DraftKings announced an expansion of its partnership with the UFC on June 10, which will release an expanded collection of UFC-themed NFTs later this year. Under the updated agreement, DraftKings Marketplace will release over 500 unique fighter NFTs based on the active UFC roster.
The DraftKings collection will have NFTs with a variety of scarcity and will include entry-level NFTs. The goal is to tailor the experience to all levels of collectors.
The gamified system of NFT trading allows fans to build collections of athletes that are used in games to compete for prizes, as well as trade with other collectors. The gamification has expanded since the initial vision in 2021. The Reignmakers UFC game now includes the opportunity for “missions, achievements, level-ups, leaderboards, and other underlying game mechanics.” Collectors will have the chance to win cash and custom merchandise, according to the press release.
Why DraftKings is Betting on NFTs
The sports betting giant focused on NFTs during its annual earnings call in February 2022, saying that there was a growing attention towards that portion of the company. In the same call, leadership explained that the results of a 2021 test encouraged the company to release a series of exclusive NFL player NFTs during the 2022-23 season.
Beth Beiriger, SVP of product operations for DraftKings Marketplace, said in the announcement about the NFL release, “The future of the fandom is unfolding in front of us, and few organizations beyond DraftKings are as equipped to capitalize on the increasing intersection between sports and NFTs that will be the cornerstones of engagement and entertainment within Web3.”
The company is hoping that as more bettors become familiar with NFTs and cryptocurrencies, they will want to have the opportunity to be involved with NFTs of their favorite athletes.
Stock on the Rise
It appears that investors are also willing to take that leap. After the announcement of the expanded partnership, DraftKings’ stock went up 5%. While the company’s stock is still down from the market swing earlier this year, the company appears to be picking up ground with those who are willing to make a bet on the future of the company.