Softbank Acquires $ 4 Billion Fantasy Football Startup

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Softbank seeks to profit from the rise of fantasy football and virtual sports goods in the real world with an investment of $ 680 million. French start-up Solare.

Founded just three years ago, Sorare is now worth $ 4.3 billion, following one of the biggest funding rounds for European tech start-ups so far this year.

Based in Paris, the company runs a popular online game that allows fans to choose a team of real football players of their imagination and earn points based on their performance on the pitch each week. Players of fantasy games can earn or purchase blockchain-protected digital football cards called “non-fungible tokens” (NFTs). It can also be traded as a unique item.

“Magic is really at the crossroads of NFT merchandise and fantasy football,” Sorare CEO and co-founder Nicolas Julia told the Financial Times. “These two bring something truly new.”

The new investment is led by SoftBank through Vision Fund 2 and Latin America Fund, but many other major venture capitalist groups such as Atomico and Bessemer, as well as soccer stars such as FC Barcelona’s Gerard Piqué and former Manchester United. Also included is defender Rio Ferdinand. Former investors include Accel and Benchmark.

These investors will be enthusiastic about buying and selling Sorare’s NFT cards, the company’s only source of revenue, including decades of physical collectibles trading, from Topps baseball cards to Panini soccer stickers. I think.

Sorare’s latest funding continues with an outburst of interest in NFTs during the summer, just seven months after raising $ 250 million.

Market tracker DappRadar estimates sales volume Reach $ 5.3 billion in AugustCryptocurrency investors are reinvesting profits in digital assets and games such as CryptoPunks, Bored Ape Yacht Club, Axie Infinity and Loot, compared to a total of $ 2.5 billion in the first half of 2021.

The risk is that NFTs represent a short-term epidemic, and some crypto groups target sports fans with the idea that estimating NFT sales can be economically profitable. Has been accused of being.

Julia of Solare said: [our] Marketing where you can make money.Some people will like it, like in the real world [they do] With Panini card. Some of them sell for millions of dollars, far more than today’s NFT cards. But the core experience is a game. “

Marcelo Claure, CEO of SoftBank Group International, who personally owns or invests in many football clubs, including Club Bolivar in Bolivia and Girona in Spain, said: We are enthusiastically waiting for the “in-game game” provided by Solare. ”

Many sports leagues are rushing to offer NFTs. In 2019, the North American NBA partnered with cryptocurrency company Dapper Labs to “Top shot⁠—A 12-second highlight that is blockchain-encrypted and then sold to fans as a digital card.One of these, a clip Lebron James DunkYou can watch a similar video on YouTube for free, but it was resold for $ 200,000.

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As with other forms of cryptography, transactions can be volatile. According to, The top shot market has become a crater. At its peak in February, more than 80,000 buyers spent more than $ 224 million to get a basketball card that month. In July, only 35 buyers generated $ 8.4 million in sales. Average sales of top shot cards decreased from $ 181.81 to $ 31.5 during the period. Data suggests The value of the Solare Card peaked in March, averaging $ 281 compared to $ 168.92 this month, but remains stronger than the top shots of the last few months.

Simon Chadwick, a sports professor at Emlyon Business School, said the “gold rush frenzy” surrounding NFTs in sports was a “frenzy bait” by football clubs to exist online during the dot-com boom of the 1990s. He said he reminded me of “Yari”. “People are betting that fan involvement is synonymous with economic transactions,” Chadwick said.

According to Julia, Solare has generated $ 150 million in revenue so far this year and the latest investment will be spent expanding and securing new deals in the United States. Last week, he announced a contract with the Spanish LaLiga tournament. English Premier League, The world’s hottest domestic soccer contest.

Softbank Acquires $ 4 Billion Fantasy Football Startup

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