Ahead of the Ballon d’Or 2022, L’Equipe will unveil its first NFT collection dedicated to the trophy on September 15. Emilie Montané, director of strategy and development for the group, explains to the JDN the ambition behind this project.
JDN. You announce a collection of NFT Ballon d’Or from September 15th. How will this project unfold?
Emilie Montane. There are four drops, the first of which will take place on September 15 during an auction: three NFTs will be published, this is the founding act to encourage other buyers to register on the whitelist for the following drops. These NFTs will be accompanied by utilities. The objective is to make the inaccessible accessible, we offer something that does not exist today. If you buy this NFT, everything will be taken care of: transport to Paris wherever you are, accommodation at the players’ hotel, the same transport as the players for the ceremony at the Châtelet theatre, the red carpet, the end cocktail… An exceptional experience that has never been offered today, for two people by NFT so in reality six people will be able to benefit from this enriched experience. The second will take place on October 17 and it is a world first: we will give all five Ballon d’Or winners their trophy in digital format, the twin of the physical trophy.
These NFTs are ultimately very exclusive. What is the offer for the general public?
On October 23, 2022 NFT Pyrite Fragments will be sold on our platform: we considered it a reasonable number, maybe not very ambitious but we wanted a well-controlled project. This drop will initially be open to people registered on the whitelist open from September 12 and if we were not sold out, it will be open to everyone on October 25. The Ballon d’Or community will gain access to exclusive information and will be nurtured throughout the year with exclusive behind-the-scenes games, news and videos. Beyond this common core, there will be additional utilities revealed in November. Finally, on November 8, on the occasion of the auction of photos from the L’Equipe fund, we will auction two artistic NFTs created by Léo Caillard, which will give access to the 2023 ceremony.
“The goal is to make the inaccessible accessible”
Why did the L’Equipe group choose the Ballon d’Or to discover Web3?
This project was naturally part of the strategy of diversifying our activities. We could explore this sector with other brands, but it’s true that the Ballon d’Or has a strong characteristic: it’s an international brand, extremely well known and already has a strong community, on which we wanted to capitalize and that we wanted to amplify and expand.
Do you think your audience is sensitive to this sector?
This is another objective of the project: to seek other targets than just Ballon d’Or fans or football fans, therefore crypto-natives and enthusiasts, to raise their awareness of this brand. There is also a desire to address a young target, which is why we respect the codes of Web3: we launched our discord (community platform, editor’s note) on August 31 and we have the ambition to respect with this project all the codes of Web3 and crypto. For people less initiated into this world, the objective is reversed: it is a question of showing them that this universe is accessible and we will guide them through a form of pedagogy so that they can enter this universe, themselves. too.
“We wanted to amplify and expand the Ballon d’Or community”
To graphically design these NFTs, you therefore chose Léo Caillard, known for his role in LCD Lab. Was it a natural choice? What can we expect from him?
I confess to you very humbly that we did not know Léo Caillard before our agency Doors Sport told us about him and we were very seduced by his work: he was originally a sculptor, he got into digital arts and he works in particular on ancient Greek statues, therefore around the body, sport, Olympism. There were very strong bridges between us and we were completely aligned on the creative concept. The ball as such is sacred, it’s the players’ trophy, we don’t touch it. On the other hand, it rests on a pyrite base, a rare ore and we thought that there was really a story to tell for the community to appropriate the Ballon d’Or, so all the variations of drop will be done around pyrite.
Why did you choose the Tezos blockchain for this project?
With our partner Doors, we assessed the pros and cons of working with each blockchain and we joined the Tezos project in the first place thanks to the excellent relations we had with Nomadic Labs (developers dedicated to Tezos, editor’s note). Also, the fact that this blockchain is carried by a foundation of which one of the creators is French (Arthur Breitman, editor’s note) and because it is today the most ecological of blockchains, that it is stable, proof-of-stake. The societal dimension of the project was important for the L’Equipe group. Thus part of the profits will be donated to Fondaction L’Equipe, the group’s solidarity structure.
“Launching on our own platform rather than OpenSea shows the ambition of the group”
Many NFT projects fall under the marketing opportunity. Is it a sustainable and relevant project for the group?
Clearly, we have the humility to tell ourselves that it’s a world we don’t know, although we cultivate ourselves, and that’s another of the strong elements of this project: it allows us to learn a new trade. Discord was not a social network where we were so far. We are there today and we are very happy with this experience and if this operation were to be a success, which we hope, we have the ambition to continue. There is obviously a part of marketing but it is important to say that we are really working on the community aspect: the Ballon d’Or, you have to imagine that it is an annual ceremony which lasts one evening and in reality, we think this foray into Web3 will help us talk about the Ballon d’Or to our community all year round.
L’Equipe is Amaury, also owner of the Tour de France brand. Does this Ballon d’Or experience call for others?
The experience that can guide you in your thinking is the fact that we preferred to launch on our own platform rather than being on a third-party marketplace. We don’t go to OpenSea to find our NFTs, the platform is nft.ballondor.com. It shows a little the ambition of the group: in the future, this project could be followed with other brands which would come to feed this platform. There are project levels of different maturity, I don’t know exactly what the group will decide, but what is certain is that we have stored up a know-how that we will be delighted to share with them at the moment. where they decide to go.
Former head and legal director of NBC Universal, Emilie Montane then evolved within the French Tennis Federation, where she notably led the marketing of the broadcasting rights of Roland-Garros and the Rolex Paris Master and the production of live content. She joined the L’Equipe group in January 2022.
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Emilie Montané (L’Equipe): “With its NFT Ballon d’Or, L’Equipe will offer something new”
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