NHL Opens NFT Collectible Platform to Public

Today, the National Hockey League (NHL) opened its digital asset collectible platform NHL Breakaway to the public. On the platform, users can collect, trade, and showcase highlight moments from players, including Sydney Crosby, Alexander Ovechkin, Jonathan Toews, and more.

David Lehanski, NHL Executive Vice President, said in a statement that the League has been focused on designing its collectibles platform in a way that connects with fans in the most “authentic and engaging manner possible.” He added that the highlights, which feature multiple camera angles and in-game audio, make pack opening a must-see experience.

The NHL initially opened its platform to beta testers months ago, calling the first users who joined “Founding Fans.” In addition to the initial features of the platform, the NHL has added more recently, including The Trade Lounge, a hub in which users can connect with one another, Public Profiles, a social aspect to the platform, and Gamification, which includes challenges that have IRL rewards.

NHL Breakaway comes in partnership with the National Hockey League’s Players’ Association (NHLPA), NHL Alumni Association, and Sweet, which specializes in building gamified digital collectible experiences. The inclusion of the NHL Alumni Association indicates that the NHL may be interested in including highlights from retired players in future drops.

Tom Mizzone, CEO of Sweet, said that the official launch marks the beginning of an era where gamified and social experience digital collectibles can become a bridge to the sport that fans love.

Sports Bet Big on NFTs

While many industries have taken to Web3 in the past two years, few have done so with as much enthusiasm as the sports industry. From NFT projects to partnering with Web3 gaming companies, sports leagues have seen the promise of non-fungible tokens especially. Here are three stories involving sports and Web3.

First, seven months ago, Mythical Games announced the launch of ‘NFL Rivals,’ a Web3 game where users can form their own teams and compete against other players. The game came in partnership with the National Football League, showing the league’s bullishness on the next iteration of the internet and NFTs.

Next, two years ago, the NBA released an NFT collection called “The Association.” It consisted of 18,000 non-fungible tokens that changed appearance based on how the players did in the playoffs. It also had a little speculation involved, with the better a player performing equaling (in theory) the value of the NFT.

Lastly, also two years, the UFC debuted its NFT platform called UFC Strike. The platform came in partnership with Dapper Labs, which was the creator behind top sports digital collectible platforms NBA Top Shot and NFL All Day. Similar to those platforms, UFC Strike featured NFTs that showcased highlights of sports action.

As these stories show, sports leagues are betting big on Web3, specifically NFTs. Although the money has dried up recently, that hasn’t stopped leagues from trying. When the users return, perhaps so will the money, and these platforms will blow up in terms of trading volume again.