The NHL Gets Into NFTs Through A Partnership With Sweet


Hockey-loving HODLers, take note: the NHL is start an NFT program† The competition collaborates with Sweet to build a marketplace of digital collectibles, including everything from iconic moments in hockey history to “3D interactive trophy rooms where users can display their collections.” The league made the announcement during NFT.NYC (and also during the Stanley Cup Finals), but plans to launch the market next season.

Sweet is a much smaller platform than OpenSea or SuperRare, but it is one of the more user-friendly NFT marketplaces, allowing users to buy things with crypto or just with a credit card. It already has lots of sports contentincluding collectibles from a number of Formula 1 and NBA teams.

The only surprising thing about this announcement is how long it took the NHL to make it. Digital collectibles have been taking over the sports world in recent years: the NBA has Top Shot; the NFL has all day; the MLB and Topps continue to roll out new digital maps; Sorare works with seemingly every football club in Europe; and there is even UFC strike and a handful of others.

The NHL is a little late to the party here and may have missed the fun parts: Top Shot and other markets are a long way from where they once were.

Still, sport remains as sensible a use case as any for NFTs — if there is such a thing, anyway. People have been collecting trading cards for decades and the market for those cards has continued to grow in recent years. Officially licensed digital collectibles serve many of the same purposes, although it remains to be seen whether “a cool highlight video” has the same long-term value as the near mint condition Mickey Mantle card that sold for $5.2 million last year.

A few other leagues have suggested broader ambitions for NFTs, such as turning tickets into digital assets or using them to create communities among fans. (There was also a DAO trying to buy an NBA team, but that was something completely different.) The NHL’s announcement was relatively straightforward and collectible-oriented, although it did mention hosting “quests and challenges.” ‘ to keep fans engaged. Now the league just has to hope the crypto winter ends before the next hockey season starts.


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