The 5 Best Sports Blockchain Companies to Partner With in 2023
Sports blockchain companies can be an invaluable resource for athletes and teams looking to navigate Web3 technology
The explosive growth in NFTs took even tech fiends by surprise, and that demand has been especially strong when it comes to sports tokens. An impressive 24% of American households have already purchased a digital asset, but if you’re looking at sports fans specifically, that number jumps to 34%. Sports organizations are eager to enter this market but need reliable partners who understand the nuances of blockchain.
To meet this challenge, sports blockchain companies are rapidly distinguishing themselves as leaders in knowing what sports fans want and how to provide it through the unique potential of Web3 tech. Here are five examples of companies helping athletes and teams leap onto the blockchain.
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What Are Sports Blockchain Companies?
Want to learn more about the intersection of sports and blockchain, or maybe you're ready to turn this technology to your advantage? Read our guide, How to Win With Blockchain Technology in Sports.
What Are Sports Blockchain Companies?
Sports blockchain companies are experts who help teams, organizations, and individuals in sports monetize their brands and reach new fans via blockchain technology. For example, if an athlete wants to sell memorabilia to fans without the potential pitfalls and expenses of traditional collectibles trading, then a sports blockchain company could tokenize the memorabilia to allow its seamless trade online. Alternatively, a sports association might work with such a business to create a first-party token marketplace or a platform for selling NFT drops.
These services are invaluable resources for fully leveraging Web3 possibilities, especially since there doesn’t tend to be a great deal of expertise crossover between leveraging blockchain tech and managing successful athletic enterprises — and understandably so! Rather than attempting to handle each aspect of this emerging field in-house, a sports blockchain company can facilitate minting, drops, or even designing a custom marketplace to meet your specific needs. With this approach, athletes and sports companies can focus on the revenue and community-building benefits of selling tokens instead of trying to build a platform themselves.
Dibbs specializes in physically-backed NFTs that represent ownership of real-world assets, from sports cards to signed jerseys and beyond. Dibbs authenticates and insures all items listed on any NFT marketplace, storing them within a secured vault facility while their associated tokens can be held, bought, and sold by owners. Token holders may redeem the NFT to claim the physical asset or hold it as a secure investment.
Dibbs’ unique approach to sports blockchain memorabilia combines the practical value of traditional sports collectibles with the flexibility and secondary market income (via built-in smart contracts) of NFTs. That makes it a powerful partner for sports brands looking for a new way to monetize existing assets and connect with both new and existing fans. To learn more about selling sports NFTs, schedule a demo with Dibbs today.
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Dapper Labs first came to widespread attention for its work on CryptoKitties, an online game where each NFT represents a unique virtual cat. Dapper then went on to develop Flow, a blockchain that addressed inefficiencies the company saw within Ethereum’s proof of work protocol. This project helped Dapper rapidly expand into other markets, including several noteworthy sports brands ready to join the blockchain.
These partnerships led to the creation of platforms such as NBA Top Shot, NFL All Day, and UFC Strike. Its most recent launch is LaLiga Golazos, an NFT platform built to celebrate and commemorate the achievements of Spanish footballers. These projects helped Dapper prove its technical expertise and sports knowledge, making it a valuable NFT partner that leagues continue to watch closely.
Candy Digital is, as its name implies, all about fully digital NFTs. Its biggest partner is Major League Baseball, letting it sell exclusive NFTs backed by the MLB, MLB Players Association, and even the Baseball Hall of Fame. Outside of baseball, Candy Digital also works with the WWE, Netflix, and other companies looking to develop digital collectibles.
When it comes to sports NFTs, Candy Digital specializes in ICON tokens. Each ICON includes some combination of digital content, such as a player card, photos, videos, and narration that varies based on token rarity. By acquiring an Epic or Legendary ICON, token holders also gain the athlete’s digital signature for authenticity and bragging rights. As Candy Digital grows, these offerings will likely extend beyond MLB and WWE to include additional leagues and sporting categories.
Socios was one of the first NFT companies to recognize that sports collectors might also find value in digital assets. To that end, it created a marketplace for “Fan Tokens,” a type of NFT that gives holders votes on decisions such as jersey designs or food offerings. After establishing an audience of European football fans, Socios quickly expanded into North American sporting markets, including basketball, hockey, esports, and more.
Along with producing and selling Fan Tokens for partner organizations, Socios provides NFT holders with a loyalty app to manage their collections. This app is a focal point for the community where users can buy or sell tokens and participate in current polls. For brands interested in directly engaging with their most dedicated fans, Socios provides an intriguing value proposition.
There are many NFT marketplaces out there, but none on the same level of widespread adoption as OpenSea. Launched in 2017, OpenSea was designed to capitalize on then-novel NFT technology using open Ethereum protocols and a peer-to-peer platform. Today, it stands as the largest NFT marketplace, with over 2 million collections and $20 billion in all-time sales volume. Just about every kind of NFT can be found in its listings — in fact, due to the platform’s open nature, many of the tokens developed for brands tend to make their way to OpenSea’s secondary markets.
Sports companies gain two benefits from working with OpenSea. The first is OpenSea’s NFT minting service, which allows creators to make tokens without paying upfront “gas fees.” Instead, the collection manager holds off on minting tokens until an initial sale is complete, so creators don’t have to pay until customers show interest. Secondly, OpenSea has a partnership program that pairs clients with NFT experts who can help them take full advantage of the platform’s audience and features.
While the number of sports blockchain companies is growing, these examples show that each service is uniquely tailored to meet different industry needs. Sports businesses looking to jump into Web3 should think carefully about their offering and how fans will interact with NFTs. If you want to learn more about physically backed NFTs and how they can use assets you already have to build both your brand and revenue, reach out to Dibbs today.
Ben Plomion is Dibbs' Chief Marketing Officer. As a child, Ben collected comic books and Panini Football stickers. Now, Ben's PC consists of physical-backed NFTs.