Gaming company Animoca Brands has struck a high-profile partnership agreement with Queens Park Rangers Football Club, a professional football team based in London, UK.
The deal will see Animoca and QPR’s holding company, QPR Holdings, develop and launch non-fungible tokens (NFTs) based on the QPR team with limited-edition collectables to be launched “later in the year”.
“We have launched a number of innovative digital products over the course of the last two seasons and have taken a keen interest in blockchain, NFTs and tokenisation, which represent a hugely exciting area for football clubs,” said QPR commercial director Euan Inglis.
“The opportunity to create digital assets that are unique and truly ownable by their holders is particularly appealing for sports teams. Working with market leader Animoca Brands, whose track record speaks for itself, was an opportunity we could not miss. The concepts that we will develop through this partnership will create some real excitement with our fanbase.”
Leveraging NFTs in football
The agreement sees Animoca being handed a global licence to produce and publish NFTs for QPR with the ultimate aim of making the club more accessible to its existing supporters, engaging with new audiences globally and delivering the next generation of content such as digital commodities and collectables.
According to Animoca Brands, NFTs are considered authentic “digital assets” and/or collectables that can be owned and exchanged while remaining guaranteed, verified, and secured on the blockchain at all times.
Currently, the majority of digital content in online gaming is temporarily provided to users on a licencing basis, whereas NFTs are truly ownable, just like physical collectables such as cards and memorabilia.
“Their characteristics allow NFTs to attain significant value as digital collectables and sports memorabilia,” the company said.
Moreover, Animoca and QPR are adamant that their NFT products can be owned and permanently retained by holders regardless of any decisions taken by any other party, including NFT developers and Animoca itself.
“NFT holders are free to do anything they want with them: sell them on a marketplace, trade them for other items, use them in supported products, or simply collect and display them,” said Animoca co-founder and chairman Yat Siu.
“We are thrilled by the prospect of collaborating with Queens Park Rangers and look forward to creating further engagement opportunities for the fans of this distinguished football club,” he added.
Currently, Animoca Brands develops and publishes a broad portfolio of products including the REVV and SAND tokens, as well as original games such as The Sandbox, Crazy Kings and Crazy Defense Heroes.
The crypto company has also struck multiple high-profile deals with industry-leading organisations within sports and entertainments such as Formula 1, Marvel, WWE, Power Rangers and MotoGP.
Additionally, Animoca’s portfolio of blockchain investments and partnerships includes Sky Mavis (Axie Infinity), Dapper Labs (CryptoKitties and NBA Top Shot), OpenSea, Harmony, Bitski and Alien Worlds.
Most recently, the company raised over $113 million as part of its aim to commercialise the video gaming NFT market and brought in a slew of institutional investors including Kingsway Capital and HashKey Fintech Investment Fund.
Serving the Olympics
To consolidate its venture into sports and entertainment, Animoca has aksi launched a new Olympic-themed digital “entertainment experience” consisting of NFT Olympic pins and cross-play multiplayer video games developed by its subsidiary, nWay, as part of a separate licencing agreement with the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
nWay has been contracted by the IOC to bring the NFT Olympic Pins Collection to the world via its nWayPlay Marketplace and intends to incorporate high-quality 3D models with animation and visual effects to create “truly premium NFTs”, according to nWay chief executive officer Taehoon Kim.
Mr Kim confirmed that nWayPlay.com will serve as a new “decentralised marketplace” for collectors and gamers to buy, sell, and play-to-earn various licenced NFTs.
Collectors can purchase assorted packs of NFT Olympic Pins on nWayPlay.com with the peer-to-peer transaction functionality expected to be launched in the coming weeks.
Moreover, a new related Olympic-themed videogame will be launched later this year, in the lead up to the Olympic Winter Games in Beijing in 2022.
The event is set to be “powered” by the Flow blockchain, which offers a unique combination of scalability, usability, and environmentally sustainable features, according to its developers.
Unlike Ethereum-based NFTs that deter purchases of lower-priced NFTs due to high gas fees, the Flow-based marketplace claims to support low transaction fees and a wider spectrum of prices, allowing more mainstream fans and collectors to participate.
Olympic pin ups
NFT Olympic Pins are digital versions of collectable and tradeable Olympic Pins and went on sale on 17 June 2021 via nWayPlay.com.
Since launch, both Animoca and nWayPlay.com have confirmed the Olympic Pins rollout constitutes an “inaugural set” as part of an Olympic Heritage Collection, celebrating the art and design of past Olympic events and reflecting the graphic legacy of the world’s largest sporting event.
Premium digital content being created and sold includes posters, emblems, pictograms and mascots relating to 125 years of Olympic Games history.
Collectors can obtain unique and officially licenced NFT Olympic Pins by purchasing assorted packs on nWayPlay.com, by purchasing specific pins directly from other collectors on the nWayPlay Marketplace, or by earning them free of charge by playing a real-time Olympic-themed competitive video game through nWayPlay in the lead up to the Winter Olympics in 2022.
“We built nWayPlay on the Flow blockchain, the same platform used by NBA Top Shot, because its energy consumption associated with NFTs is dramatically lower than Proof of Work-driven alternatives,” said Mr Kim.