French know-how and Serena Williams, how Sorare partnered with the NBA

The players keep repeating: “everything goes by too fast in football”. So when football mixes with emerging technologies, you can say we’re on an intergalactic highway where speed limit signs are quickly forgotten. Launched in 2019 by two Frenchmen (cocorico), Sorare relies on NFT technology to create an online game for exchanging sports badges. It all started with football. There is now also baseball, with the MLB (American League) and, soon, the NBA.

The French start-up on Wednesday announced the launch of a multi-year partnership with the mighty American Basketball League and the NBPA (NBA Players Association). “We are extremely proud to have signed this partnership”, explains 20 minutes Thibaut Predhomme, right-hand man of Nicolas Julia, one of the co-founders of Sorare. The NBA was an obvious choice for us, because the fan base is extremely loyal and committed, because there is already a trading card market and a lot of stats. »

Another step in Web 3 for the NBA

For the NBA, it’s also a logical continuation of their Web 3 “discovery.” In April, the American League launched NBAxNFT, which aims to bring together everything related to “Basketball with NFTs, games, the metaverse, and Web3 ideas,” reports A few days earlier, the Golden State Warriors had, in turn, created the responsive NFT Playoff 2022. “If they chose Sorare to accompany them in the continuation of this development, it is because we are recognized in this market”, salutes Thibaut Predhomme .

So how did this French start-up get this big deal? “Thanks to what we’ve done in football and baseball”, replies the one who introduces himself as the chief of staff in Sorare. And also thanks to the intervention of a certain Serena Williams, recruited as an advisor to the board of the Caixa. Suffice it to say that when the greatest tennis player of all time presents a project, you don’t need five minutes to come up with an answer.

Serena Williams as Matchmaker

“When we have Serena Williams as an advisor, she’s someone we trust to facilitate discussions with the NBPA and key NBA players because she brings us credibility as an athlete,” acknowledges Thibaut Predhomme. And that’s how the game, at the intersection between blockain-based charge cards and a form of gamification that is done through fantasy, will open up to the NBA.

Specifically, for users, there will be no major changes in the way of playing with the arrival of the NBA. All that’s left is to set the number of cards to form your team (5 in football, 7 in baseball). But neither the pace of NBA matches nor the disproportionate weight of stats in the League should get in the way of gameplay.

The basketball product will reuse the successes of the football product. But let’s adapt to the specifics of each sport. We adjust to ensure the product we create resonates with fans. This product will be led by the New York office, where we recruit local teams of sports experts, with many ESPN contributors, who will work to create the most relevant gameplay for basketball fans. . »

A new fan base

With this new partnership, Sorare hopes to recruit new followers. Today, the start-up claims two million users, thanks mainly to the 280 licenses signed with football clubs (those with Russia were suspended due to the war in Ukraine).

“Each time we add a license, we “unlock” a certain population of fans, who will be interested in the idea of ​​collecting clubs that join the platform,” concludes Thibaut Predhomme. When you add an entire league, with teams like Lakers, Knicks, or Warriors, you’re pretty confident that you’re going to unlock new fan bases. All that’s left is responsible play.

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