The English Premier League has signed a potentially lucrative multi-year deal with leading fantasy soccer game Sorare. According to a CNBC article, Sorare players can acquire and use official Premier League non-fungible tokens (NFTs) as part of the deal. Commenting on the agreement, which sees the Premier League license official player cards, Sorare also announced the launch of two new features in the game.
The $4.3 billion Paris-based startup says the initiatives include competition with league-specific player cards and a “financial fair play“. According to Sorare, the fair play rule prevents users from choosing star teams to compete against, creating a level playing field.
The Sorare-Premier League partnership was born out of failed negotiations between the league and ConsenSys
Discussions about a potential licensing agreement between Sorare and the Premier League began circulating last October. In light of the now-confirmed collaboration between the two platforms, Nicolas Julia, Sorare’s chief executive officer, has provided insight into the development of the deal. According to Julia, the fantasy soccer company and the English Premier League men’s soccer experienced delays in concluding the licensing agreement. The delay was due to the fact that the Premier League already had an NFT licensing agreement with another platform.
Although Nicolas Julia refrained from giving details of the terms and duration of the latest deal, Sky News said it was worth £30 million. Last October, the British free-to-air news channel and the organization reported an impending deal between Sorare and the Premier League. According to Sky News at the time, the English soccer league’s supreme system was planning to hold discussions with the managers of its 20 resident clubs.
In October 2022, Sky News also reported that the development of Sorare came after the Premier League’s negotiations with ConsenSys failed. The privately held blockchain software technology company had attempted to negotiate a deal at a lower price following a drop in NFT’s valuations. However, the Premier League club’s executives deemed Sorare’s deal more lucrative than ConsenSys’ revised proposal.
Official licensed player tokens arrive amid crypto winter
Whether lucrative or not, Sorare’s latest deal with the Premier League comes amid a sharp decline in NFT value and trading activity. Throughout last year, crypto assets traded lower, triggered by several macroeconomic parameters. This phase, known as the crypto winter, has worsened in recent months due to the epic and sudden collapse of FTX, a once leading exchange.
According to CryptoSlam, the average selling price of an NFT last December was $143.22, which is a massive 63% year-over-year drop. In comparison, the average selling price of NFTs was $383.73 in December 2021. NFT trading volumes are also in free fall, with sales dropping 78% last December to $678.2 million from $3.1 billion a year ago.
Nevertheless, Nicolas Julia explains that Sorare has “followed a very different trend from the rest of the“. According to the CEO, Sorare’s total card trading is $500 million in 2022, nearly double the $270 million in 2021. Still, the fantasy soccer platform has noticed a shift in usage patterns, with players opting for its “free-to-play“. In this mode, these players do not have to compete with paying cards.
In addition to the Premier League, Sorare has already announced agreements with the National Basketball Association and Major League Baseball.