Unless your name is corona, there is nothing bigger globally speaking at the moment than NFTs. NFTs, which stands for non-fungible tokens, are a blockchain technology that enables the creation of digital items. And because there is a provable scarcity and authenticity, these digital items lead to digital ownership and collectables—from NBA video highlights to works of art to digital trading cards. The guest in today’s episode of the OMR Podcast, Nicolas Julia, heads up one of the most fascinating and promising companies in the NFT space, Sorare.
CEO and co-founder Nicolas Julia only started Sorare in 2018 and since has struck deals with the biggest soccer clubs and leagues in the world, from Bayern Munich to Juventus to, most recently, the Mexican soccer league. In this episode of the OMR Podcast, Nicolas discussed the power and potential of NFTs, how Sorare combines collectability with utility and how he managed to convince storied soccer clubs to partner with a startup in a space that even digital natives have trouble defining.
What is Sorare?
“You can think of Sorare as a mix between a collectable and a fantasy game,” Nicolas Julia tells OMR digital marketing editor Scott Peterson in the OMR Podcast International. “To play Sorare, you need to own cards.” Ranging from common, rare (100 cards per player per season), super rare (10 cards per player per season) to unique (1 card per player per season), cards can be acquired via packs sold on Sorare or on the secondary market by owners, who auction them off. As we covered in December, unique cards can fetch absurdly high prices (USD 57k for a Neymar?).
The game-changing technology of NFTs
“In late 2017, my co-founder and I discovered a new technology which enables the creation of scarce digital items,” Nicolas says. This new technology that Nicolas is referring to is, of course, NFTs. The allure of the technology struck a chord at a very human level for Nicolas. “We as human beings have been collecting things for centuries in the physical space. With NFTs, there is now the possibility of collecting something digital.” What Nicolas did next is arguably what sets Sorare apart from the competition: making collectables out of the most powerful soccer IP (player and club likenesses) and combining them with a utility. Sorare cards are “not only a class of new collectables. On top of that you can use them every week in a competitive game.”
Getting the ball rolling and convincing clubs
By adding utility to a collectable, Nicolas and Sorare have managed to keep users engaged. In fact, Nicolas said that one of the first indicators that he and his co-founder Adrien Montfort were on to something was high user engagement and low churn—even more so than the 30k in sales the company made in the first month of open beta. One of the most impressive coups that Sorare pulled off was convincing clubs to enter into licencing agreements with an unproven startup in a space that is shrouded in misconceptions and neverending complexities.
Regarding those initial discussions, Nicolas said that overcoming a lack of credibility and history was a huge challenge. “Why should they take a bet on you? From day 1, I think we were compelling enough in our honesty telling them we are onto something huge, building an entertainment giant and we will secure you a new revenue stream,” Nicolas recalls. “Even if the figures we modest at the beginning.”
The future is bright and Gary Vaynerchuck is a fan
Since those modest beginnings, Sorare has been at the vanguard of the NFT boom over the past 6 months, making headlines for that aforementioned Neymar and making an investor out of friend of the OMR family Gary Vaynerchuck. It’s fair to say that there is now no lack of experience and Sorare could very well be on the cusp of building an entertainment giant.
To hear Nicolas Julia discuss the future for Sorare, balancing the influx of professional investors with maintaining the core gaming aspect of Sorare, how he convinced the biggest clubs in the world to sign agreements that are otherwise, ahem, so rare, and much more on the future for Sorare check out the entire episode of the OMR Podcast International right here.