Source: Cátia Matos

NFTs Have Taken Over March Madness

BY Rupendra Brahambhatt

March 17, 2022

In February, NFTs had a strong presence at Super Bowl LVI. Now, they’re set to take over another huge event: March Madness. Ranked among the biggest and most popular annual sports events in the US, the NCAA March Madness is a prestigious Division I Men’s basketball tournament that dates back to 1939. On March 15, March Madness entered into its 83rd edition, and this year, 68 college basketball teams selected by the NCAA are competing to win the National Championship. From new collections to marketplaces, let’s take a look at how NFTs are set to be a key part of the event.

The College Hoops Collection drop

Boston-based sports betting company DraftKings announced their first-ever in-house digital collectibles campaign called the “Primetime NFT Series.” The first drop in the campaign will be the “2022 College Hoops Collection.” These tokens will be released as a part of the company’s Primetime NFT Series campaign that aims to capture the budding digital sports collectibles market. 

The campaign is set to kick off with the release of 6,646 NFTs under the name “Going Dancin.” These NFTs will feature an animated basketball whose appearance will change as the NCAA March Madness tournament proceeds.  

During the tournament, the company is set to release seven more in-house NFT collections comprising more than 12,000 non-fungible tokens, with prices ranging between $10 and $200. Along with each College Hoops token, the collector will also receive DK Dollars that could be further used on DraftKings’ official website to participate in bracket pools and place online bets for the NCAA event.

March Madness NFTs are selling fast

While DraftKings is new to the NFT game, others have already begun selling sports NFTs centered around basketball and March Madness in large numbers. The day March Madness began, technology company RECUR launched its own collegiate sports NFT marketplace named NFTU. As per the latest data on the NFTU website, within 24 hours of its launch, nearly 18,000 sports NFT Cases have already been sold. 

The non-fungible tokens available on NFTU feature several fan-favorite college basketball moments of players from different teams. RECUR considers NFTU the “largest collegiate sports NFT platform.” The company believes that the initial sales on their newly launched marketplace highlight “the strength of collegiate sports fandom” as well as the ability of their platform to “connect athletes and fans through owning iconic sports moments from 100+ current and former college players, including NaLyssa Smith, Ja Morant,  Blake Griffin, and many others. 

According to a report from NFT Culture, as soon as the first pack of 20,000 cases dropped on the NFTU marketplace, it “started selling out in a matter of seconds.” The students, players, and colleges who have bought collectibles on NFTU, exercise complete ownership of their digital assets, and they are entitled to receive royalties as well. RECUR considers this relationship a win-win, where “fans are able to truly own and be a part of their favorite team on an interoperable and chain agnostic platform, while the players themselves are able to generate revenue in entirely new ways that will be significantly sustainable over time.” 

The recognition, praise, and approval that NFT creators are getting from the sports community; plus the large sales volume of NFTU tokens, and the excitement surrounding the DraftKings’ 2022 College Hoop Collection, are certainly causing the rise of a never-before-seen sports NFT wave, amidst the March Madness tournament. With more new players showing up every day, it will be interesting to see how big this wave turns out to be.

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