like Wayne Gretzky, Derek Jeter, Usain Bolt, Simone Biles, Tiger Woods, and Tony Hawk, Autograph is one of the most exciting sports NFT marketplaces around right now.

Autograph offers signed, limited edition collectibles and curated fan experiences. Fans can also become a part of the Autograph community, earning points and unlocking messages from the greats and more. The service launched in April 2021, and had sold more than 100,000 NFTs by November of that year.

OpenSea

OpenSea is the most popular NFT marketplace right now, offering everything from music to sports memorabilia. OpenSea allows nearly anyone to mint, buy, or sell NFTs and supports multiple blockchains.

Numerous official sports merchandise and collectible drops can be found on OpenSea, and its wide community has enabled fans to make some truly inspired NFT offerings themselves. With such a broad customer base, OpenSea is a great place to get started selling NFTs, but you should come prepared with a plan to stand out from the masses.

NBA Top Shot

NBA Top Shot is a sports NFT marketplace focused on all things basketball. Here you can find official highlight videos from NBA games sold as NFTs, among other basketball collectibles.

NBA Top Shot’s breakthrough success has been aided by the fact that you don’t need any cryptocurrency to participate. The marketplace accepts major credit cards as payment, and its fees are some of the lowest in the industry. While Top Shot sells cards from a range of current and former athletes, Magic Johnson recently grabbed headlines by joining the service with a whole anthology of historic moments from across his playing career.

Rarible

Rarible is another popular NFT marketplace with a relatively broad following that sells, buys, and collects all kinds of NFTs, including sports collectibles. Michigan State football head coach Mel Tucker broke ground with a Rarible drop in August 2022, proving that the platform can be a great way to turn the buying power of fandom toward charitable causes.

Rarible prides itself on being community-centric, and it walks the walk with a selection of helpful guides and other resources to get users started with its platform and the broader world of NFTs.

Nifty Gateway

Nifty Gateway is another popular NFT marketplace that is making waves as a sports NFT marketplace. Its unique custodial option allows owners to purchase NFTs and store them in a wallet managed by Nifty, reducing costs and logistical difficulties for collectors who don’t need an on-chain solution. This makes Nifty gateway one of the cheaper options to get started with, but it’s no less effective: A Kobe Bryant memorial piece that debuted on Nifty Gateway in August, 2020 was quickly valued at $25,000 soon after.

Deciding on the best sports NFT marketplace for your sports business isn’t something to rush. If you want to learn more about how the world of physically-backed NFTs could be a practical and profitable new avenue for your brand, reach out to Dibbs today.


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