NBA Top Shot’s Success Has Other Leagues Interested

    • Dapper Labs, creator of NBA Top Shot, is in talks around similar partnerships with the NFL, NHL, and MLB.
    • The company has been a defining force in the non-fungible token market.

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A blockchain-backed LeBron James dunk highlight sold for $208,000 on NBA Top Shot last month, and another James “Moment” sold for $179,000 on Tuesday.

NBA Top Shot, created and run by Dapper Labs, has been a huge success for the NBA, which licenses its content to the Vancouver-based company. Now, other leagues are taking notice.

Sources told Front Office Sports that MLB, the NFL, and the NHL have been in talks with Dapper Labs and others in the NFT space to create marketplaces like Top Shot.

“We’ve talked to a lot of other major leagues,” said Caty Tedman, head of partnerships at Dapper Labs. “We already know we’re not going to build everything, so we are talking not only to other sports organizations but other builders who might be doing cool stuff.”

Top Shot — created and run in partnership with the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association — has been open to the public since October and has netted $396 million in sales so far. 

NFTs are an attractive option for leagues seeking to recoup revenue lost to the year-long pandemic, though it’s no guarantee they will replicate Top Shot’s success. Major League Baseball’s MLB Champions NFTs haven’t been nearly as lucrative as the NBA’s.

Players regularly talk up their Top Shots — which makes sense since they get a cut of the sales — on social media. The NBA’s global audience is also beneficial; around half of Top Shot’s sales come from overseas.

“The engagement we’ve seen around NBA Top Shot since the start of the season has exceeded our expectations,” NBA executive Adrienne O’Keeffe told Front Office Sports.