Lionel Messi, the soccer star, is set to join Sorare, a French NFT trading game, as both an investor and a brand ambassador.
On Wednesday, Sorare announced that Messi will help it to come up with new standards on how fans connect with players and clubs. He will also help in creating fan experiences and new content. Messi is an Argentinian who plays for the French club Paris Saint-Germain.
Sorare announced that Messi has taken an equity stake in the company without expanding his company holding. Sorare CEO and co-founder, Nicolas Julia, said that the partnership between Sorare and Messi is a “huge milestone” for the company.
Writing to CNBC, a popular news site, via email, Julia said, “We believe Messi will help us set new standards in how we do this, and we look forward to sharing what new content and fan experiences we’ve been collaborating on soon.”
Sorare allows teams to trade digital player cards and manage fantasy soccer tournament teams of five. The digital player cards are NFTs (Non-Fungible Tokens), which are digital assets that represent ownership and are stored on the blockchain. Having the cards as NFTs creates “digital scarcity.”
Sorare is a startup based in Paris with over 2 million users from over 185 countries. Sorare is estimated to be worth $4.3 billion and it has partnered with more than 300 sports teams and leagues such as the Bundesliga of Germany and La Liga of Spain. Recently, Sorare expanded from its core area of soccer into other sports such as baseball and basketball.
“Fans have always looked for ways to express their passion and get closer to the players and teams that they love and Sorare’s combination of a fantasy game with digital collectibles gives fans new ways to do that, wherever they are in the world,” Messi stated on Wednesday.
The partnership between Messi and Sorare joins the list of other partnerships between cryptocurrency platforms and sports stars. Serena Williams, an American tennis legend, and Kylian Mbappe, the French soccer player, have previously announced their connections with Sorare. Tom Brady, an American football quarterback, has also taken a stake in FTX, a crypto exchange, which is currently facing a liquidity crisis.
Previously, Messi agreed to be paid part of his salary in $PSG fan tokens, a cryptocurrency owned by the blockchain sports platform Socios for Paris Saint-Germain, during his two-year contract with the club. However, the value of the crypto tokens has dropped by 86% since the August 2021 all-time high after Messi announced his partnership with the platform.
“There has been a lot of hype around different football projects using non-fungible technology up to now, but the ones that stick around will be those that offer real underlying utility and see non-fungible technology as the means to achieving their goals, not the ends,” said Julia.
Messi also partnered with Socios in a three-year partnership in March to be the global brand ambassador for the company.