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How blockchain startup Dapper Labs landed partnerships with the NFL and NBA

Decrypt's Editor-in-Chief Dan Roberts and Caty Tedman of Dapper Labs discuss partnering with the NBA and other sports leagues to sell NFTs.

Video Transcript

DAN ROBERTS: The NFL, to me, is a big coup. I mean, I used to focus on sports business. I know how hesitant the NFL often is to do certain deals. And this stuff, in many ways, is kind of bleeding edge. So kind of walk us through what the Dapper pitch to sports leagues is. You guys are also now working with the WNBA and LaLiga.

CATY TEDMAN: Yeah, we started-- we were lucky to start with the NBA. We were lucky that Adrienne O'Keeffe over at the NBA is, like, OG crypto woman and was, like, super interested in the space, you know, at the same time that we were approaching them. At that time, it was a lot of explanation. And we spent a lot of time with lawyers and people in finance to talk about, like, what does it look like to have secondary revenue. You don't have secondary revenue on merchandise, right? eBay doesn't give the NBA or NFL a cut.

What does it look like to have ownership in perpetuity of assets for consumers? I mean, you have that in a physical space, but you don't say it in that way. And it's pretty unusual in a digital space. So there was a lot of education really early on. I think what we've seen is that NBA Top Shot has proven that there's something there. We have, you know, almost 1.2 million people registered on the platform. There have been almost 14 million transactions, 10 million of those just peer to peer.

And we're talking about a year, right? We've really only been live for about a year. And so, the conversations have shifted dramatically, where I think there's a little bit of an understanding that there's something here. I meet very little resistance these days that NFTs are a thing, which, you know, back then, there might have been a discussion around that. And now, it's more about, how do we create a really interesting and unique environment?

I think when we look at the NFL or LaLiga, we don't want to just rinse and repeat on NBA Top Shot. We want to take the stuff we've learned there. But football is a week to week sport, right? Like, you watch that totally differently than you do the basketball season. And so, now the conversation is really around, how do we build for your fans? How do we talk to your fans? How do you talk to your fans?