The Golden State Warriors have become the first professional sports team to launch a Non-Fungible Token (NFT) Collection, a release from the team’s website announced last week.
On Monday, team officials said that the collection’s auction brought in record-breaking numbers for the Bay-area franchise.
According to a release sent to Blavity, the Warriors sold 327 NFTs of artwork commemorating the team’s six NBA championships that include championship tickets and rings valued at more than $2 million. The Golden State Warriors Legacy NFT Collection, an officially licensed digital collection, also incorporates digital collectibles of the pro basketball franchise’s most iconic games.
According to The Verge, NFTs are related to the cryptocurrency Ethereum and can include digital offerings such as drawings, music and other forms of artistry. They are designed to give the buyer ownership of the original work, though reproductions may exist elsewhere.
“The digital collectibles excitement is palpable,” Warriors Chief Revenue Officer Brandon Schneider said in a release on the team’s website. “We see NFTs and digitization of our business as a mainstay to engage our fans around the world. As an organization, we are constantly evaluating ways to be creative and innovate and launching this special NFT Collection is the latest evolution for us in that space.”
Schneider continued, saying that the franchise will use proceeds from the endeavor to support the Warriors Community Foundation “at a critical time in our community’s journey to rebuild educational practices during the pandemic.”
In organizing the NFT auction, the Warriors partnered with media company Medium Rare, a live event experience business that has collaborated with sports personalities like NFL player Rob Gronkowski and NBA icon Shaquille O’Neal.
A historic amount of $871,581 was paid for an NFT, combining the team’s six championship rings, according to Action Network. The winner will receive a physical ring that combines all of the championship rings and will feature 120 grams of 14K gold and 475 diamonds and sapphires.
The sale of the ring itself is considered the second-highest price in history paid for a championship ring. In 2017, actor Charlie Sheen sold his 1927 Babe Ruth ring for more than $2 million, per Action Network. The custom Warriors ring sold for more than double the price of the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s 1986-87 Lakers championship ring, which was acquired for almost $400,000 in 2019.
According to a digital release, the Warriors Championship Ring NFTs and the Commemorative Ticket Stub NFTs were created by design firm Black Madre. They include live experiences like participation in a Warrior-for-a-Day opportunity and a future custom championship ring presentation. The Warrior-for-a-Day “Golden Ticket” NFT sold for an additional $85,875, which affords the bidder the opportunity to sign a one-day contract with the team and attend a coursed shootaround with a custom jersey.
Although the organization is hailing the auction's success as a win for the future of the digital investments, the physical offerings sold could protect their brand and finances should the boom of NFT’s decrease in value.