- Fifa+ launched as a global streaming service earlier this year
- Algorand signed on as an official blockchain partner in June
Fifa is launching non-fungible token (NFT) digital collectibles featuring iconic moments from the men’s and women’s soccer World Cups.
The ‘Fifa+ Collect’ range will feature images and artwork from both tournaments, with the first collectibles dropping next month on the Fifa+ global direct-to-consumer (DTC) platform.
Soccer’s global governing body says the collection gives fans the opportunity to ‘own’ their favourite moments and promises the collectibles will be affordable and inclusive. However, Fifa says there will be some limited edition and exclusive collections further down the line.
“Fandom is changing and football fans around the world engage with the game in new and exciting ways,” said Fifa chief business officer Romy Gai.
“This exciting announcement makes Fifa collectibles available to any [soccer] fan, democratising the ability to own a part of the Fifa World Cup. Just like sports memorabilia and stickers, this is an accessible opportunity for fans around the world to engage with their favourite players, moments and more on new platforms.”
The NFTs are the first product of Fifa’s partnership with blockchain specialist Algorand, which is a regional supporter of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar for North America and Europe, as well as an official sponsor of the 2023 Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.
“Fifa’s platform – via a truly decentralised and scalable public blockchain – is the first tangible representation of the technical partnership recently announced between Fifa and Algorand,” said W. Sean Ford, interim chief executive of Algorand. “The commitment Fifa has made to bridge to Web 3.0 enabled by Algorand, is a testament to their innovative spirit and desire to directly and seamlessly engage with [soccer] fans around the world.”
While Fifa may have broken with tradition by staging Qatar 2022 in the winter rather than the usual summer timeslot, one tradition that has been kept is the launch of the official Panini sticker book.
Fifa+ Collect can be viewed as the digital equivalent of these stickers, giving fans the opportunity to buy and trade moments from nearly a century of World Cup soccer, including Bobby Moore lifting the trophy in 1966, Diego Maradona’s ‘hand of god’ goal in Mexico 1986, and Alex Morgan’s teacup celebration in 2019.
The fact that Fifa is distributing these NFTs via Fifa+ is also intriguing. The launch of the DTC platform was the first major strategic step this space, something Fifa says it will continue with once its contract with EA Sports for official video games later this year.