Sorare: Soccer Next Big Opportunity for NFTs?

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What will a $50 million investment bring to Sorare?

Despite all the hype surrounding NFTs, the news that fantasy soccer game Sorare has raised a $50 million investment is still surprising. After all, Sorare raised $4.3 million in December and $4 million in September 2020. 

But the time to raise more money is whenever people are offering you more money. And given Dapper Labs’ similar basketball NFT project NBA Top Shot has now broken the $250 million total in life-time trading, sports NFT dapps are now extremely valuable. 

Clearly, the value offered by Sorare in the post-NBA Top Shot world is that soccer is watched by more people than basketball, plus Sorare has already signed club and player licenses with most of the important soccer leagues. It’s been operating since 2019.

During that time it has generated some decent numbers; life-time trading volume is almost $15 million, from over 6,500 Ethereum wallets. 

Its most expensive NFTs are also fairly impressive with multiple cards from star players such as Kylian Mbappe and Bruno Fernandes selling on the in-game marketplace for over $60,000. To-date, the most expensive sale has been a 2020-2021 season super rare (1 of 10) card of Mbappe, which sold for $85,160.

Big news

News of the investment has already had an impact with the game’s average daily active unique wallets, which jumped from under 100 in January to over 300 in late February.

This is a small number but because Sorare’s management gameplay happens off-chain, the activity DappRadar tracks is purely on-chain NFT trading between players. 

It’s also worth pointing out that anyone can play the game for free. When you sign up, you’re given five common cards to try out the game. Again these are off-chain assets which can’t be traded and hence have no value.

If you enjoy Sorare, you’ll then have to buy some cards ranked rare (maximum of 100 per season), super rate (max 10) or unique (only 1). This can be done, either from the marketplace or via auction direct from the developer itself during its weekly card sale events.

Because Sorare runs on the Ethereum blockchain, NFTs are bought and traded using the ETH cryptocurrency. You can deposit this directly into the game’s wallet or purchase it using the Ramp payment system using a credit card or bank transfer. 

The current game mode – called SO5 – sees you selecting a team of five cards and entering them into a league, which runs twice a week. 

The players whose teams rank at the top of the leaderboard thanks to the combination of their cards’ underlying stats and the real-world performance of the soccer players during the time period win additional rare cards or ETH cryptocurrency. 

Players can enter as many teams into as many leagues as they want to, but the better the rewards, the higher level – and more expensive – cards are required. 

A good investment?

Of course, some players are now hoping that the interest around Sorare in particular and NFTs more generally will see the underlying prices of these NFT cards increasing. 

That seems logical but given Sorare hasn’t yet signed a deal with the UK Premier League, which is the most popular league in the world, it’s hard to predict how adding these clubs – Manchester United, Chelsea etc – and their players – Paul Pogba, Harry Kane, Jamie Vardy etc – will affect the current pricing structure. 

No doubt, some of Sorare’s $50 million investment will be spent speeding up this deal. Note, Sorare has signed individual deals with West Ham and Liverpool so their players are already available in the game. 

As for what Sorare will be spending the remainder of its investment money on, it’s extremely keen to get its browser game live as a mobile app.  

That process will be an interesting one to watch as mobile gaming has an audience of billions but Apple and Google don’t (yet) allow blockchain payment systems on apps distributed through their app stores.

Still, even without this, it seems clear that thanks to its firm foundations, Sorare is going to ride the NFT wave for the rest of 2021. 

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