Panini card … Two words that are enough to make all adults nostalgic who as children exchanged with their friends the legendary football player miniatures. For hardcore collectors, they still exist – the Euro 2020 notebook is available – but there is competition. Since 2019, the French start-up Sorare has set up a completely dematerialized trading and playing card game. A concept that has developed a lot in recent months. On the occasion of the euro, Sorare even entered into a partnership with the French Football Federation.
A concept between video games and collection
At Sorare, we are far from the good old Panini brands. The maps published by the company are NFTs, digital objects that take all forms (tweets, videos, artwork …) and which has been quite the rage since the beginning of the year among collectors. These dematerialized objects are authenticated by blockchain, the technology that supports bitcoin and prevents counterfeit copying. Each card is therefore unique and can only be owned and used by one person. “It’s also completely transparent: everyone can know how many cards for this or that player have been created. The rarity is proven,” said Brian O’Hagan, responsible for Sorare’s growth.
Sorare is both a video game and a trading card game. “The cards are offered for sale in auction format, so the highest bidder wins the card. Once you have a card, you can use it in a fantasy football video game,” says Brian. O’Hagan. You make a team of five football players and compete against other players online, in matches based on the actual performance of the players whose cards you have. Sorare now has 90,000 enthusiasts in 150 countries.
Players, collectors and … traders
But competition is not important in Sorare. “We have three types of players. Firstly, fantasy football fans who favor the video game aspect, matches against other players. Secondly, collectors who target rare cards in the hope that they will take value over time. Finally, we have traders who buy and sell to make some money like that, “describes Brian O’Hagan. In fact, the game is aimed at a more adult audience than Panini cards. The minimum price of a card is 4 euros for average players, and this goes up to several hundred or even thousands of euros for stars or limited circulation cards.
So you need to be prepared to invest before entering the game. “This speculative aspect comes from the United States, where there has long been a tradition of selling sports cards, especially for basketball and baseball. The difference is that Sorare cards have a tool in a game, they are not just collectibles,” he said. Brian O’Hagan, Business Development Manager To increase the bid, there are several rarities in the cards: unique (1 per season and per player), super rare (10 per season and per player) and rare (100 per season and per player).
A game that even appeals to football players
“To issue a player card, we must obtain an official license issued either by football clubs, or by leagues or national leagues. For example, thanks to the agreement signed with FFF, we can make cards by Kylian Mbappé or Antoine Griezmann with a jersey from it. “The French national team. It is the first national sports federation in the world to go out on the NFT”, specifies Brian O’Hagan. A new market that is attractive: 140 clubs have signed with Sorare, including those from the biggest European championships. Thanks to these agreements, they receive a royalty of 5% to 15% on the first sale of a card and then a commission for each resale in the secondary market.
The football players even participated in the game. “More than 50 footballers play the game and sometimes buy cards from teammates, or even their own card,” said Brian O’Hagan. Antoine Griezmann has thus spent 63,000 euros on buying a unique card from teammate in Blues Kylian Mbappé. And it’s not even a record: in March a Cristiano Ronaldo card was sold … 240,000 euros!
– Antoine Griezmann (@AntoGriezmann) June 14, 2021
A model that works. Sorare has achieved more than 60 million euros in card sales since the beginning of the year. And this success attracts investors. The start-up raised 40 million euros in early 2021, especially from Kima, the Xavier Niels Fund, and Alexis Ohanian, co-founder of the Reddit website. Soccer players, as Antoine Griezmann and Gerard Piqué, also entered the capital. And that’s just the beginning since according to Echoes, Sorare would prepare to carry out the largest fundraiser in the history of French Tech, over 500 million euros, and would thus join the prestigious club with unicorns, with a valuation of more than three billion euros. ‘Euro.