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Sorare is launching the beta for its NFT-based NBA fantasy basketball game played with digital collectible cards.
The Sorare: NBA Beta game is a big addition to Sorare’s lineup, which includes a Sorare: Major League Baseball game and soccer game, Sorare: Football, as well. Players can collect free cards or buy NFTs, or non-fungible tokens.
Fans will create and manage teams with NFTs representing NBA players. Then they can enter tournaments and see the results based on how players do in the real world. Players can start with free card, but they have the option to pay for NFT (non-fungible token) cards. They can keep playing with these cards and earn rewards or resell them on the marketplace for real money.
The game uses blockchain technology based on Ethereum and was first developed in 2018 by Nicolas Julia and Adrien Montfort in Paris. The partnerships with the NBA, MLB and multiple soccer leagues is why Sorare was able to raise $680 million on a $4.3 billion valuation in a deal with SoftBank last year.
“This is our third sport, alongside football and MLB. And we’re really excited about this sport, as securing the NBA was one of the top goals of the company from the day that I joined a year ago,” said Michael Meltzer, head of business development at Sorare, in an interview with GamesBeat. “Just given the star power of NBA players, it fits within the global nature of our product and international community that we have in over 185 countries.”
How to play
Like Sorare: MLB, Sorare: NBA has 5,000 Limited cards, 1,000 Rares, 100 Super Rares and 1 Unique. Players will fill their rosters and play as either Contender or Champion. Both competitions work within a points cap and require a five-player lineup. Each player card has a points value associated with them called the ten-game average. This ten-game average is what counts against the overall points cap in a competition. The points cap help makes the game fair for players.
“It’s there to create fairness,” Meltzer said.
The difference between Champion and Contender competitions is Champion competitions have an MVP. Managers will be able to select one player out of their five spots to designate as their “MVP.” MVP points do not count against the cap for Champion competitions.
“We’ve had a ton of respect for the NBA players who have been at the forefront of innovation and technology for a number of years,” he said. “We look at NFTs as a underlying technology, not a market. And so we think there are lots of different unique use cases and applications. Our fantasy sports entertainment product leverages blockchain to bring ownership to the game. And we think that’s completely different than anything that’s been on the market, particularly with the NBA, whether in Web three or elsewhere.”
Managers can only use a card once per game week and only use each player once in the same lineup — even if you have two of their cards. Players can enter competitions a couple of times a week: Monday through Thursday and Friday through Sunday.
The competition start 10 minutes before the first game in that window. Today, Common Contender and Common Champion competitions are available. This gives fans time to build their card collections ahead of other competition formats.
Sorare will continue to release more competitions that allow you to play with your newly purchased Limited, Rare, Super Rare and Unique cards in the weeks following our initial launch.
Every Sorare: NBA competition offers rewards in the form of new player cards — making each Game Week an opportunity to play and grow your collection.
Each competition provides the opportunity to win a reward, but the quality of that reward changes based on the competition and based on your team’s performance: the higher your score, the stronger the player you’ll win as a reward.
Similar to all Sorare products, a meaningful percentage of the card population is reserved for game rewards. As you play each Game Week, you have the opportunity to win cards and strengthen your team. And our target for the first season is to reserve up to 40% of our released cards as player rewards.
Sorare said it plans to create lots of surprise moments in the rewards experiences in both the Contender and Champion competitions. The company will ramp up special weekly competitions throughout the season to offer rewards like jerseys and tickets and other experiences, bridging the gap between fantasy and reality.
New card auctions on Sorare: NBA are no different than auctions on Sorare: Football or Sorare: MLB. New card auctions start at a floor price, have an expiration date and time, and are awarded to the highest bidder. There will be a higher volume of lower scarcity cards sold every day but players can expect to see each scarcity live on the marketplace every day. Auctions will end every couple of seconds to ensure regular supply and constant action.
To date, Sorare has more than two million users in 185 countries. Sorare established partnerships with 300 global soccer leagues and clubs so far. The company generated more than $325 million in sales in 2021 – a +3885% YoY growth compared to 2020. Total card transactions in the first half of 2022 grew more than seven times compared to a year earlier. Over the past six months, Sorare experienced +250% trading volume. That happened amid the NFT price crash.
Since launching in July, MLB has had 275,000 signups, including 35,000 in the week of September 22. The MLB game has seen more than $6 million in sales volume. About 85% of the MLB players are from outside the U.S.
Sorare has 130 employees and offices in both Paris and New York.
Meltzer said the company’s products aren’t necessarily targeted at crypto enthusiasts.
“Sorare is a sports and entertainment gaming product that leverages blockchain,” he said. “It has all of the benefits that come with blockchain, like scarcity, authenticity and portability. But at its core, we’re really just building another entertainment game.”
Players can purchase cards via credit cards without knowing that they’re holding a crypto asset.