The National Rugby League launches into NFTs

The NRL hopes in particular to rejuvenate its fan base, while generating new revenue.

After Toulouse, Stade Français and Toulon, the National Rugby League (LNR) is turning to NFTs with a call for tenders that aims to increase and rejuvenate the Top 14 and Pro D2 fan base while generating new income.

“We are the first league in France, in team sports, to embark on such an approach”, explains to AFP the director general of the LNR, Emmanuel Eschalier.

“We are in a process of innovation. Rugby turned professional quite late but it has always been in such a process, whether in terms of refereeing or the use of technology”, he adds. “It’s a new form of innovation in a new area that will become increasingly important.”

According to this call for tenders, which covers three seasons from 2022-2023 to 2024-2025, three lots are on sale. The first includes the NFT cards of the thirty Top 14 clubs and Pro D2. Like the cards to be exchanged and collected for children, cards of 1,466 players (1,072 pros and 394 hopefuls), more or less stylized, more or less expensive, will be put on sale.

In Batch 2 are collectible video moments. From the 1998-1999 season and the birth of the LNR, fans will be able to buy sequences of archive images from the Top 14 and the Pro D2. That is more than 5,000 matches. Finally, the third batch will allow the various market players to freely make proposals for, for example, recovering unique products from the LNR.

Like the NBA or the Premier League

“This third batch is quite open since it will allow candidates to offer other types of NFT on assets specific to the LNR”, specifies Emmanuel Eschalier.

As a reminder, an NFT, “non-fungible token” or “non-fungible token” in French, is a virtual object. A tamper-proof digital certificate of authenticity that attests to ownership of a digital asset (video, image, etc.).

In February 2022, the Premier League, the English football championship, launched a four-year licensing agreement, in particular to develop collections of collectible cards in NFT for an estimated value of winnings between 260 and 513 million euros. .

The NBA was one of the pioneers by forging a partnership in July 2021 with the Dapper Labs studio to collect, exchange and own iconic moments in the history of the powerful North American basketball league. Then a few months later by partnering with Coinbase on cryptocurrency.

“Concerning the economic model dimension and the revenues that could be generated by this new offer, it is totally premature to anticipate or speculate”, notes Emmanuel Eschalier.

“We must first be relevant in what is offered. Then we will see the fallout, but our primary motivation is not financial, even if there is obviously an economic dimension and the ambition that this offer generates income” , still assures the DG of the LNR.

This is not the first time that NFT and French rugby have crossed paths: many clubs (Toulouse, Toulon, Stade Français, Pau…) and players (Antoine Dupont, Vincent Clerc…) have already signed up with NFT platforms. “Several market players have expressed an interest: either reference players already strongly established, or players entering the market or planning to enter it. We risk having quite varied offers”, considers Eschalier.

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The National Rugby League launches into NFTs


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