This weekend marked the start of the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar. Millions of soccer fans will not only get their fill of sports and competition this year, but they will also be able to interact with the various Web3 brands and businesses that are attempting to achieve their own goals.
The term Web3 did not enter the global discussion during the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia. However, in 2022, athlete NFT drops and Bored Apes from Adidas commercials, for example, are acceptable additions to the month-long tournament.
FIFA is bringing matches into the metaverse
Users can collect video experiences and highlights from previous World Cups, similar to the NBA Top Shots platform. Users can also purchase a pack of trading cards containing three randomly chosen highlights or single moments. At the time of writing, the most expensive NFT in the market is French player Kylian Mbappe's goal against Argentina at the 2018 FIFA World Cup, which costs $7,500.
Furthermore, FIFA collaborated with blockchain-based companies — Uplandme, Matchday, Phygtl, and Altered State Machine — to create a variety of soccer-themed Web3 games.
Fans who reach the top of the leaderboard in one mobile game, AI League, developed in collaboration with the Altered State Machine protocol, will be eligible for digital and physical prizes such as Vivo phones, gaming equipment, and Adidas gift cards.
Upland, a metaverse that connects virtual land to real-world cities, has created a digital replica of the FIFA World Cup Lusail stadium, village, and shops. Users can complete digital collection albums by trading NFTs of country crests, apparel, and posters from all 32 World Cup teams. Only World Cup village properties can be obtained through tournament-specific Upland activities.
The Argentine player Lionel Messi's gaming startup Matchday also collaborated with FIFA to develop a betting app. Users who challenge their friends to World Cup predictions can win by correctly predicting the tournament and collecting trading cards of the best footballers.
The second NFT drop by Lionel Messi
Messi collaborated with Web3 studio Ethernal Labs and its NFT marketplace Ethernity to create his second NFT collection, Messi Time Machine.
Five new digital collectibles are being released to commemorate the career of the Paris Saint-Germain forward. The first NFT in the series highlights his 2006 World Cup debut. Holders of that token will be able to access up to four more collectibles memorializing previous World Cup appearances in 2010, 2014, and 2018. A raffle will allow ten holders to win an NFT for this year's tournament.
He said that the World Cup serves as a bridge between mainstream fans and the Web3 world: "Players and brands acknowledge they must cater to technological advances like digital collectibles and metaverse meet-ups to grab the eye of fans who grew up in a digital age."
In addition, Messi appears on the front of a cereal box aptly named "INDIGOOOOOLS" in a World Cup commercial with Adidas-owned Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) NFT, Indigo Herz. Adidas paid 46 ETH ($156,000 at the time) for BAYC #8774 Indigo Hertz last year as part of its Adidas Originals ecosystem.
Cristiano Ronaldo has entered the NFT market
While Messi has been a proponent of blockchain for the past few years, the 2022 World Cup will see the arrival of one of his rivals — Portuguese soccer player Cristiano Ronaldo — to the industry. He is the most followed person on Instagram, and cryptocurrency exchange Binance decided to capitalize on that.
Ronaldo debuted an NFT collection on Binance.com as part of a multi-year exclusive partnership with the exchange. The 6,645 NFT CR7 collection includes seven animated statues of Ronaldo, each depicting an iconic moment in his life.
The digital collectibles have four levels of rarity, which obviously depend on the NFT rarity. Owners receive various benefits such as a personal message from Ronaldo, signed merchandise, access to future NFT drops, and complimentary gift boxes.
However, because Binance.com's NFT marketplace is not available to US users, they can only receive a souvenir NFT for USD deposits made on the platform during the promotion period. Only then will users be granted whitelist access to future CR7 NFT purchases.
Binance chose a social media campaign earlier this year that ironically used celebrities and athletes to notify crypto investors against listening to celebrities.
Despite this, Binance has released a 60-second television commercial starring Ronaldo to promote the collaboration and the NFT collection during the World Cup.
NFTs Budverse x World Cup 2022
Budweiser, an American beer company, has agreed to pay FIFA $75 million to be the World Cup's official beer sponsor. However, the agreement was altered when FIFA decided to prohibit the sale of alcohol in its stadium two days before the first game.
Instead, Budweiser has agreed to give away all of the beer it had planned to sell to the country that wins the tournament.
Meanwhile, they are selling real-time NFTs that update throughout the tournament. The scoreboard in real-time NFTs gives holders an animated scoreboard with their chosen nation's statistics that track the team's statistics.
Each Budverse NFT mint costs $100 and comes with a physical merch pack that includes a scarf, a color-shifting Budweiser aluminum cup, and a trading card. Holders can also enter sweepstakes at the time of purchase for a chance to win a VIP trip to the tournament.
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