Major League Soccer — the US’ official soccer league (or “football league” if you’re in any other part of the world) — just announced a notable new signing: Striker, a Bored Ape NFT. The news was just announced in an exclusive release shared with nft now.
The one-of-a-kind signing was conducted by a division of Get Engaged called ge3. Through the deal, the team hopes to tap into the growing interest the sports world has taken in NFTs over the past few years. Before Striker got packaged into a virtual athlete, he was simply known as Bored Ape #6045. Get Engaged made a sizeable investment in securing this particular ape, and that’s putting it mildly. Ultimately, they picked it up for 100 ETH. This gave its previous owner a pretty hefty profit, as they purchased the ape NFT for just 8.45 ETH in 2021.
Striker will make his virtual debut at the MLS’ All-Star Game on August 10 as the league’s newest All-Star. On the virtual pitch, Striker is set to play the position of — you guessed it — striker.
However, this signing isn’t Major League Soccer’s first dance with NFTs. The league launched its first NFT collection in May 2021, and partnered up with sports-centric NFT marketplace Sorare to launch a blockchain-based fantasy soccer game in March 2022.
Major League Soccer expands its presence in the NFT market
Across the sports world, NFTs have steadily gained traction as investment and community-building opportunities have continued to unfold. The NBA has seen projects like Top Shot, team-centric projects, and included major supporters like the four-time NBA champ Steph Curry. On the other hand, the NFL just launched a blockchain game of its own, and even featured NFTs heavily during the advertising gold mine everyone knows as the Super Bowl.
Virtual entities are nothing new to the entertainment industry. After Gorillaz made its debut in late 2000, avatar-based music projects gradually picked up in popularity, culminating in the explosion of the VTuber scene in the late 2010s. In recent memory, we’ve even seen a virtual musician beef with legendary hip-hop producer Timbaland.
As NFTs continue to grow across both the sports and entertainment industries, the opportunity is ripe for creators to look for projects that function at the intersection of these multi-billion dollar industries.