How football players enter the world of NFTs, web3 and the metaverse

Many football players try to enter web3 and NFTs. In this blogpost you will learn that this landscape is extremely fragmented and how Aera by OneFootball will solve that.

We have previously talked about big football projects in web3 and the value they bring to the fans. In this blog post we are taking a closer look at the individuals playing the game: footballers.

For the first time, players can really build their personal brand beyond social media and create a stronger connection with their fans off the pitch.

Mostly, fans will see players featured in NFT collections, but some players are also building their own projects or investing in NFTs. In this blog post we will discuss the following:

  • NFT Collections featuring football players
  • Projects with player involvement (as brand ambassadors)
  • Investments by football players (in companies and NFTs themselves)

There is however a huge challenge for all fans in the space as collections, projects and news is spread so widely it is impossible to know where to start. Our goal with the Aera marketplace is to make this much, much better for fans, being the #1 place for football NFTs. HATTTRICKS is a collection currently in development and will feature multiple players from across the world. You can find out more below or on our website.

NFT Collections featuring football players

Most players collaborate with platforms and brands to create their own collectibles/NFTs. With that approach, they can build an income stream that is disconnected from their club. This list will give you an overview of some of the most high profile collections.

Lionel Messi — Messiverse

Collectibles and NFTs of the Messiverse Drop on Ethernity featuring his jerseys at Paris Saint-Germain and FC Barcelona.
Lionel Messi’s collection powered by Ethereum (Source: https://www.marketing-interactive.com/)

The “Messiverse” is a NFT collection from Lionel Messi that launched on Ethernity last August. The collection focused on the artwork and sold out which is not surprising since it features one of the biggest footballers of all time. The collectibles have sold for between 499 and 50,000 USD per piece. Buying the collectible got fans a chance to win a signed jersey of the Argentinian legend.

  • Chain: Ethernity
  • Mint price: starting at 499 USD
  • Launch: August 2021
  • Use Case: Artwork + Rewards

Son Heung-Min — NFTSTAR Fan Pass

The recently launched NFTs of the Tottenham Hotspurs player Son.
Some of the NFTs that Son Heung-Min is going live with (Source: nftstar.com)

NFTSTAR launched the Son Heung-Min Fan Pass on May 5, 2022 featuring his signature celebration, an invisible camera viewfinder. There are be 5,880 pictures in total and they each represent a day in Son’s life. By purchasing the Fan Pass, fans get the chance to be whitelisted for future drops, receive airdrops, get tickets or meet & greets.

In addition to the Korean winger, Neymar Jr. announced in November 2021 an exclusive partnership with NFTSTAR to develop, sell and trade NFT collectibles featuring the Paris Saint-Germain forward. So far there’s no announcement when the collection will go live or what’s in for the fans. We remain curious to see what kind of project they are building in the background.

  • Chain: Ethereum
  • Mint Price: 0.09 ETH
  • Launch: May 5, 2022
  • Use Case: Profile Picture (”PFP”) + Rewards

Wayne Rooney — Blockasset Legends

The former Manchester United and Everton player is featured in the England national team jersey in this drop.
Wayne Rooney is one of the five athletes in the Blockasset Legends collection (Source: blockasset.co)

The former Manchester United striker has joined the Blockasset Legends collection featuring athletes from different sports including Muhammad Ali (Boxing), Mike Bisping (UFC), Alex Ovechkin (Ice Hockey) and Jonah Lumo (Rugby). The PFP collection in the style of digital paintings is created by Dosbrak and can be traded on the Blockasset marketplace.

The collection of 10,000 NFTs promises access to an exclusive Discord channel, early access to a play-to-earn game, regular rewards, staking rewards, airdrops and discounts.

We haven’t seen seen many cross-sports projects and it remains to be seen if this will be a successful approach.

  • Chain: Solana
  • Mint Price: 2 SOL
  • Launch: November 4, 2021
  • Use Case: PFP + Rewards

Megan Rapinoe — The Collective

Megan Rapinoe’s NFT shows the top scorer of the US national team in a powerful pose.
Megan Rapinoe’s NFT emphasising leadership of women in sport (Source: zora.co)

Megan Rapinoe is a two-time World Cup champion and Olympic gold medalist. Due to her personality on and off the pitch she is known all over the world and loved for taking a stand on gender equality in Sports. She joined The Collective NFT together with Charli Collier (Basketball), Aari McDonald (Basketball), Ibtihaj Muhammad (Fencing), Mariah Duran (Skateboarding) and Scout Bassett (Paralympian Track & Field athlete). Similar to the Blockasset Legends collection, the project brings athletes from different sports together.

The Ethereum powered collectibles can be purchased on the ZORA marketplace. We remain curious to see what they have planned for the future and are excited that women’s football is at the forefront of web3 and innovation.

  • Chain: Ethereum
  • Mint Price: Auction
  • Launch: May 17, 2021
  • Use Case: Collectible Card

Vinicius Junior

Vinicius Jr. NFTs feature the youngster of Real Madrid in multiple career stages, incl. Real Madrid, the Brazilian national team (CBF) and Flamengo.
The Vinicius Jr. NFT Collection can be viewed on Opensea (Source: opensea.io)

The Brazilian youngster from Real Madrid CF created a set of collectibles and sold them on his website directly to fans. By purchasing the NFTs, fans had the chance to play a FIFA match against Vinicius Jr., receive a replica of the 3D NFTs or get an autographed boot. The collection launched on February 2, 2022 with a primary sale price of 0.225 ETH. While 1,000 NFTs could be purchased, at the time of writing, only 48 have been sold.

We can only guess as to why the project didn’t pick up the momentum that Vinicius Jr. has a world class footballer, but it could be the comparably high price to mint the collectibles.

  • Chain: Ethereum
  • Mint Price: 0.225 ETH
  • Launch: February 2, 2022
  • Use Case: Collectible Card + Rewards

Zlatan Ibrahimović — Laws of Adrenaline

The Swedish super star is trying to provoke.
In typical Zlatan Ibrahimović, his collectibles like to polarise (Source: Markersplace.com)

The Laws of Adrenaline is the first collection in a series of releases featuring Zlatan Ibrahimović. Eleven artists created works based on his latest autobiography, “Adrenaline: My Untold Stories.” The collectibles were produced in collaboration with ArtsLife, Wrong Theory, and ARTN. Some of the collectibles are unique while there are also common editions. The unique NFT “GionnyScandal — Dear Hater” was sold for 20 ETH. The project is an interesting combination of artwork unrelated to the player and collectibles that represent Ibramhimović’s personality.

  • Chain: Ethereum
  • Mint Price: Auction
  • Launch: March 24, 2022
  • Use Case: Artwork

Alphonso Davies — Mystery Boxes

The FC Bayern Munich left-back sold his NFT collection on Binance.
The different NFTs you could get in the mystery box. Only one lucky winner could get the Platinum NFT (Source: binance.com)

The FC Bayern Munich left-back sold 50,000 NFTs via Binance in August 2021. The artwork was created by Jack Perkins and distributed via Mystery Boxes. Collectors had the chance to get a Silver (Edition size: 49,995), Gold (Edition size: 4) or Platinum NFT (Edition size: 1). The lucky winner of the Platinum NFT would get a pack of a Signed Video animation + Signed Still Illustration + meet & greet at a FC Bayern game + signed UEFA Champions League shirt. The boxes sold out which is not surprising since they were sold via Binance and at a cost of just 10 BUSD.

  • Chain: Binance Smart Chain
  • Mint Price: 10 BUSD
  • Launch: August 11, 2021
  • Use Case: Artwork + Rewards

Alphonso Davies is part of the HATTTRICKS Genesis drop. Find out more about HATTTRICKS, read this blog post.

Toni Kroos — “Iceman” Collection

The World cup champions and multiple UEFA Champions League winner has sold his mystery box on Binance.
Toni Kroos’ mystery box features an ice box (Source: binance.com)

Similar to Alphonso Davies, Toni Kroos has launched mystery boxes via Binance. The collection is inspired by different elements from his career including goal highlights, his nickname and jersey number. It’s worth mentioning that some revenue of the drop go towards his foundation and UN Refugees. While the original issue price was 80.00 BUSD, the floor price on the Binance marketplace dropped to only 5.00 USD.

  • Chain: Binance Smart Chain
  • Mint Price: 80 BUSD
  • Launch: March 31, 2022
  • Use Case: Collectible Card + Rewards + Charity Fundraising

Ludo Labs — Multiple players

Ludo Labs features players from different nationalities, backgrounds, clubs and stages in their career.
Eric Abidal as ancient emperor or Mohamed Elneny as knight. Ludo Labs creates PFPs of footballers (Source: https://ludolabs.io/)

The Ludo Labs project has brought together a line-up of current and former footballers including Bacary Sagna, Miralem Pjanić, Eric Abidal, Jeremiah St. Juste, Mohamed Elneny, Edin Dzeko, Patrice Evra, Mahmoud Dahoud, Diogo Dalot and Paulo Dybala. Just like many other projects, the NFTs minted at a price of 0.15 ETH each will unlock experiences, interactions and memorabilia directly from the footballers. The artworks feature stylized PFPs of the footballers.

  • Chain: Ethereum
  • Mint Price: 0.15 ETH
  • Launch: November 25th, 2021
  • Use Case: PFPs + Rewards

Ronaldinho — Multiple projects

While we see most of the players starting their first collaboration to create NFTs, Ronaldinho is involved in multiple projects.

INFLUXO Magic Series

Ronaldinho’s collectible cards made by INFLUXO.
Influxe Magic Series (Source: influxo.com)

The INFLUXO Series are six card collectibles that were originally sold for 299 USDT on the Influxo Marketplace. By collecting all 6 rare cards people got the chance to win a Dubai experience and received an airdrop of a 7th common card. On September 27, 2021, INFLUXO has minted 5,000 normal cards, but still hold them in their wallet.

  • Chain: Ethereum
  • Mint Price: 299 USDT
  • Launch: September 27, 2021
  • Use Case: Collectible Cards + Rewards

Dinhos

Dinhos are the PFP project by Shirtum featuring the Brazilian superstar.
Dinho NFTs on OpenSea (Source: opensea.io)

Ronaldinho has also been featured in a profile picture project (”PFP”) by Shirtum. The collection consist of 2,224 unique Dinhos that honor the most important moments of Ronaldinho’s life & career. We have seen sales higher than 1 ETH while the floor price is 0.04 ETH at the time writing this blog post. The collection has planned to sell 10,010 NFTs, but stopped the mint after 2,224.

  • Chain: Ethereum
  • Mint Price: 0.06 ETH
  • Launch: March 31, 2022
  • Use Case: PFP + Rewards

Baby Doge Coin

In April 2022, Ronaldinho announced on Twitter that he will collaborate with Baby Doge to launch an NFT collection. Baby Doge is one of the popular meme projects on the BNB chain with 1.3m followers on Twitter. It will be interesting how this partnership ties in with the NFT aspirations of the coin.

  • Chain: Ethereum
  • Mint Price: TBA
  • Launch: TBA
  • Use Case: TBA

Metasoccer

You will be able to buy the Ronaldinho NFT at Metasoccer and get him for your team.
Ronaldinho will be playable on Metasoccer (Source: metasoccer.com)

MetaSoccer is a play-to-earn football metaverse where the users can own and/or manage their own clubs. By owning a club the users main goal is to equip the club with the best personell e.g. players or scouts. Recently, they have announced a partnership with Ronaldinho. Fans that are interested in the drop, can sign up for the newsletter on the website.

  • Chain: Polygon
  • Mint Price: TBA
  • Launch: TBA
  • Use Case: Football manager game

NFT Projects with player involvement

Player get their hands dirty participating in some NFT projects and collections that are not about themselves. Sometimes, it’s not quite clear how these players are involved in the projects, if they only advise, promote or work on them.

Phil Jones — Red Lion Sports Club

Red Lion Sports club is a project by Phil Jones.
Source: https://redlionsportsclub.xyz/

Manchester United defender Phil Jones is working off the pitch on the Red Lion Sports Club (RLSC) which is supposed to be a futuristic sports club in the metaverse where athletes and fans can hang-out together, watch content, play games, and win awesome prizes. The collection of 4,444 algorithmically generated NFTs will be sold on May 20, 2022 for 2 SOL and will give access to all the experiences that they will build in the future. It’s not clear from the website how Phil Jones is exactly involved in the project, but his involvement certainly boosts the marketing and press exposure.

John Terry — Ape Kids Club

John Terry’s NFT project might cause a lawsuit since some of the NFTs depict trophies of the UEFA Champions League and the English Premier League.
Source: opensea.io

The Ape Kids Club is a project pushed on the social channels of John Terry, Ashley Cole, Tammy Abraham and Nigel de Jong. In the news, John Terry’s involvement was explained as a ‘partnership’ with the project. The NFT collection got in the news for all the wrong reasons as some illustrations featuring the leagues’ trophies violated trademark law. At launch, the NFTs were traded for an average price of 656 USD. On May 4, the floor price is 374 USD. Apart from the legal issue, English football players Tammy Abraham and Ashley Cole have since deleted their promotional posts.

Memphis Depay — Memphis Lions Club

Memphis Depay has announced the Memphisverse.

The FC Barcelona forward has on May 9th 2022 that he is building the Memphisverse around the Memphis Lions Club. The project can be currently only discovered on Discord which counts 1.280 members at the time of writing. The lion-inspired PFPs give a good idea of where this project is heading, too. The question remains what the Memphisverse will be, if it’s made for Memphis fans or a broader audience.

  • Chain: Solana
  • Mint Price: TBA
  • Launch: TBA
  • Use Case: PFPs & Metaverse

Paul Pogba — CryptoDragons

French world champion Paul Pogba has announced a partnership with CryptoDragons in November 2021. According to his tweet, this is the first time he’s getting into NFTs. Regardless of the promotion from the Manchester United midfielder, the project is currently traded for a floor price of 0.013 ETH on OpenSea and the public mint of Dragon eggs is still live with almost 7,000 eggs remaining.

  • Chain: Ethereum
  • Mint Price: starting at 1.5 ETH
  • Launch: October 2021
  • Use Case: Gamified PFPs & Metaverse

Brand Ambassadorships

While selling or clearly promoting NFTs about your persona always comes with a risk of getting perceived as a cash-grabbing project, brand ambassadorships with blue-chip projects are a safer place for footballers to benefit from their popularity. Here are some of the interesting companies with footballers signed as brand ambassadors:

Bruno Fernandes promotes the products of Realfevr.
Bruno Fernandes is the brand ambassador of RealFevr (Source: https://medium.com/the-call-up/bruno-fernandes-is-realfevrs-new-ambassador-bde2fa4fa997)

Football Players invested in NFTs

There are two types of investments: in companies building NFT projects and in NFTs themselves.

Investment in NFT companies

Even though a lot of investments are not publicly known, a lot of times, companies use them to create buzz in the media. If you want to find more about the companies featured here, check out our other blog post.

  • Oliver Bierhoff (DFB Manager), Gerard Pique (FC Barcelona), Rio Ferdinand (formely Manchester United) & André Schürrle (formerly FC Chelsea) have invested in Daily Fantasy Sports company Sorare.
  • Mario Götze (PSV Eindhoven) & André Schürrle have recently invested in FanCurve, a platform that is supposed to bring football and fashion together.
  • In addition to FanCurve, Mario Götze participated in the Series A of Freeverse.io, a Spanish startup focused on “NFT 2.0” which they describe as a way to engage with NFTs as living assets rather than static tokens that just lie around in your wallet.
  • Joshua Kimmich (FC Bayern Munich), Cesc Fàbregas (AS Monaco), Robert & Niko Kovač (formely FC Bayern Munich) have invested in The Football Club, a Munich-based company focusing on Daily Fantasy Sports enhanced with avatars and fashion.
  • Chris Smalling (Ex-Manchester United and England International Football Player) has participated in the $3.35M seed funding round of Footium.
  • GOALS, the Swedish startup that wants to push FIFA by EA Sports from the throne of football simulation games, has raised $15M to achieve exactly that. One of the angel investors is Gerard Pique.

Investment in NFTs

A lot of footballers have purchased NFTs and have been showing them off them across their social channels, mainly Twitter. It doesn’t come as a surprise that these footballers own NFTs from Bored Ape Yacht Club, one of the most prestigious projects out there. When checking out the wallets of these players, you will also find other NFTs like Nike’s RTFKT, Karafuru or smaller projects like LazyLions.

John Terry — Bored Ape Yacht Club & Mutant Ape Yacht Club

Former Chelsea FC player

Neymar Jr. — Bored Ape Yacht Club & Mutant Ape Yacht Club

Paris Saint-Germain forward

Reece James — Mutant Ape Yacht Club

FC Chelsea right-back

Memphis Depay — Bored Ape Yacht Club

FC Barcelona forward

Mario Götze — RTFKT, CloneX & Murakami.Flowers

World Cup Winner & PSV Eindhoven midfielder

Nigel de Jong — Karafuru & LazyLions

Dutch football player currently playing for Al-Ahli SC in Qatar

Football makes the same mistakes again — it’s time for defragmentation

In recent years, football live streaming rights have been unbundled and are shared between multiple platforms. For watching football in Germany, at least 3 different streaming services are needed to follow all the action of just one league. This development ultimately leads to frustrated fans who need to spend more money and carry out needless research on how to watch their favourite team play.

As you can see with the long list of projects by football players, everyone is jumping on the NFT hype, trying to benefit from it. And we don’t blame anyone because it’s a great opportunity and for the first time, players can create experiences without the club they play for.

The thing is… this doesn’t help football fans because they don’t know where to start. They listen to the football players they admire, but usually they understand something different to NFT-savvy people when they hear the word “wallet”, “utility” and “marketplace”. Especially when players can be found in multiple projects like Ronaldinho, it becomes very difficult for the fan to decide which project to join. And that in return results in unsuccessful projects like the INFLUXO Magic Series, Vinicius Jr., Sportemon Go or Zilstars.

Football fans will ultimately encounter different challenges and if there is too much of a hurdle, they will not join a project.

  1. Complexity: The NFT space can be highly complex, leaving users often with the question of not knowing how to start. And creating an account, called a wallet, on the blockchain can be an overwhelming process.
  2. Fragmentation: There is not a single platform that combines the different football digital collectible projects. Leaving the football fans not knowing where to start or where to follow their favourite football projects.
  3. Value: Fans are facing the question of what these NFT projects represent and what is in it for them. A clear path and an easy to understand value proposition for the NFT collections is key to attract football fans.

Solutions: Aera marketplace

Aera by OneFootball — football collectibles in one marketplace

Aera by OneFootball will be the number one marketplace for football NFTs and collectibles combining all clubs, leagues, federations and players.
The Aera marketplace will bring all the football clubs, leagues, federations and players together.

We at OneFootball aim to tackle the challenges fans currently face by building an easy-to-use, easy-to-understand NFT marketplace where fans around the world can unite to celebrate football. How? By focusing on access, building a single platform, and creating utility for fans.

There are many projects out there and following what your favourite football star is up to can demand a lot of research. With Aera we want to bring the world of digital collectibles and football together in one place, so fans can follow what is happening in a single platform. By working with the leaders in the football industry the Aera platform will connect our global community of fans with clubs, leagues, federations and players — all in one place.

To learn more about the vision of Aera, read this blog post.

HATTTRICKS — football players in one collection

The starting line-up include FC Bayern München’s Alphonso Davies, FC Barcelona’s Marc-André ter Stegen, FC Liverpool’s Sadio Mané, Inter Milan’s Robin Gosens and Manchester United’s Raphaël Varane.
The starting line-up of the HATTTRICKS collection

HATTTRICKS is a digital football collectible game currently in development which is officially licensed by the world’s best football players. The starting line-up include Alphonso Davies, Marc ter Stegen, Sadio Mané, Robin Gosens and Raphaël Varane. The first season will feature 30 football players from different backgrounds, leagues and nationalities becoming the go-to collection for football players. The collection focuses on the unique skill traits of players and combines that with a gamified collector experience that rewards fans with airdrops, football memorabilia and football experiences.

  • Chain: Flow
  • Mint Price: TBA
  • Launch: TBA
  • Use Case: Collectible Game & Rewards

Thanks for reading this blog post! Leave a comment below if you have any questions. Be sure to sign up for the Newsletter.

Please check out the other blog posts of this series:

About HATTTRICKS

HATTTRICKS (”TTT”) is a collection currently in development that will be launched exclusively on the Aera marketplace and is created by OneFootball Labs. The project is a fully licensed digital football collectible game, featuring world-class footballers.

About Aera by OneFootball

Aera is the NFT marketplace for football fans, a digital collectibles platform featuring the biggest clubs, leagues, federations and players in football. Built to make digital collectibles accessible to all, Aera is the home for football fans wanting to connect and share their passion in the digital space. When fans think about football NFTs, they should think about Aera. The Aera marketplace is built by OneFootball Labs

About OneFootball Labs

The OneFootball Labs joint venture is set to deliver a new era of football fan consumption, providing accessible, affordable, and unique fan experiences that will drive mass adoption of blockchain technology in football. These products will be offered at different price points to make them widely accessible and fans will also be able to purchase and store digital collectibles with just their email and a credit card. Animoca Brands, the company advancing digital property rights for gaming and the metaverse, OneFootball, the world’s largest football media platform, and Liberty City Ventures are part of the joint venture.

To join the project and community, connect with HATTTRICKS on Twitter, Instagram, Discord follow the Medium publications, or sign up for the newsletter on the website.

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Aera by OneFootball

Aera by OneFootball

The football NFT marketplace for fans and everyone who loves the game