Major League Soccer Launching Its First NFTs

Major League Soccer Launching Its First NFTs

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May 20, 2021 by J.D. Smith
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In brief Major League Soccer is jumping on the NFT bandwagon. Four NFT art pieces will be created and auctioned on Friday ahead of this weekend’s clashes between four of the biggest MLS teams. The NBA has done NFTs, through its partnership with NBA Top Shots. MLB has done them, through officially licensed Topps NFT
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In brief

  • Major League Soccer is jumping on the NFT bandwagon.
  • Four NFT art pieces will be created and auctioned on Friday ahead of this weekend’s clashes between four of the biggest MLS teams.

The NBA has done NFTs, through its partnership with NBA Top Shots. MLB has done them, through officially licensed Topps NFT cards. A growing number of NFL players have done them, but the NFL has held off on official league-approved NFTs.

Now MLS is going NFT.

The top U.S. pro soccer league announced on Thursday it will launch a collection of four NFT art pieces related to two big games coming up this weekend: Portland Timbers vs L.A. Galaxy on Saturday at 6:30pm EST (broadcast on ABC) and Seattle Sounders vs. Atlanta United on Sunday at 4:30pm EST (Fox). 

The NFT art will be created live by four street artists, one representing each MLS squad, on Friday at 6pm EST in a one-hour “battle series” streamed on Bitski, the site where the NFTs will go on sale. The artists are Mighty Short (Timbers), Aaron Kai (Galaxy), Kyler Martz (Sounders), and Paper Frank (United). The live battle will have an “associated audio experience” on Clubhouse.

This is the first time MLS has released league-approved NFTs. Last year, Sorare created Ethereum-based tokens representing MLS players, but through a partnership with the MLS Players Association, not the league.

MLS is also clearly monitoring concerns over NFTs and the environment. (The concerns relate to the energy use of minting tokens on the Ethereum blockchain, which uses a Proof of Work consensus method just like Bitcoin, but is in the process of shifting to a Proof of Stake model that won’t use nearly as much energy.) The league says a portion of the proceeds will be used to offset carbon emissions, making the collaboration completely carbon neutral. MLS is working with Aerial.is to offset any impact on the environment. 

“The special NFT art collection is the latest evolution of Major League Soccer’s commitment to celebrating the creativity in our sport and the permission to connect soccer with progressive and exciting art experiences,” Chris Schlosser, MLS SVP of media, said in a press release. “The live art battle, plus the modern take on a matchup poster, helps create a cultural moment that celebrates our League, and the two great MLS matches this weekend.”

MLS will also give fans a chance to purchase limited-edition matchup poster NFTs. During both of this weekend’s games, there will be a window to purchase an unlimited supply of the virtual posters. These pieces have already been custom-created by the four artists separately from Friday’s live “battle,” and are designed to give fans a chance to own a piece of “MLS meets street art history.”

Fans can purchase the NFTs using credit cards or Ethereum.