WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment, for those of you who don’t know) has signed a long-term contract with the sports platform Fanatics. According to news.bitcoin.com, they plan to create officially licensed merchandise and trading cards, and mint NFTs through Fanatic’s NFT platform “Candy Digital”.
Fanatics is the Perfect Partner for WWE
Like many other sports franchises, WWE has been looking into the blockchain and NFT space for a while now, and on the surface it seems that Fanatics is the perfect partner. Michael Rubin is the head of Fanatics, which sells licensed sports products through Fanatics Commerce, as well as collectibles, trading cards, and NFTs through Candy Digital, the company’s NFT platform.
As a part of the deal, Fanatics will revamp the WWE Shop, an e-commerce and mobile destination that will provide fans across the world access to a wide range of WWE gear. This includes physical items like apparel, title belts, headwear, accessories, and more.
WWE will also give Fanatics the rights to design, manufacture, and distribute merchandise collections that commemorate fan-favorite WWE moments and promote emerging wrestlers. Fanatics will work collaboratively with the creative teams at WWE on such campaigns.
“Fanatics is the industry leader and Michael Rubin is a visionary,” WWE Chairman and CEO Vince McMahon stated. Mcmahon also said, “We believe this multi-platform partnership will set a new standard for WWE e-commerce, apparel and merchandise, while providing our fans globally with more ways than ever to engage with WWE and our superstars,”
“WWE is one of the most widely admired sports and entertainment properties worldwide, and it made perfect sense to activate many parts of our Fanatics global platform to create a first-of-its-kind, all-in fan experience,” Rubin explained. “From e-commerce and licensed merchandise to trading cards and more, we’re going to offer up an incredible set of capabilities to help WWE’s passionate fans worldwide celebrate their favorite superstars, marquee events, and the WWE brand overall.”
NFTs Enter the Ring
Of course, this new deal isn’t just about selling physical items to fans. According to decrypt.co, WWE will also be launching NFT trading card collections alongside their new line of merchandise. These NFTs will be released through Candy Digital, who lead the creative process and manage the project.
The NFT trading cards will feature some of WWE’s biggest stars and reflect some of the company’s most iconic moments. The cards will have the Topps logo on them, a card brand that Fanatic owns. Although specific wrestlers haven’t been mentioned, the collections will likely feature many recognizable wrestlers, both current and retired.
WWE is definitely not the first major sports company to explore the NFT market. Just a few months ago, the NBA launched an NFT collection with Dapper Labs with great success. Even the sports betting company DraftKings recently released their March Madness themed NFT collections, in the hopes of exciting sports fans. With other sports companies succeeding with NFT launches, it’s likely that WWE was emboldened to follow their lead.
Rough Waters Ahead for WWE NFTs
Despite the Fanatics agreement, WWE mentioned that they launched an NFT marketplace called “Moonsault”. According to shacknews.com, just 2 weeks ago, WWE launched a website for their Moonsault NFT marketplace, with the help of Blockchain Creative Labs.
WWE announced the marketplace launch on their Twitter account. Not much information is available, but it does have some pointers on NFTs and how to purchase them, for those who aren’t as familiar with them. As of right now, the website allows people to sign up for a simple email newsletter to get updates.
Initially, many fansresponded with disdain for NFTs in general. Whether they were merely a vocal minority or a vocal majority, the fans’ negative reactions indicate that WWE may have a rough time entering the NFT market.