Digital collectibles for his ESPN Plus docuseries ‘Man in the Arena’

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ESPN has jumped on board the NFT bandwagon: the sports giant is going into business with Tom Brady, looking to sell fans on the idea of ​​owning a digital piece of the famous NFL quarterback’s legacy.

ESPN has signed a multi-year deal with Autograph, the NFT startup Brady co-founded, to release its first non-fungible tokens. NFTs offer a way to authenticate ownership of digital content, using distributed blockchain networks – and media and entertainment companies have flocked to NFTs as a way to generate additional revenue and retain fans.

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The collaboration kicks off Wednesday, April 6 with the 5 p.m. ET release of an NFT collection based on “Man in the Arena: Tom Brady,” the 10-part ESPN Plus documentary series produced by Religion of Sports, a media company whose Brady is also a co-founder.

NFT prices will range from $100 to $500. “Man in the Arena: Tom Brady Collection” NFTs are exclusively available on autograph.io and can be purchased on the DraftKings Marketplace for NFTs. The collection consists of three digital ESPN “zine covers” featuring Brady’s career, wins and accomplishments. There are 50 NFTs from the collection digitally signed by Brady (priced at $500 each) as well as 100 NFTs from the “Tom Brady: Legacy” cover ($250 each) and 250 NFTs from the “Tom Brady: Greatest of All Time” ($100 each).

ESPN’s first NFT release coincides with Disney releasing the docuseries on Hulu and Disney Plus — in addition to ESPN Plus — for a “limited time.”

A second NFT collection from ESPN and Autograph – themed ‘Back in the Arena’, hinting at Brady reversing his decision to retire with plans to return to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers next season – will drop in conjunction with the premiere later this month of the series’ 10th and final episode on ESPN Plus. (There is no confirmed release date for the episode yet.)

“ESPN is thrilled to offer our first NFTs to meet our fans at the intersection of sports, technology and content,” said Kevin Lopes, vice president of sports business development and innovation at ESPN. . “Our work with ESPN Edge [an R&D partnership formed with Accenture; Microsoft and Verizon] has taken us to where we are today, exploring new and innovative ways to engage fans, and we are excited to partner with Autograph for this collection and others in the future.

“Man in the Arena,” directed by Gotham Chopra, features interviews with Brady and other sports personalities detailing the milestones of the quarterback’s NFL career. The docuseries explores “the psychological and emotional terrain of every win and loss,” according to Religion of Sports.

Los Angeles-based Autograph, in addition to its NFL partnership with DraftKings, has worked with Lionsgate to release digital collectibles based on the studio’s intellectual property. Autograph has released NFTs for Brady and other sports stars including Derek Jeter, Wayne Gretzky, Tony Hawk, Rob Gronkowski, Simone Biles, Naomi Osaka, Usain Bolt, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Tiger Woods.

“This unique collection around Tom’s ‘Man in the Arena’ docuseries marks the beginning of our relationship with ESPN,” Autograph co-founder and CEO Dillon Rosenblatt said in a statement. “As the premier NFT partner for ESPN, the possibilities across sports and technology are endless, and we couldn’t be more excited about bringing this content to the world on a massive scale.”

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