NHL to Launch NFT Marketplace for Hockey

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The National Hockey League entered Web3 last week, announcing a league-wide partnership with Sweet, a digital collectibles trading platform. The multi-year deal will create products that appeal to all NHL fans, according to a statement from the league. Here is a quick look at what hockey enthusiasts can expect from the partnership:

  • Dynamic NFTs, where the collectible changes form according to player performance
  • A “trophy room” where collectors can display their NFTs
  • Video clip NFTs, likely similar to Dapper Labs’ NBA Top Shot and NFL All Day
  • A “gamified collecting experience” with quests and the ability to earn rewards

Dave Lehanski, an NHL executive vice president, said the league took “a significant amount of time” to analyze the market and establish a “fan-first strategy.” A goal for the NHL is to connect with fans in the most “authentic and engaging way possible.”

Tom Mizzone, the CEO of Sweet, said the company has already curated some “visually stunning action-packed moments.” It will also use gamification to establish an engaging and unique relationship between the digital collectibles and experiences.

There is no word yet what blockchain the NHL will mint its NFTs on, but given the pick of Sweet as an official partner, Polygon or Tezos are likely options. The NHL has also said that minimizing the environmental impact of its NFTs is essential.

NHL fans looking to get their hands on some collectibles will have to wait a bit longer: The NHL and Sweet plan to launch the new trading platform in October of 2022.

Sports Industry Bullish on NFTs

Very few industries have taken to non-fungible tokens like sports. Most major sports leagues formed partnerships or released collections long before the NHL. Here are three examples of how the other sports leagues have made inroads into the NFT space.

The NBA has perhaps been the most active league in the NFT industry. In addition to partnering with Dapper Labs to create NBA Top Shot, it has released an NFT collection called “The Association.” These dynamic NFTs changed appearance depending on the playoff performance of the featured player.

The NFL has also been active in NFTs. During the fall of 2021, it announced a partnership with Dapper Labs — a top 10 NFT company — to produce NFTs based on in-game highlights. Although the platform is still in beta mode, NFT collectors on Twitter were enthused about it during the NFL season.

Finally, the MLB has also been a participant in the NFT space. It partnered with Topps to create a line of NFT trading cards and recently teamed up with Sorare to produce an MLB NFT game.

Time will tell how the NHL NFT experience goes, but there’s no doubt that the link between sports and NFT continues to strengthen.