NFL tight end Rob Gronkowski has decided to enter the blockchain-based digital collectible space by introducing his own non-fungible tokens (NFTs).
The National Football League athlete has teamed up with NFT marketplace provider OpenSea to launch five different digital trading cards that feature memorable Super Bowl moments. The NFTs reportedly include Gronkowski’s major career highlights and have been created by visual arts studio Black Madre.
Gronkowski’s NFTs will not be featuring official NFL team logos as OpenSea has not obtained appropriate licensing from the professional sports league. The hand illustrations will aim to capture or emulate memorable plays made in the Super Bowls he took part in, and Gronkowski will then be signing the virtual cards.
Gronkowski told CNBC in an interview that he had initially heard about the digital collectibles or NFT space during last year’s NFL regular season. Gronkowski pointed out that billionaire Mark Cuban’s strong support and endorsement of NFTs was one of the main reasons why he felt confident about entering the nascent space.
“I see what’s going on, and it’s just exploding. I wanted my fans that are living in the digital world to be able to get a piece of this action.”
NFTs have become really popular with professional sports teams, particularly after the NBA’s collaboration with Dapper Labs – which has now generated over $230 million in gross sales.
These NFTs are based on blockchain or distributed ledger technology (DLT), which is essentially a digital ledger and data structure that’s somewhat similar to the underlying tech that helps power the Bitcoin (BTC) network, the world’s leading cryptocurrency.
The blockchain or DLT-based implementations allows each NFT to serve as a provably unique and non-corruptible certificate of authenticity. Gronkowski is now the most recent prominent athlete to join the NFT craze.
Square and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey recently revealed that he would be selling his very first tweet as a NFT, with bids reaching $2.5 million. Taco Bell has also decided to take part in this global trend. The fast food chain operator stated that it would be selling a digital work of art that features tacos.
Gronkowski’s NFTs will be launched on the Ethereum (ETH) blockchain network, where Dapper Labs had introduced the highly-popular CryptoKitties game that caused major congestion on the leading smart contract platform.
The collectibles are four iconic moments, 87 editions each, from when Gronkowski had made memorable appearances during Super Bowl XLIX, Super Bowl LI, Super Bowl LIII and February’s Super Bowl LV.
In addition to the 348 NFTs, a “refractor card” is also expected to be auctioned soon. The owner of this NFT will be able to do a meet-and-greet with Gronkowski during an upcoming NFL game.
Joe Silberzweig, Co-founder at Medium Rare, a management and events firm that works closely with Gronkowski, remarked:
“I think what’s unique about the way Rob is approaching his particular NFT is how he’s commemorating the four Super Bowls and hand signing them. It creates a unique offering different from everything else out there. I think when Rob saw the success of NBA Top Shot do millions of dollars, he had the entrepreneurial itch to take it into his own hands and create something for himself and his fans.”