DraftKings Links NFTs to Betting Products in Web3 Push

Sports betting company unveils first collection in “Primetime NFT Series” around March Madness basketball

article-image

Source: Shutterstock

share

key takeaways

  • Sports will be a main driver for blockchain adoption, and digital collectibles are an important part of that process, DraftKings exec says
  • The company is paying close attention to the blockchain gaming space as play-to-earn models gain momentum

DraftKings is launching its first NFT collection developed in-house, Blockworks has learned, as the company expects sports to be a mainstream driver for blockchain adoption.

The Boston-based sports betting company is launching the NFT (non-fungible token) series in time for the NCAA’s college basketball tournament, which tips off Tuesday and runs through April 4. 

“Few times on the sports calendar can match the drama and spectacle of March’s college basketball tournament, which is why we chose this month-long event to initiate this new digital collectibles program,” DraftKings co-founder Matt Kalish said.

The 2022 College Hoops Collection is the first within a planned Primetime NFT Series that will drop around other major sporting events. Beth Beiriger, DraftKings’ senior vice president of marketplace operations, told Blockworks that the company could launch future NFT collections alongside the NBA Playoffs and the Super Bowl.

The launch comes after DraftKings unveiled last August its digital collectibles marketplace, which offers curated NFT drops and supports secondary-market transactions. It announced at the time that it would be the exclusive distributor of sports-related NFT content from NFT platform Autograph. 

Beiriger said that the new NFT series marks the first time the company is connecting digital collectibles to its legacy products. The 2022 College Hoops Collection NFT holders will be eligible to receive DraftKings site credit to place bets and enter pools, brackets and contests across its sportsbook and daily fantasy offerings.

Collectors holding all eight NFTs within the collection will receive a ninth NFT after the NCAA championship game that will give them early access to the next Primetime NFT Series drop.

“We see sports as a mainstream driver for blockchain adoption, and digital collectibles are an important part of that early onboarding process,” Beiriger told Blockworks.

“Between cashless concessions within stadiums, online ticketing and much more today, consumers have already been conditioned for the ongoing digitization of sports as NFTs further advance this trend,” she added.

The company is also paying close attention to the blockchain gaming space as play-to-earn models gain momentum, Beiriger said.

The company expects to debut an NFT-based fantasy game ahead of the next NFL season. An agreement with the NFL Players Association grants DraftKings licensing rights for the league’s active players.

Polygon partnership

DraftKings also announced last week that it was partnering with infrastructure platform Zero Hash to stake digital assets it holds in its treasury to support the Polygon (MATIC) blockchain network. The news builds upon the company’s previously disclosed partnership with Polygon.

“As a validator, DraftKings will become an even more active participant in the Polygon ecosystem, playing a critical role in guaranteeing the integrity of the blockchain and securing the network,” Polygon Co-Founder Sandeep Nailwal said.

Drafting Web3 talent

Amid the crypto initiatives and plans, the company is seeking to onboard talent within the space, job postings indicate. 

DraftKings is seeking a senior Web3 engineer for its NFT marketplace, for example, that will help the company “build and expand our blockchain infrastructure to ensure the scalability and availability of the entire platform,” according to its website.

The company is also looking for a fraud specialist to work on investigations related to cryptocurrency, blockchain and the NFT marketplace, as well as ensure compliance with anti-money laundering regulations. 

Though the company has made moves to directly onboard blockchain, crypto and NFT experts, such as through its acquisition of Scarcity Labs last year, it is scouring all industries for people who can help DraftKings grow. 

“The crypto space is still so nascent and rapidly growing that we do not want to miss out on premier talent by focusing solely on crypto natives,” Beiriger said.

“Just as we want to onboard customers through mainstream accessibility, we want to attract a diverse talent pool from a range of native professional backgrounds or transferable skill sets.”


Don’t miss the next big story – join our free daily newsletter.

Tags

Upcoming Events

Hilton Metropole | 225 Edgware Rd, London

Mon - Wed, March 18 - 20, 2024

Crypto’s premier institutional conference returns to London in March 2024. The DAS: London Experience: Attend expert-led panel discussions and fireside chats Hear the latest developments regarding the crypto and digital asset regulatory environment directly from policymakers and experts.

Salt Lake City, UT

WED - FRI, OCTOBER 9 - 11, 2024

Pack your bags, anon — we’re heading west! Join us in the beautiful Salt Lake City for the third installment of Permissionless. Come for the alpha, stay for the fresh air. Permissionless III promises unforgettable panels, killer networking opportunities, and mountains […]

recent research

Research report - cover graphics (1).jpg

Research

In this report, we dive into crypto private market data to gather insights on where the future of the industry is headed. Despite a notable downturn in private raises, capital continues to infuse promising projects that aim to transform payments, banking, consumer experiences, community, and more, with 2023 being the fourth-largest year for crypto venture capital.

article-image

Sponsored

Season 6 boasts a prize pool of up to $650,000, featuring $500,000 in TRX for regular prizes and $150,000 in energy prizes

article-image

Solana’s token extensions enables developers to build complex token interactions

It seems we’ve just traded scam accounts that pretend to be Musk for scam accounts that act like crypto industry leaders

article-image

Whether intentional or not, it’s clear that some newly proposed legislation could crush any incentive for the free market to create new crypto advancements

article-image

A proposal to allow venture firms to own cryptoassets, first put forward last year, moves closer to law

article-image

Plus, crypto secured $1.9 billion in funding last quarter and Ripple acquires a custody provider