London-based blockchain-based fantasy soccer game Sorare has raised $680 million in a funding round led by SoftBank, which is also investing in players including former England international Rio Ferdinand and Spain’s Gerard Pique, the company said on Tuesday.
Paris-based Sorare said the company’s investment was valued at $4.3 billion.
Founded in 2018, Sorare is an online game where players buy officially licensed cards representing football players and form teams that play against each other based on players’ performances in real-life games.
Cards are traded as non-fungible tokens (NFTs), a type of crypto asset that records the ownership status of digital goods on a blockchain.
The market for NFTs has seen explosive growth in 2021, with collectibles and sports-related tokens being the most popular types.
“We think NFTs represent a new paradigm in collectibles, usability and engagement with assets,” Michelle Combs, president of SoftBank Group International, said in emailed comments.
“This evolution from physical assets to digital assets is very powerful, and creates a lot of exciting potential business models.”
Sorare is the largest sports-based NFT platform by sales volume, according to NonFungible.com, a website that tracks NFT market data. It plans to open an office in the United States and expand into sports other than soccer.
Nicolas Julia, CEO and Co-Founder of Sorare, said, “We saw what blockchain and NFTs bring to football to unlock a new way for clubs, footballers and their fans to experience a deeper connection with each other. “
“We believe this is a great opportunity to build the next sports entertainment giant.”
Since January 2021, there have been $150 million in sales on Sorare, which accepts payments via credit cards and the cryptocurrency Ether. The most expensive unique card belongs to Cristiano Ronaldo, which was purchased on March 13 for 245,072 euros (287,420.44).
The fundraising round was SoftBank’s first investment in Sorare through its SoftBank Vision Fund 2.
SoftBank’s Latin America Fund also contributed, which Combs said was because SoftBank could use its ties with US and Latin American soccer leagues and its investment in broadcaster Televisa-Univision to grow Sorare’s user base.
This isn’t SoftBank’s first foray into NFTs: it led an investment in NFT marketplace OpenC in July, and in March it invested in decentralized finance platform Juggernaut.
Other investors in Sorare’s growth include: venture capital firms Accel and Bessemer Ventures as well as football players Pique, Ferdinand, Antoine Griezmann of France and Cesar Azpilicueta of Spain.
($1 = 0.8527 Euro)
by elizabeth hawkroft
This News Originally From – The Epoch Times