The Beijing Guoan Football Club, a professional soccer team in the Chinese Super League (CSL), just dropped a set of NFT avatars that can be used in the club’s virtual stadium set to open next year.
On Sunday, the CSL champions started a 10-day lottery to give away free NFTs to 10,000 lucky fans. The team also announced this Tuesday via WeChat that it intends to make more NFTs, or as it prefers to call them — “digital collectibles.”
The NFTs were minted by China Mobile’s Shucangbao, a platform that runs on the state-owned Zhong Yi Chain blockchain. Shucangbao was one of the fist companies in the country to join the blockchain-based Service Network.
The CLS is one of the most popular sports leagues in China, with an average attendance of over 24,000 fans for league matches. This puts it just behind some of the most popular football leagues in the world, such as the Premier League, Bundesliga, and Serie A.
According to a report by Forbes, Guoan is the second most valuable football team in China and its stadium has a seating capacity over 66,000. Bringing that stadium into the metaverse could increase the team’s overall viewership numbers immensely.
Soccer Leagues Around the World Enter Web3
Digital collectible avatars tied to a virtual stadium is big news for fans of the Guoan Football Club and the CSL, especially for those who can’t physically attend games. But Guoan is far from the first soccer team to integrate Web3 technology into its business plan. Here are some other clubs and leagues around the world with similar projects.
Early last year, America’s Major League Soccer (MLS) signed a deal with Web3 platform Sorare to mint NFT trading cards. The NFTs will feature players from the MLS’s 28 clubs and can be used by holders in Sorare’s fantasy soccer competitions.
Next, a few months later, a match between AC Milan and Fiorentina was broadcasted in the Nemesis metaverse. The CEO of Seria A, Luigi De Siervo, said that the league was the first to broadcast a football match in the metaverse.
Finally, on January 15th, the Royal Spanish Football Federation dropped an NFT collection featuring Real Madrid and FC Barcelona. The collection of 473 NFTs promising “VIP access to the next metaverse” sold out in under an hour.
Sports connection to NFTs and metaverse experiences has been growing ever since Dapper Labs created NBA Top Shot. But while basketball was the first sport to innovate in Web3, soccer is catching up quickly. Now that China’s CLS league is in on the action, we expect the trend will only pick up steam.