Sweet has been hired by the league to create a marketplace for gamified NFTs.
The National Hockey League has huge NFT plans and is ready to share most of them with the rest of the world.
Together with its Players’ Association and Alumni Association, the NHL announced Thursday that Sweet has partnered with NFT platform Sweet in order to create a unique NFT marketplace as well as collections of NFTs, which are unique blockchain tokens that can signify ownership.
Decryptin a interview, David Lehanski, executive vice president of business and innovation for the league, stated that the NHL’s marketplace would be somewhere in between a fully-fledged NFT trading platform or a site offering limited-time NFT drops.
The NHL hopes to offer fans both by creating an NFT marketplace that offers exclusive drops. The NHL’s Sweet marketplace will be available in October in time to begin the 2022-2023 season.
There’s also a gaming element to this: The NHL wants NFTs to be gamified with “questing” and collecting features, so that fans can engage and are rewarded with perks similar to other NFTs. Lehanski explained Decrypt.
NFTs can also be dynamic and evolve over time depending on the performance of a player. According to a statement, NFTs will also be “cinematic highlights from past and current NHL seasons” or surprise packs that contain NFTs that can all be viewed in “3D interactive Trophy rooms.”
Lehanski did not reveal the blockchain that it would be using. If Sweet’s offerings are any indicator, it could be Polygon and Tezos.
Lehanski stated that the NHL is looking at all options, and added that “low gas costs” and “environmental sustainability”, are top priorities as it considers a blockchain.
It is worth noting, however, that the NHL is the last major professional sport organization to be able to play NFTs. This follows moves by the NBA with Top shot NFTs, NFL with “play-and-own” NFT and MLB with its upcoming NFT Game .
“There was certainly a lot to moving very quickly […] but that was a little too shortsighted,” Lehanski stated about the NHL’s approach towards NFTs. He added that it was worthwhile taking the time to study metrics such as fan behavior. “NFTs are long-term viable as meaningful and relevant products for fans, particularly in digital collectibles or gaming.”
However, Sweet CEO Tom Mizzone stated to Decrypt that the NHL’s NFTs are not just for new crypto-savvy NHL fans. They will be available to experienced NFT collectors as well.
He said, “It will be absolutely appealing to that degen culture,” but not so much that it excludes larger customer bases who are only fans.