What pushes value and what drives demand?
How to value the cards for the fantasy football game Sorare and how to value these NFTs? Football, the version Americans refer to as soccer, is the most popular sport in the world, played and enjoyed by billions. Therefore we shouldn’t be surprised that fantasy football dapp Sorare gathered plenty of attention recently. It’s now the 4th most popular dapp in the NFT market according to DappRadar.
Sorare is a fantasy football game built on the Ethereum blockchain, where users can trade players, enter tournaments and compete for thousands of dollars in prizes every single week. Over the last couple of months, interest has increased tremendously according to Google Trends. Furthermore, in March the platform generated more than $11 million in transaction volume, indicating this will be their best month yet.
In Sorare, users can find player cards, based on real players and the teams they play for and each card has its own value for a variety of reasons. The valuation of these collectibles is quite challenging and within this overview, we will analyze key elements that shape the value of these fantasy football cards. The importance of scarcity, player awareness, player age, player potential, injuries, and card utility is being considered in our analysis.
Table of contents
- 11 million in transaction volume
- Scarcity key when valuing NFT cards
- Well-known players lead the pack
- Age matters: looking for gems
- Past performance versus future potential
- Injuries can mean “game over” for card value
- Future earnings potential
- Special cards
- The road ahead
11 million in transaction volume
By the end of February 2021, Sorare experienced an incredible peak in activity recording enormous growth in unique active wallets and transaction volumes. The dapp generated transaction volumes of $11 million and unique active wallets increased by 268% from 100 in January to more than 400 at the end of February.
Having said that, in the first sixteen days of March 2021 Sorare reached $11 million in transaction volume. This indicates further growth for the platform, as it generates more traction with its audience. Furthermore, recent NFT sales within the project also look promising. For instance, in March, a Kylian Mbappé card was sold for $85,000.
The value of Sorare cards can be very diverse as each card has its own attributes. The most important attributes in terms of value are scarcity, player awareness, player age, injuries, player potential, and card utility.
Scarcity key when valuing NFT cards
Similar to other NFTs, Sorare cards have different scarcity levels. For the 2020-21 season, three levels of scarcity exist for each player card: Unique, Super Rare (10 copies), and Rare (100 copies). In addition, there is an unlimited number of common cards, but these aren’t tradeable and therefore don’t have any value.
The floor price of rare cards is around $40 right now, while the cheapest super rare cards are around $260 according to the Sorare marketplace. On the other hand, unique cards have a floor price of $4,400 which is 17 times higher than rare cards. Without a doubt, scarcity is a key element for the pricing of these cards.
Although half of the top sales above $30,000 belong to unique cards. Four of the top sales were for super rare and four for rare cards. This suggests strongly that scarcity isn’t the only important aspect when valuing a player card and that the players themselves are crucial in the actual valuation.
Well-known players lead the pack
As noted above, the popularity of football as a sport has certainly helped Sorare to grow. With the real football leagues being flooded with young talent, like for example Kylian Mbappé and Moise Kean, fans are exhibiting a new surge of interest in the game.
Undoubtedly, the popularity of the player plays an important role in pricing Sorare digital collectibles. For instance, Robert Lewandowski, Mbappé, Neymar, and Cristiano Ronaldo are football superstars with large fan bases, and that’s reflected in the pricing of their cards.
With a price of 116 ETH, the unique card of Kylian Mbappé has been the most valuable card on Sorare since November 30th, 2020. More recently a super rare card of the same player sold for 58.5 ETH, and a rare Mbappé for 22 ETH.
In general, there are two key trends spotted in terms of player awareness. The first, and most important are the best performing football players. Secondly, the most prospective young players to look for. The second metric might also allow purchasers the biggest chance of benefiting from an increased value in the future.
Age matters: looking for gems
The player’s age is an important element while valuing the cards. Young players in this game have huge potential. Although some of the players might not be playing regularly at the moment, they might shine in the future. These young players could grow in value significantly. However, there’s also lots of speculation happening on Sorare, where collectors and players play premium fees for football talents between the age of 16 and 18 years old. These cards could become valuable rookie cards in the future.
The older players might not carry the value in the years to come, especially when we talk about average football players. Only world-class players, such as Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, and Zlatan Ibrahimovic might retain value in the future as a collectible. We’re already seeing that with the collectability of coach cards, like Zinedine Zidane, and the cards of football legend David Beckham.
Past performance versus future potential
There are multiple sites that provide statistics of the player’s performance for their respective teams, the recent transfer of players, and any other key statistics. This type of data might provide additional insight into how the value of the card might change over time.
For instance, last market value changes might indicate important movements amongst younger players. New contracts, recent performances on the pitch, or loan periods might increase the player’s real-world potential, and with it the value of their cards.
Each investor should be aware of this data in order to get an idea about the player card they want to acquire. Not only does Sorare tap into real-world football data for its fantasy football leagues, but real-world events also have a strong correlation with card prices. For instance, David Alaba dropped in value at the end of last year, but after an announcement about his future in February the card increased in value again. The rare card of Alaba actually doubled in value again.
Needless to say for those out there with a keen eye on football already, the process of investing in valuable cards should appear quite logical and straightforward. For those not into football at all, you’re looking for the best players and the ones that might become the best in the future based on their performances now or purely on speculation.
Sorare offers players from a wide variety of competitions. Players that are currently active in Belgium or The Netherlands, might soon be the next stars of Real Madrid or FC Barcelona.
Injuries can mean “game over” for card value
However, real-world events aren’t only about success and glory, as injuries also have an important role in pricing cards. Players who are injured, can’t play and therefore serve no purpose in the fantasy football game. Serious injuries can have a serious effect on card pricing.
Without a doubt, the effect on the price will vary depending on how serious the injury is. If the player is out only for a couple of months, the effect on the value is barely noticeable. The longer the player is sitting on the bench, the more it has a negative effect on the price of a card. For instance, knee surgery for Philippe Sandler with unplanned recovery time had serious negative effects on Sorare rare card value.
On the other hand, the popularity of the player might reduce the injury effect. For instance, despite the health issues of Liverpool defender Joe Gomez, the price of the cards has seen an upward trend. The player was injured back in October 2020, while he plans to return by June 2021. Despite his absence, the price of his cards started to increase recently as positive updates about his recovery made the news.
Future earnings potential
Participating in tournaments might be an additional element motivating to buy cards of certain players. In order to be eligible for the prize, at least 5 cards should be collected. There are common, rare, super rare, and unique card tournaments and the rewards increase by scarcity level. For these tournaments you need specific cards with a certain rarity.
Tournaments have certain entry requirements. The lowest division only allows rare and super rare cards. The more players climb the ladder, the more super rare or even unique cards they will need. However, it’s not required to move into a higher division. Sorare gives everybody the opportunity to be active in the division they want to be active in.
Buying the expensive super rare cards gives users access to potentially bigger prizes. For instance, tournaments for super rare cards can offer prizes up to $1,800. At the same time, participation in a tournament for rare cards has a maximum reward that’s at least two times lower than the super rare tournament.
In addition, there are tournaments for different types of players, for example, one for players of European teams, but there are also ones for players from American and Asian teams. Someone who wants to compete in these tournaments needs to have the right players to do so.
Sorare even sets up niche competitions that allow player cards from footballers 30 years or older, have the same nationality or are playing at certain clubs. That’s why it also makes sense for collectors and fantasy football players to have a wide range of player cards at their disposal.
Sorare isn’t only about fantasy football, but also about collecting and owning legendary cards. For example, there are coach cards of Zinedine Zidane and Diego Maradona. These cards have no utility on the platform. Yet, the price of the Diego Maradona coach card skyrocketed when he passed away last year. This indicates that Sorare is more than just a game, as it’s also about sports history.
The platform realizes this as well. They’ve been issuing a variety of special designer cards. Football players who are active on Sorare and have their identity confirmed, receive a special signed player card. So far Japanese defender Daigo Nishi from Vissel Kobe, Dutch forward Siem de Jong from SC Heerenveen, and Ajax’s Daley Blind have their own playing cards. Most likely these cards will become very wanted in the future as more players join.
In addition, the platform has issued specially designed player of the year cards. There are also the David Beckham legend cards, Special Weekly rewards, and Early Ambassador cards. These cards don’t function any differently from other cards as long as the player is still active. However, they do add an extra layer of collectability, and with it value.
The road ahead
Sorare is seeing lots of growth in terms of its transaction volumes and unique active wallets. These movements suggest the dapp might face even bigger growth in the future, because – as they put it – they haven’t even started their marketing campaigns yet. These future developments will definitely be reflected in the value of cards.
Importantly, despite the extended usage recently, Sorare cards might still be very underrated. Comparing Sorare with NBA Top Shot, we spot that the latter generates way more activity in terms of transaction volume and unique active wallet. While looking into the potential user base, football has the largest audiences worldwide. If and when Sorare gets picked up by the masses, demand might drastically increase the value of the cards. This value increase will especially be noticed in super rare and unique cards, which have a lot smaller supply compared with rare cards.
When you want to play Sorare and you want to get started as cheaply as possible, find players that play every match. In addition, they shouldn’t be injured a lot, and obviously, we should not be talking about world-famous superstars. Because these superstars come with a premium price tag. Playing a lot and not having lots of injuries, are good first steps.
In order to professionalize your Sorare playing style, it’s important to follow real-world activity. COVID infections, injuries, and even a snow storm could influence the score of your team. Investing time in learning about upcoming youngsters makes sense, while staying up-to-date with the latest transfer rumors could give you a benefit on the open market.
- Sorare sees 45% volume increase in 24 hours (March 2021)
- Live dapp data from Sorare on DappRadar
- See your own NFT portfolio or those of others