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NFTs For Athletes: How Players Can Unlock New Revenue Streams by Selling Assets on Their Terms

Image of Jonathan Barbone
Jonathan Barbone

NFT collectibles you sell now could keep earning you money long after your playing years

The market for non-fungible tokens has exploded in recent years, bringing windfalls to savvy creators and collectors alike. The inherent collectibility of NFTs makes them a natural avenue for professional athletes, as well as a compelling way to bridge the ever-present revenue gap between people who make sports happen (the players) and the people who really rake in the money (the owners).

If you want to join the ranks of NFT athletes building their brands and making money through the blockchain, you’ll need to do some studying first. Don’t worry if your student-athlete days are long behind you; we brought our notes to share.

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NFT 101

The Best NFTs Athletes Can Mint

How to Start a Line of NFTs

Trailblazing NFT athletes

NFT 101

At a basic level, an NFT is a unique digital identifier, produced using blockchain technology, that cannot be replicated or substituted. These tokens represent everything from original artwork to digital trading cards to ownership of real-life athletic memorabilia. Creators can "mint" new tokens on blockchains like the industry-standard Ethereum, then sell those tokens in sports NFT marketplaces.

Athletes with NFTs open up new revenue streams that can persist long after their playing days are over, thanks to built-in smart contracts that give creators a cut of secondary market sales. Unique tokens representing the best athletes in the world are already popular, and one need only look at places like NBA Top Shot and WWE Moonsault to see how eager fans have been to start collecting. While working with league-owned platforms can be a great option, going out on your own into the NFT market can be even more compelling.

The Best NFTs Athletes Can Mint

Now that you have an idea on how to sell your tokens, it’s time to kick your imagination into gear as you decide what form these tokens should take. The aforementioned WWE Moonsault and NBA Top Shot turn individual moments into NFTs, but their parent organizations also own the rights to distribution of that footage. Individual athletes selling NFTs won't be able to dip into that, so you’ll need to go further afield.

The most common type of NFT athletes are distributing at the moment is original artwork, which consists of both illustrations and photos of the athlete in action. But you likely have even more potential digital assets at your disposal than you may realize. For instance, game-worn shoes or other uniform pieces could become a physical backed NFT if you create a tokenized counterpart representing its ownership and then sell that token.

Physical-backed NFTs for athletes offer some truly tantalizing options for players who may accrue all manner of potential collectibles throughout their career, but they do introduce some new complexities. Athletes selling NFTs with Dibbs get to rest easy knowing their gear and other collectibles are secured and insured in a state-of-the-art facility, as Dibbs uses its proven tokenization experience to make sure your new digital collectibles generate the most revenue today and tomorrow.

How to Start a Line of NFTs

Minting NFTs can be done relatively quickly depending on your choice of platform: Rarible allows you to mint and sell across five popular blockchains for some extra flexibility; meanwhile, Holaplex is made to help brands make the most of their Web3 possibilities, though its tokens reside exclusively on the Solana blockchain.

Once the tokens are minted, and the line is ready, you have just as many choices for sports NFT marketplaces. OpenSea is easily the largest NFT marketplace, but that’s a double-edged sword: While a lot of eyes are on OpenSea, it has a lot of competition to contend with as well. Brand-new athlete NFT lines may be better suited with smaller, but more tailored options like Binance.

Trailblazing NFT athletes

The athlete NFT marketplace is still new, but it's filling up fast. Multiple athletes have given their biggest fans new ways to support them by launching their own NFT lines on multiple platforms.

Professional golfer and 2020 U.S. Open champion Bryson DeChambeau dropped a set of ten NFTs on OpenSea, with each token featuring a picture of him and his signature. Philadelphia Eagles rookie Nakobe Dean has a smaller line of NFTs through the NFTs By Athletes service, including one token limited to just 17 issues. Even amateur players are getting into the NFT mix; University of Tennessee freshman forward Julian Phillips is among a trio of top college players selling unique tokens on VerifiedInk.

Determining how to bring your athletic brand to NFTs is a big decision, one that could have an impact on your relationship with your fans as well as your financial security for years down the line. It isn’t one to take lightly. If you’d like to find out more about the options you have available to make the most of this exciting new field while retaining peace of mind about who and what you’re working with, reach out to Dibbs and schedule a demo today.


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