Just a week after the app’s launch, Sorare announced an important partnership in the United States on Thursday 12 May. France’s Unicorn has signed with Major League Baseball (MLB) and its players association to issue digital cards with the athletes of this professional league. Trading cards are in the form of non-fungible tokens, known by the acronym NFTs. But also to play. Like the “fantasy football” game the company has already developed, MLB-related NFTs will accompany a baseball game and the 30 teams – 29 American and one Canadian – are members of the league.
All of this is still on a free-to-play model: so future card owners will be able to play it for free. Thibault Predhomme, COO of Sorare, outlines “the launch of the game and the NFTs planned for the summer”. The value of the cards must change and adjust directly, based on the performance of baseball players on the field, in real matches in the real world.
First great decade outside of football
For the startup, this partnership with MLB represents “the first major contract outside of football,” as Thibault Predhomme notes. It is already the second team to be completed in North America, as at the end of March the company joined Major League Soccer, the professional football league that once again brings together American and Canadian teams.
“Our partnership will enable a new and larger community of fans to forge a strong bond with this archetype of American pastime,” said Nicholas Julia, co-founder and general manager of Sorare, in a press release. The startup has always set itself the goal of strengthening the commitment of fans and supporters by proposing to clubs to market cards that represent their players.
Using NFT allows you to ensure ownership and traceability of transactions on the blockchain, where cards can be resold. Sorare, whose business has always been profitable, is funded by taking commissions on recently released NFTs bought by fans.
New York office and Serena Williams on the board
After rapid development in Europe, acquiring licenses from nearly 250 clubs and signing direct partnerships with the Spanish (La Liga) and German (Bundesliga) football leagues, Sorari is betting heavily on the highly profitable American leagues. To better attract the United States, the startup has hired tennis player Serena Williams to her board of directors. A few months ago it also opened an office in New York, where it already has as many employees – 45 in total – as it has in Paris.
Major American leagues have not waited for Sorari to take control of NFTs, such as the Candy Digital platform, which has been trading officially licensed Major League Baseball NFTs since January. But the French firm notably brings the “game” dimension in addition to this.
With its new transatlantic contracts, Sorare hopes to encourage its users to open up to other sports and intends to allow them to play continuously. The European seasons end with the end of May and the beginning of June, followed by a period of stagnation until the beginning or middle of August. It is the period when baseball is the peak season in the United States, ”Tibow Bridhome advances.
The meteorite unicorn rises
Since its inception in 2018, Sorare has seen a huge increase. The startup became a unicorn in 2021, after collecting around € 580 million in new donations in September. It was estimated at around 3.4 billion dollars during the trial, or around 2.90 billion euros (at the exchange rate at the time).
Sorare est passé d’un volume of changes of ses NFTs from 7 million dollars in 2020 to 325 million in 2021. association. As of March 2022, it has 370,000 monthly active users in 185 countries. And Sorari does not intend to stop there. Unicorns want to beat other sports, other leagues and other clubs, to win over users over and over again.