The Professional Golfers Association (PGA), golf’s premiere professional tour, has partnered up with American football quarterback Tom Brady’s NFT Autograph to build out its own dedicated NFT trading platform.
Sportico reported that the multi-year tie-in will see NFT content created from PGA archives of video footage and player statistics, with all of the NFT platform’s revenue going back to the players.
This marks the first time that a major sport league has entered into such a partnership. Other major sports leagues are already active partners with NFT platforms including the NFL, NBA, MLB, and the NHL.
The PGA Tour has been working on building out a digital presence for some time now. In 2018, it launched a mobile app called “MyPGATour,” which allows fans to interact with the tournament schedule and check scores without having to use a computer.
In addition, the PGA announced earlier this year that it had signed a deal with IBM Watson to develop AI technology that could help analyze golf tournaments.
As part of the new agreement, the PGA will work with Autograph to create a new NFT trading platform that will allow fans to buy and sell autographs.
Autograph CEO Scott Rubin told Sportico that the move was designed to give the PGA Tour “a way to monetize the massive amount of data we’ve collected over the decades.”
PGA Tour Joins The NFT Bandwagon
The PGA Tour announced today that it had signed a multiyear deal with Autograph, a startup that offers blockchain-based sports memorabilia. Under the agreement, the tour will use Autograph’s platform to distribute virtual autographs and other NFTs. This marks the first time that a professional sports league has entered the world of NFTs.
Autograph CEO Mike Roberts told Decrypt that he believes the collaboration with the PGA Tour is just the beginning. He says there are many ways that NFTs could benefit the tour and its players, including helping fans connect with the athletes they love.
For instance, Roberts points out that NFTs allow fans to own something unique that represents their favorite player. They can even sell that item later on to someone else.
This could help the tour expand its fan base, since some of its current fans already buy merchandise like jerseys and hats. In addition, Roberts notes that NFTs offer the opportunity to monetize items that you might otherwise throw away. For example, the tour could make money off old gloves or shoes that fans no longer wear.
Roberts adds that the tour could also encourage fans to follow certain players, making sure they know what they’re buying. “We think that we can really help the tour grow,” he says.
With this announcement, PGA Tour joins several other major sports leagues that have joined the NFT bandwagon. The NBA and NFL have partnered with Dapper Labs to launch NBA 2K19 and Madden NFL 19, respectively, while MLB has teamed up with Candy Digital to develop MLB Crypto Cards.
PGA Tour Inks Multi-Year NFT Deal With Autograph, NFT Marketplace to Launch in Early 2023
The PGA Tour has signed a multi-year partnership agreement with digital collectibles startup Autograph. The move marks the first major sports league to sign up with the New York-based firm founded by former NFL quarterback Tom Brady. Under the terms of the deal, Autograph will become the exclusive provider of virtual memorabilia for the PGA Tour beginning in early 2023.
Autograph CEO Michael Gaughan told CNBC that the PGA Tour’s decision to join forces with his company “is a game changer.” He added that it’s “a huge step forward for us,” adding that he expects to see the NFT market explode over the next few years.
Gaughan said the PGA Tour’s partnership will help him scale the company’s operations, allowing it to expand into the golf industry. He also believes that the NFT market will provide a unique opportunity for fans to engage with athletes.
“We’re excited about the potential here,” said Gaughan. “I think we’ll see a lot of growth in the future because there are so many different ways to watch our sport now. We want to make sure that people feel like they’re part of the experience.”
In addition to being able to purchase autographs and NFTs of the pros themselves, fans will also be able to buy virtual items that represent the best moments of their favorite player. The PGA Tour’s marketing team will work closely with Autograph to develop the product roadmap.
The PGA Tour’s relationship with Autograph began several months ago, though the finalization of the contract took longer than expected due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, the companies didn’t announce the news together during live events. Instead, the announcement came via press release.
The PGA TOUR and Autograph did not disclose financial terms of the deal. However, sources close to the situation say that the PGA Tour received significant equity investment from the company.
PGA Tour Announces NFT Partnership, With Revenue Going to the Players
The PGA Tour has teamed up with NFT startup Autograph to develop a digital collectible platform for its members. The deal includes a pilot program to sell NFTs featuring some of the sport’s biggest names, including Jordan Spieth, Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy and others.
While product details are still being finalized, the NFTs — which stand for non-fungible tokens — will be sold on a newly developed platform, incorporating tournament video both past and present as well as more advanced data about each shot.
The NFTs will be distributed directly to the players involved, according to the press release.
Autograph CEO Tom Brady joined the company earlier this month, bringing his expertise as one of the most successful athletes in history. He’ll serve as chairman of the board and chief executive officer.
“I think it’s important we do something that really helps the game grow and evolve,” Brady told ESPN. “This is part of that evolution. I love golf, I love the PGA Tour, and I think there’s a lot of opportunity here.”
Wandell said he expects the NFTs to start selling later this year. They could generate significant interest, especially if the market proves strong enough to warrant a full rollout.
“There’s no doubt we’re entering a new era of sports fan engagement,” Wandell said. “In fact, we believe this is just the beginning. We think this is just the tip of the iceberg.”