Baseball won’t be sitting on the bench when it comes to the cryptocurrency game.
Mark Shapiro, president and chief executive officer of the Toronto Blue Jays, told BNN Bloomberg in an interview that the league was looking at non-fungible tokens (NFT) as a “cutting edge opportunity” that could help bolster fan interest in the sport.
“We’re looking at those things more on the league side than an individual team side,” Shapiro said. “That’s the way the [Major League Baseball] is structured.
“From an ownership perspective, it’s something we’re spending time on right now and [have] ventures in the works that will explore NFTs for MLB.”
The league discontinued its licensing partnership with game developer Lucid Sight Inc., which held the first known collection of licensed sports NFTs. The league’s chief operations and strategy officer Chris Marinak told reporters earlier this month it would be ending the agreement with Lucid Sight, but would still consider getting involved in NFTs.
Earlier this year, the National Basketball Association (NBA) began selling game highlights – or “moments” as the online auction house calls them – on its NBA Top Shot digital collectibles platform. Front Office Sports, a sports business news site, also reported this month that Dapper Labs – the Vancouver-based company behind the NBA Top Shot platform – is in talks with MLB on a similar NFT arrangement.
Athletes are starting to take advantage of the NFT boom in various ways. In September 2019, pro-NBA player Spencer Dinwiddie tokenized his contract so that others can invest into it.
In March 2021, pro-tennis player Oleksandra Oliynykova offered prospective NFT buyers the lifetime rights to part of her right arm.