Lionel Messi Fuels Arms Race for Top NFT Marketplace

Following the NBA’s launch of their non-fungible token (NFT) platform NBA Top Shot, Argentinian soccer legend Lionel Messi announced he will launch a collection of NFTs set to go on sale this week. Dubbed the “Messiverse,” the tokens are crypto art images of the Paris Saint Germain player and are quickly becoming hot items on the NFT marketplace. 

Check out this quick explainer on this topic:

Thanks to blockchain technology, sports fans now have the ability to own a piece of digital memorabilia such as limited edition videos or images which capture some of the most memorable moments in global sports. Think of these tokens as baseball and basketball cards on steroids given their exclusive, permanent, and unique. 

NFTs enable artists, sports personalities, and virtually anybody with celebrity status to monetize their likeness without using a middleman. Celebs serve their fans directly through an authentic and controlled experience that does not play into the world of PR. 

Launched with the blockchain platform Ethernity, the Messiverse collection boasts four pieces of art portraying Messi in another worldly orbit. The first NFT is entitled “The Golden One” and depicts Messi as the golden standard due to his reputation as one of the world’s greatest soccer players. The second is a set with pieces “Man From Tomorrow” and “Man Of The Past” which are an homage to Messi’s new jersey number 30 and old number 10 from his glory days with Barcelona. The third NFT is called “The King Piece,” alluding to the fact that Messi is the king of soccer while the fourth NFY has yet to be revealed. The artworks were produced by Australian artist Bosslogic, who commented on the opportunity saying “the legend Leo #Messi; still hasn’t sunk in that I get to work with him”. 

Announcing this momentous launch, Messi took to his Twitter account to say, “Art is like football. Eternal”. In turn, the blockchain behind the project, Ethernity, tweeted “The legend himself, forever sculpted on the blockchain”. Other icons that have produced their own NFTs include soccer legends Pelé, James Rodriguez, Ronaldinho, and Cristiano Ronaldo. 

Not to be outdone, the world’s biggest force in the world of boxing, MTK Global, is also moving forward with an NFC project which gives fans the ability to own pieces of boxing sports memorabilia that were otherwise impossible to attain. From limited-edition digital merch to collectible trading cards, MTK Global’s NFT project is one of the most anticipated in the sports world. 

NFTs have surged in popularity in the sports world evident through numerous NBA Top Shot Packs commanding hundreds of thousands of dollars per NFT. Just last month, Arsenal Football Club also partnered up with sports and entertainment blockchain provider Chiliz to launch the club’s very own token, $AFC, with major brands like Warner Bros, Budweiser, and Coca Cola joining this new space as well. 

Sports NFTs continue to prove themselves to be a hot commodity, and with the crypto industry and the sports industry each having millions of fans, this relationship is bound to be a bountiful one. 

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