DAZN’s Canelo NFTs Aim to Blend Gaming and Collectibles

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Sports streaming service DAZN is releasing its first NFTs in connection with the May 8 title fight between Canelo Alvarez and Billy Joe Saunders.

The collection combines two major sports business trends—digital collectibles and gamification. Prior to the bout, DAZN will be auctioning one “gold edition” NFT for each round of the fight. The owner of the NFT that corresponds to the round in which the bout ends will win an experience for two at a future Alvarez fight.

“Gamification is a major part of this for us,” DAZN executive vice president Joseph Markowski said in an interview. “Obviously lots of people are trying lots of different things here. For us, it’s not just about memorabilia, it’s about driving event promotion as well. By adding an element of gamification, we’re trying to create an ecosystem where fans have another reason to tune in.”

Most NFTs in the DAZN collection (there are 35 distinct designs) combine the digital asset with something non-digital, either in the form of tangible collectibles or future experiences. Though NBA Top Shot was the product that introduced many sports fans to the young NFT industry, the market is shifting toward this blend, wherein NFTs are both standalone digital objects and a delivery system for more commonplace giveaways.

In addition to the “gold” prediction NFTs, the company is selling 100 bronze NFTs for each round at a fixed price (0.2 Ether, or roughly $540). Holders of the bronze NFTs will win an annual DAZN subscription if the fight ends in their round.

Other items in the drop, which will be sold on the OpenSea marketplace, include one-of-one digital renderings of each fighter’s gloves, which come with an experience at the fighter’s next bout, plus a pair of autographed fight-worn gloves and a personalized video from the fighter. The full DAZN collection includes a variety of other NFTs, some sold at fixed prices, others to be auctioned off. Most come with other rewards of some kind.

The gathering of these items was made easier by DAZN’s billion-dollar partnership with Matchroom Boxing, the promoter for both Alvarez and Saunders. Being both the broadcaster and a partner on the promotion of both fighters makes it easier to get all parties on board with a coordinated plan and simpler to include prizes tied to future fights.

Markowski declined to comment on how much DAZN expected to net from the sales, but he said NFTs are part of a broader company strategy to expand beyond just live rights and original programming.

“We want to always innovate the fan experience,” he said. “Now, as a major part of my role, we’re looking at moving into new spaces, where we think we can create additional value to our consumers, and create more reasons for them to keep coming back to the platform. A part of that, on top of diversifying the user experience, is diversifying our revenue streams.”

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