Not a good day for the sporting NFT fans because the NFL is temporarily prohibiting all 32 teams from selling NFTs and sponsorships to cryptocurrency trading firms. According to the report, the league is developing an official strategy for crypto and NFTs and until then, the suspension stands for strict compliance.
Why is the NFL Prohibiting Teams from Selling NFTs and Crypto Sponsorships?
Since there is no official statement from the NFL, we can’t be certain for sure what’s the reason behind this move. However, the league has a reputation for being conservative. It is worth noting that it was the last major sports league in the USA to allow gambling and liquor sponsors.
The official announcement stated, “Except as outlined in this policy, clubs are prohibited from selling or otherwise allowing advertisements for specific cryptocurrencies, initial coin offerings, other cryptocurrency sales, or any other media category as it relates to blockchain, digital asset, or as a blockchain company within club controlled media.”
Unlike NBA and MLB, who have inked official partnerships to release NFTs based on their assets and history, NFL was on the sidelines. The closest it got to success was when the Hall of Fame Resort and Entertainment Company partnered with the National Football Museum’s Pro Football Hall of Fame. Together, they released the career highlights of the six NFL icons as NFTs.
What will be allowed?
According to reports, the league will allow sponsorships with companies whose primary business is providing investment advisory and/or crypto fund management services. The advertising sponsorship rights only cover the company’s corporate brands.
Moreover, the teams can collaborate with crypto adjacent companies. However, the league strictly prohibits partnerships directly tied to cryptos such as exchanges and OTC desks.
An initial pass of the new policy makes it clear that it is very limiting and will change the landscape.
Major Concerns About the Policy
The main question now is whether the policy will be retroactive.
For example, how will the league handle the case of Tom Brady? Aside from launching his own NFT Collection, he is also the Founder of NFT Platform Autograph. The platform signed up fellow superstar athletes like Tiger Woods. In fact, just last week, Tennis Superstar Naomi Osaka released her new signed collectibles on Brady’s Autograph Platform.
Additionally, how will the league address individual NFT Sales of the athletes? Last March, NFL star Rob Gronkowski’s debut NFT drop generated more than $1.8 million in primary sales on OpenSea.
Furthermore, aside from commercial purposes, some athletes are also utilizing crypto as a mode of payment. In May, Trevor Lawrence, the first overall pick in the NFL draught, converted his signing bonus to cryptocurrency. Then, Russell Okung, an offensive lineman in the NFL, receives half of his salary in bitcoin (BTC).
This is a bold from the NFL and, as early as now, sparking debates. Especially because commonly, only regulators issue a ban on cryptocurrency and NFTs. So it is unprecedented for a major organization to deter the adoption of these emerging technologies.