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The non-fungible token (NFT) collaboration, as well as sticker and trading card licensing, will generate €170 million ($179 million) for the German football league Bundesliga in the 2023–2024 season. The revenue is more than four times the value of the rights for the current season.
The league is involved in three separate initiatives. TOPS, which has had official licensing rights on Bundesliga physical trading cards since 2008, has renewed its NFT rights for the 2020/21 season. Rarely extended its fantasy football partnership until 2025 with the NFT of Bundesliga players initially signed in 2021. In addition, OneFootball acquired the rights to a digital trading card set as well as video-based NFTs of Bundesliga highlights.
Although OneFootball was previously a Bundesliga media partner, it is the only new collectibles partner.
The total revenue of the Bundesliga has declined by around €400 million during the 2020 and 2021 seasons, most likely due to the pandemic. Additional cash from NFTs and collectibles is important to the league’s clubs, especially for lower-ranked teams that rely on ticket sales.
In the 2020/21 season, Bayern Munich earned over €600 million in revenue, accounting for over 17% of the league’s total revenue. Because such connections are managed at the league level rather than through individual club agreements, the popularity of larger clubs such as Bayern Munich certainly increased the value of the agreement, helping smaller and lower-income teams.
“In difficult economic times, the Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2 teams are certainly achieving an important part of planning,” said DFL CEO Donata Hopfen. “The investment of our partners reflects the enormous appeal of German professional football.” “I am delighted that the design of packages that suit traditional things and unique digital opportunities has been well received.”
The Bundesliga is the fourth most popular league in the world after Serie A in Italy, La Liga in Spain and the Premier League in England. The Premier League’s NFT rights were reportedly valued at $590 million over four years, with four NFT platforms including Sorare bidding for them. The league earned £4.5 billion ($5.6 billion) in the 2019/20 season, $2 billion more than the Bundesliga. The €170 million in collectible rights from the Bundesliga will be divided among the three sites, while the rights for the Premier League are to be split between the two providers. The numbers are not comparable since the Bundesliga involves stickers and actual trading cards, while the statistics for the Premier League are yet to be finalised.
Meanwhile, OneFootball has just completed a $300 million Series D funding round, and Sorare has expanded outside of football through ties with Major League Baseball and the PGA Tour.