The Weekly Sports Slice
The NBA is trying to take sports NFTs to the next level, but this past week’s attempt certainly fell short. Meanwhile, a Dutch football club faces insider trading allegations, a UFC fighter is not pleased with the league’s latest NFTs, and one WNBA team is becoming the first in the league to release their own NFTs.
It was a major NFT week for sports and crypto as teams, leagues and athletes explore new ways to engage with fans. Each Sunday, we cover the past week of sports and crypto action with The Sports Slice. As we head into the final week of April, let’s review all of last week’s action.
The Sports Slice
Dubai To Host First-Ever NFT Sports Event With Mayweather Pay-Per-View Fight
While Floyd Mayweather has established himself as one of the greatest boxers to lace the gloves, his reputation in the NFT space isn’t as polished. Mayweather has faced lawsuits, SEC judgements, and call-outs from crypto sleuth @zachxbt on more than one occasion.
However, Mayweather is making history with the first-ever pay-per-view sports event with NFT tickets. In mid-May, Mayweather will fight Don Moore in Dubai, with tickets exclusively available via Rarible.
Ajax FC Players Face Allegations Of NFT Trading Based On Insider Info
Dutch football club Ajax FC is facing an investigation from the Dutch Gaming Authority over allegations over insider trading on NFT platform Sorare, according to local outlet BNR. Sorare has a deal with Amsterdam’s biggest football league, Eredivisie, and that deal could be at risk as players reportedly sold NFTs of a team’s leading goalkeeper, and purchasing a reserve goalkeeper’s NFTs before it was revealed that the reserve keeper would be getting the start in the league’s Cup Final. It’s unclear, according to reports, if regulatory reach will include things such as NFTs in the country.
Sorare released a statement that wasn’t particularly suggestive, saying that the company is “reviewing recent reports of unfair behaviour by professional football players and will take action as necessary to ensure fair play for our community.”
The NBA’s Messy Dynamic NFT Debacle
The NBA took a shot at Ethereum-based dynamic NFTs this past week with a new ‘NBAxNFT’ branded release titled ‘The Association.’ However, at mint time, some major flaws in the project’s contract came to life, resulting in many paying excessive gas fees and receiving no NFT, and others receiving multiple NFTs when it was supposed to be gated to one per wallet/user.
To add the fuel to the fire, the project announced after the initial flop that it would increase the mint cap from 18,000 to 30,000 NFTs – only adding to the community frustration.
UFC Fighter Nate Diaz Expresses Frustration Over League NFT
Long-time UFC fighter Nate Diaz has been a staunch advocate of cannabis use in the league, which has come with a slow burn of internal buy-in that has left him facing suspensions and positive cannabis tests over the years. This past week, the UFC jumped at the opportunity to celebrate 4/20 (the ‘cannabis holiday’) with a new NFT release courtesy of their Strike platform – provided in partnership with Dapper Labs.
Check out what Diaz had to say about the UFC’s 4/20 pack release:
It’s shit like this why I need to get the fuck out of the sorry ass UFC. Didn’t you guys suspend nick for 5 years and fine me hella money for a vape pen?! Now you’re reaping the benefits. I hope nobody buys this bullshit 👎🏼👎🏼👎🏼👎🏼👎🏼🖕🏼 pic.twitter.com/I3yPB9uJT9— Nathan Diaz (@NateDiaz209) April 20, 2022
New York Liberty Become First WNBA Team To Offer NFTs
The New York Liberty will be the first WNBA team in the history of the sports league to offer team-specific NFTs, according to an announcement last week. The first release will come as a set of 400 NFTs available on May 7 – in tandem with the team’s season opener against the Connecticut Sun. Liberty CEO Keia Clarke said to media members last week:
“I think we’re always aiming to be innovative. We like to lead and feel we should be leading here in New York. We have the support of ownership and a really unique idea to continue what our schedule release was.”
The WNBA was an early mover relative to other major sports leagues when it comes to league-wide NFT deals, pairing up with Top Shot and Dapper Labs to include WNBA athletes on the Top Shot platform last August.