Barcelona's Antoine Griezmann Among Major Investors in New Fantasy Football Platform

7:06am Mar 27 2021

The €20 billion global fantasy football industry has received another shot in the arm recently after the Paris-based digital fantasy football platform Sorare received a staggering €40 million in Series A funding from a variety of Angels. The funding round, which was led by equity firm Benchmark, represents quite possibly the largest injection of cash for a fantasy football platform in history, proving that this rapidly emerging form of entertainment looks set to take over the world.

Aside from the institutional investors and venture capital funds that bet big on Sorare, some of real-world football’s biggest names also pledged some substantial stacks of cash. The French forward for FC Barcelona, Antoine Griezmann, as well as the former Man United legend Rio Ferdinand and Barcelona centre-back Gerard Pique, have all contributed substantial amounts to this recent funding round. So, what does all of this mean for the future of fantasy football? Read on to find out.

What is Sorare?

Sorare’s stated mission is to “make fantasy football a reality”. At its core, Sorare is a digital platform for trading football cards and building fantasy football leagues. The platform, which does not yet have a dedicated app, allows members to participate in a complex digital economy, where cards representing different real-world players go up and down in value based on their real-life performances.

Members trade, purchase, bid, and negotiate for the rarest cards in order to build up their fantasy football squad and rise to the top of the online league tables. The platform already has longstanding official partnership deals with top-tier clubs such as Liverpool, Bayern Munich, Juventus, and Real Madrid.

Meanwhile, Sorare claims that more than $4.2 million worth of cards have been traded over the platform so far, with the number of new members growing every day. The company itself made history in January 2021, when one of its digital football cards of Juventus superstar ChristianoRonaldo sold to an individual buyer for a staggering $100,000.

What Does This Mean for Fantasy Football? 

With €40 million in Series A funding and the backing of some of the biggest and most well-known players in European football, it looks like the only way for Sorare is up. Fantasy football is nothing new, with platforms such as DraftKings capitalising on its popularity and going on to become billion-dollar companies. In addition, a number of digital sports card platforms already exist and have arguably had much more success. For example, the Canadian platform Dapper Labs recently signed a deal with the NBA, following blanket media coverage of the app that resulted in over $200 million worth of trading transactions taking place on it in January alone. 

However, Sorare’s recent success may well represent a new leap forward for fantasy football. Sorare is already a part of a rapidly-emerging digital economy where assets made out of nothing more than pixels are world more than real-world assets. Take for example the recent sale of a digital-only artwork at Christie’s for $70 million.

In addition, betting on fantasy football is a rapidly-emerging market that Sorare could be well-placed to capitalise on. As digital sports betting continues to attract hundreds of millions of fans in emerging markets around the world, thanks to platforms such as asiabet.org that focus on the Indian sports betting market, online fantasy football sports betting is becoming just as popular as wagering on its real-world counterpart. Platforms such as Asiabet already have extensive betting offerings for fantasy cricket, demonstrating that some of the world’s largest sports markets are showing massive interest in the phenomenon.

The growing popularity of fantasy sports betting was no doubt a major consideration in the minds of Sorare’sfunding angels. In addition, another factor that cannot be ignored is the rise of cryptocurrency assets. The football card economy in the digital world of Sorare is underpinned by the blockchain currency Ethereum. This, in turn, makes the cards in Sorare a form of cryptocurrency in their own right, adding to the platform’s appeal as an avenue for savvy investors. So, is Sorare’s future success based on the world’s growing love of fantasy football, or the rise of a new digital economy?

Despite only having generated a few million dollars in revenue, a mixture of seasoned venture capital funds and football superstars were more than happy to throw tens of millions of dollars at Sorare in a single funding round. It is clear that Sorare’s massive funding injection is a sign that some of the most influential minds in sports believe that fantasy truly is the future.