Warriors become first pro team to launch NFT collection by auctioning unique rings, tickets

The Golden State Warriors are the first professional sports team to release an NFT (non-fungible token) collection, a set of unique digital assets that cannot be replicated.

"NFTs have been around now for years but have really started to take off in the last six to eight months," Warriors president and CEO Brandon Schneider told Yahoo Finance. "We are constantly thinking about new ways to engage our fans and clearly being where we are in the Bay Area from a technology standpoint, as the world continues to digitize in a certain way we thought this is something we've been looking at."

The team was also interested in the space after seeing NBA's success with Top Shot, an online marketplace where fans can buy unique, officially digitized video moments from the league. The NBA has made around $500 million in sales from Top Shot since launching last fall, per ESPN.

Warriors NFT collection of rings, tickets

Players from the 1975 Golden State Warriors show their championship rings after a news conference about the 40th anniversary of their championship before an NBA basketball game between the Warriors and the Washington Wizards in Oakland, Calif., Monday, March 23, 2015. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
Players from the 1975 Golden State Warriors show their championship rings in 2015. The team is offering specially designed championship rings as part of its NFT collection. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

The Warriors NFT collection that went live Tuesday on the OpenSea platform consists of championship rings and ticket stubs from iconic games.

"We tried to create things that you can't own the physical thing, but you can own the NFT," Schneider said.

There are 10 different ticket stubs dating back to 1947 when the Philadelphia Warriors won the league's inaugural championship. Ticket stubs from the 1956 and 1975 championships are also up for auction.

"These are things that even if somebody still has the ticket stub from back then, it's probably just a little piece of paper," Schneider told Yahoo Finance. "We worked with Black Madre, a really famous artist, to create really cool, creative ticket stubs and there's only 10 of each one."

There are rings for auction of each NBA championship, with the number of editions available ranging from 25 to 50.

There is a special "1-of-1" six-time NBA championship ring designed by Jason of Beverly Hills that incorporates pieces of all six real life rings. And a "1-of-1" Golden Ticket commemorating the franchise's 75-year history. There are only one of each and will bundled with in-person opportunities. They include a Warrior-for-a-day experience, courtside tickets, and a ring ceremony.

Proceeds to benefit educational foundation

A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Warriors Community Foundation, an organization that promotes educational equity in the area. It has granted more than $22 million since its inception in 2012, the team said.

Schneider said the team usually holds a poker tournament as a fundraiser for the foundation, but were unable to this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. He told Yahoo Finance the team hopes the proceeds will help cover those losses so the contribution doesn't dip.

Superstar tight end Rob Gronkowski was the first NFL player to get in on the Top Shot craze when he launched an exclusive collection of five trading card designs on OpenSea last month. Those cards were also designed by Black Madre and brought in $1.2 million within a week.

OpenSea is the largest NFT marketplace and only accepts the cryptocurrency called Ether.

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