Let’s talk about what NFTs mean to sports and the future of fandom, with leaders shaping the future at Dapper Labs, ZED, Calaxy, and HypeSneakrs

On July 27 of last year, an early invite to NBA Top Shot dropped in my inbox. A few days later, having invested a couple of hours exploring and a total of $35 on 11 cards, I wouldn’t say I didn’t get it but I did give it a “it’s still early, we’ll check back in later” assessment and mostly forgot about Top Shot for the rest of 2020.

On one of the first days of the new year, I awoke to a notification:

Even well-timed investments into Tesla, Peloton, and Bitcoin last year couldn’t touch the 28x growth delivered with authority by the Greek Freak’s virtual dunk. And I actually sold too early: my Giannis Anthetokounmpo #170 (out of 1000) re-sold for $3,000 two weeks later.

NFTs aren’t brand new and NBA Top Shot creators Dapper Labs didn’t invent them, but Cryptokitties–the Ethereum-melting proof-of-concept launched by their founders in 2017–certainly played a foundational role in where NFTs are today. Here at the Global Sports Venture Studio, we can attest: inspired by the success of Cryptokitties, back in 2018 we worked with our partners at the Los Angeles Dodgers and collaborated with blockchain gaming company Lucidsight to launch Digital Bobblehead Night at Dodger Stadium, featuring the first-ever NFT collectible as a promotional giveaway.

Investment in NFTs continued to grow and by 2019, the total value of all NFT transactions reached $62.9 million1.

In 2020, it would grow to just over $250 million2. Then came 2021.

In February of this year alone, the top 3 NFT marketplaces (NBA Top Shot, OpenSea, and CryptoPunks) had a combined trading volume of $342 million3. On its own, Top Shot is a category-creating beast, amassing more than $500 million in sales since its launch4 last year. And we’re just getting started: already the market is evolving past art and collectibles to computer-generated sneakers, digital racehorses, and virtual real estate, with new models arriving every day to give fans and speculative investors more ways to invest in pursuit of the next big play.

Where do we go from here? We decided to gather some experts to talk about the emergence of NFTs and talk about their potential impact on the future of fandom and our relationship with sports.

Join us on Tuesday, April 27 at Noon edt:

APRIL 27, 2021 | 12:00PM ET

Have a question for our panelists? Send it via Twitter:


Non-Fungible Token Market Grew by 299% in 2020,” NonFungible & L’Atelier BNP Paribas, February 2021




Dapper Labs, creators of NBA Top Shot, get $305M in funding,” Associated Press, March 31, 2021