FIFA, the soccer’s world governing body, has agreed to a multi-year deal with the Upland metaverse and is launching a series of Web3 games and apps ahead of the World Cup 2022 in Qatar later this month.
The partnership with Upland, a virtual metaverse linked to real-world geography, will see the creation of a virtual Qatar 2022 environment that recreates the Lusail Stadium and other real locations. The Qatar 2022 metaverse will be a gamified experience that lets fans collect and trade digital highlights and moments in the form of NFTs. Players will be able to purchase virtual land, build neighborhoods, and create businesses or attractions to generate revenue.
Ahead of the big event, FIFA is also launching two new casual games: AI League, developed by Altered State Machine, and Matchday challenge, a trading card game. Lastly, the release of a fan engagement app called Phygtlis will let fans own a fragment of a digital soccer ball which they can use to store their favorite moments from past World Cups in video and image form.
FIFA does have some Web3 exposure already. In the past, the governing body has experimented with the Roblox metaverse, and Algorand is the official sponsor of the Qatar 2022 and the 2023 Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand. FIFA has also released an NFT collection on Algorand called “FIFA+Collect.”
But the new games from FIFA reveals its first return to gaming since it’s two-decade long relationship with EA Sports ended. One reason the partnership ended was FIFA’s desire to have more esports tournaments and release digital collectibles in the form of NFTs — something its former EA contract could have prevented.
Romy Gai, the chief business officer at FIFA, said that the Web3 partnerships were big news and marked the start of FIFA’s journey in the nascent space. When the World Cub kicks off on November 20th in Qatar, FIFA will be looking to boost its engagement with digitally native supporters.
Soccer Is Transitioning Into Web3
The new partnership and metaverse plans from FIFA are exciting for fans of Web3 and the World Cup. But FIFA isn’t the first organization in football to make moves in Web3. At Rarity Sniper, we’ve reported on several players, teams, and leagues this year investing time and money in the space. Here are our top stories.
On June 1st, 2022, the English Premier League (EPL) filed two metaverse-related trademarks with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The trademarks involved the league’s name and logo, NFTs, cryptocurrencies, digital collectibles in the form of trading cards, and virtual merch and gear for the metaverse.
Next, Major League Soccer made headlines when it announced it had a signed a Bored Ape NFT to a professional contract. The Ape, which goes by the name Striker, is the first digital athlete to receive a contract with a major sports league.
Lastly, in September, Spain’s premiere soccer league LaLiga signed a joint licensing agreement with Web3 platforms StadioPlus and Vegas City Limited to enter the Decentraland metaverse. The league will work to create immersive, virtual experiences to reach fans around the world.
We’ll have to wait to see if FIFA’s Qatar 2022 metaverse and gaming experiences are popular with fans. But considering the World Cup is one of the most highly anticipated and watched sporting events in the world, it’s likely that many new people will exposed to Web3 through FIFA’s projects.