The PGA Tour has announced a multi-year NFT deal with Autograph, becoming the first professional sports league to partner with the digital collectibles company co-founded by Tom Brady. Autograph will launch the PGA Tour’s NFT marketplace in early 2023, which will offer collectible video highlights of memorable shots from PGA Tour players.
Autograph’s video NFTs will integrate data from the PGA Tour’s ShotLink system, such as a specific shot’s ball speed, club head speed, curvature, height and other shot-tracing graphics and 3D hole renderings that normally appear on broadcasts. For moments such as a tournament-winning putt, that NFT could also include footage of the golfer’s broadcast interview after their shot. The collectible highlight NFTs will span both archived footage and current FedEx Cup season moments.
Players who opt-in to the PGA Tour’s new deal with Autograph will receive guaranteed compensation for their participation, as well as additional payments for each of their individual NFTs sold. The PGA Tour has gotten “pretty much everybody” to opt-in to its pro-rata program with Autograph, according to Chris Wandell, VP of media business development at the Tour.
“This is kind of a new set of media rights, these are rights tied to individual athletes and consumer ownership of those moments,” Wandell says. “If one player really wants to lean-in and promote their own NFTs across their own Instagram and social, that person probably will drive more revenue than the guy who doesn’t really want to lean in. We want to make sure that the players who drive the most revenue are rewarded commensurately.”
PGA Tour events will also feature on-site branding from Autograph, which has existing NFT deals with athletes such as Tiger Woods, Derek Jeter, Naomi Osaka and Dale Earnhardt Jr. The company raised $170 million in January.
“We’ve learned over our first year in business that people in the NFT world build such strong connections both to the NFT and to each other digitally, that they’re craving IRL and access to events and tournaments,” Autograph’s CEO and co-founder Dillon Rosenblatt told SportTechie. “So a big part of our strategy is going to be how can we actually activate on the 40-plus tournaments that go on every year?”
Rosenblatt mentioned the 25- to 35-year-old demographic as main consumers of Autograph’s NFT products. The PGA Tour will be the latest sports league to offer its own NFT platform. Dapper Labs has built league marketplaces such as NBA Top Shot, NFL All Day and UFC Strike, the NHL partnered with Sweet, while MLB is working with Candy Digital and Sorare. The PGA Tour is also planning to partner with fantasy sports NFT platform Sorare, as Golf.com originally reported in April.
“I’d be surprised if we didn’t find some clever way to integrate our signatures,” Rosenblatt says of Autograph’s PGA Tour plans. “The process is, we send an iPad to the partner’s home, and we jump on either in-person or live on Zoom with their team. We built an app where they sign each NFT with the stylus, click next and sign again. It actually can take an hour or two hours. I think it’s important for people to know that this isn’t one signature that we stamp on again and again.”
Find more: Singaporebased bud gen nft series capital – Krypto-NFTs