FTX partnership to NFTs in new ‘virtual ballpark’: MLB’s crypto journey continues

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    Two years ago, at the 2021 All-Star Game in Denver, Major League Baseball (MLB) umpires began patching their uniforms with FTX.US patches as part of a broader partnership with the company.

    Now, the sports league plans to introduce a “virtual ballpark” experience to several of this year’s All-Star events, starting with the annual celebrity softball game on Saturday.

    As part of the experience, users can participate in a treasure hunt to find 18 virtual cards from NFT gaming company Sorare. The first of her 250 to find them all will win a digital card, his NFT built on the Ethereum blockchain.

    “We are excited to work with MLB on this new virtual ballpark to create additional ways for fans to interact and experience baseball through virtual programming,” a Solare spokesperson told Blockworks. “Following this treasure hunt, we will be working with MLB to launch additional activities in regular and postseason games.”

    Solare partnered It partnered with MLB last year to launch a free game that allows players to use NFT cards to create player lineups and enter weekly contests based on real-world player performance.

    “Our commitment to transforming the fandom through innovative combinations of sports, technology and gaming, allowing fans to truly own the pieces of the games they love is unique, transcends borders and spans the globe. We can bring the love of baseball to more fans in the world,” MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement at the time.

    Metaverse technology company Improbable helped MLB develop a virtual ballpark using their Morpheus technology. Improbable features interoperability with other metaverses in his MSquared network.

    Virtual ballpark attendees will also get a commemorative digital ticket created by Candy Digital. Candy Digital was founded in June with the backing of Fanatics Executive Director Michael Rubin, Galaxy Digital CEO Mike Novogratz, and entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk.

    read more: Digital Artist S. Preston’s Entry into the NFT Space

    Rusty Matveev, chief strategy officer at social marketplace Karaxy, said MLB is notoriously old for its fan base compared to other sports, but the league’s latest effort is a way to change that. .

    “This is one of our efforts to bring in a younger audience familiar with the world of online games like Roblox and the Metaverse,” he told Blockworks. “It gives fans a great sense of ownership and involvement and engagement.”

    MLB did not respond to a request for comment.

    The virtual ballpark and the NFTs it contains mark MLB’s latest leap into the crypto world.

    League in June 2021 clearly FTX, the cryptocurrency company that eventually went bankrupt in November 2022, became MLB’s first official uniform patch partner, realizing a “long-term and global partnership” with FTX.

    MLB Chief Revenue Officer Noah Garden, in a statement at the time, called FTX “a world leader in the midst of incredible growth,” adding, “Our fans are the ones who want to work on our game.” We were early adopters of new technology,” he added.

    The professional baseball entity also partnered with Candy Digital in June 2021, pointing out that MLB is building an NFT ecosystem for the league. This collaboration resulted in the release of the NFT of Lou Gehrig’s famous “Luckiest Man” speech on July 4, 1939, when he was diagnosed with ALS.

    According to a news release in March, MLB has re-strengthened its partnership with Candy Digital for the 2023 season, offering player-focused digital collectibles dubbed “Icons,” as well as NFT Commemorative Tickets. It will continue to be issued.

    According to the company, fans redeemed about 200,000 collection tickets last year.

    Matveev said the Metaverse is currently limited by available hardware adoption, but products such as the Apple Vision Pro and Meta’s Oculus are likely to help the space grow over time. I was.

    “Efforts are more for tomorrow than today, but now is the time to start,” he added. “I think MLB has a great track record of being a leader in innovation.”

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