The NFT craze hit the digital photography and art market like a tidal wave.
After all, who could ignore Beeple’s $69 million haul for his collection of digital artwork? And now it looks like some sports teams are using NFTs as a way to raise money and possibly give fans a once-in-a-lifetime experience in return.
There’s little doubt that teams are doing whatever it takes to bring fans back to the arena but the Toronto Raptor’s most recent initiative takes the cake for innovation and forward-thinking vision.
That’s because the vaunted NBA team launched their first-ever NFT Collection to give their most loyal diehards “exclusive perks” and “VIP experiences” that cannot be had anywhere else – all while raising money for Canada’s Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment (MLSE) Foundation’s ‘Change the Game’ Initiative.
Known as the “Toronto Raptors 6ix Keys Collection,” the six official keys released each promised a unique experience or perk to the owner upon winning the auction.
These include The City, The Team, The Player, The Past, The Future, and The Game. Devised as a way to raise money for Toronto’s youth who have experienced particularly challenging hardships during the COVID-19 pandemic, the keys also promise bespoke experiences for the auction winners and take their themes from various aspects of the Toronto Raptor’s business organization.
For example, The Team offers winners the chance to “Unlock the chance to get the full picture of how the best organization in the NBA grinds it on the daily,” while The Player is “Made for fans who know you need to remember your past in order to appreciate the present. Unlock the story of how the North became champions – 27 Years of history, and a date with the Larry O’B.”
Offered to the public via live auctions starting July 23 and ending on July 28, participants placed bids across the keys that they wanted to own with the winning bidders receiving their NFTs in their DropShop account after the end of the auction.
Each key type will have 100 examples for users to buy but there will be some differentiation among the NFT keys.
In a nod to video game loot, there are certain gradients of NFT that winners can obtain ranging from “rare” to “legendary” which offer different tiered experiences depending on their rarity.
For example, a “rare” key might get the winner some signed memorabilia, tickets, or even access to a suite during a future game, the NBA reports. “Legendary” tier NFTs offer users “customized and one-of-a-kind experiences” such as meeting team execs and VIPs, getting to spend time at the Scotiabank Arena, and many others. In case those NFT keys were too rich for most people, the Raptors also offered 6ix Black Keys for $30 a piece that gave winners a sneak peek of the team’s upcoming season on Marketing Day.
While the first auction has concluded, the team anticipates more offerings in the future. Fans that are eager to gain a more personalized level of access to the Raptors should keep an eye on the team’s DropShop page for news on upcoming NFT offerings by the organization.