NFTs NHLThe sports industry has been significantly enamoured with non-fungible tokens (NFTs) over the past year. From athletes launching collections to celebrate milestones to organisations and individuals launching companies around the NFT space, it appears that the world of sports collectibles can never be exhausted.

In the latest show of camaraderie, one of America’s biggest leagues is now taking the plunge and diving into the NFT space.

NFTs for the NHL

Earlier this week, industry news sources confirmed that the National Hockey League (NHL) will launch an NFT marketplace. The league, along with its Players’ Association and Alumni Association, has partnered with NFT integration platform Sweet to launch a new marketplace as well as unique NFT collections.

Speaking with news sources, Dave Lehanski, the NHL’s executive vice president for business development and innovation, explained that the upcoming marketplace will be a hybrid platform. It will focus on allowing users to trade NFTs easily and also support league-accredited token creators who would like to issue limited-edition drops.

The league will also be looking to gamify the platform’s experience. They will offer promos and quests that will keep fans engaged and guarantee their return. This way, fans can see the NFTs available and easily make purchases.

NFTs NHLLehansky confirmed that the marketplace has been in the works for a while and that all systems are set for a launch in October – just in time for the 2022/2023 season.

Lehansky has refused to share the blockchain pay form on which the marketplace will be based. However, Sweet is known to work on the Polygon blockchain the most. So it won’t be a surprise to see its marketplace hosted on the layer-two platform.

The NHL appears to be the first major league looking to embrace NFTs. However, this doesn’t mean that hockey players haven’t been doing work in the NFT space. Just last month, Wayne Gretzky, the hockey legend who many believe to be the greatest of all time, partnered with digital commerce giant eBay on an NFT play.


Announced towards the end of May, the partnership between eBay and Gretzky included 13 limited-edition digital collectibles. The collectibles were launched in conjunction with One Of, a green Web3 platform that enables the launch of digital collectibles that focus on industries like sports, music, and lifestyle.

A Little Late to the Party

At the same time, this seemingly underscores the shift towards collectibles and the general Web3 space for most of the major leagues.

As far back as November 2021, the National Football League (NFL) has gone all-in on NFTs. In September, the football league announced its partnership with Dapper Labs – one of the most popular Web3 engagement companies and the creators of the popular CryptoKitties NFT collection – to launch an NFT marketplace.

The marketplace, called “NFL All Day,” eventually launched in February 2022 to massive fanfare.

The National Basketball Association (NBA) was the first league to take the plunge. In collaboration with Dapper Labs, the basketball league launched NBA Top Shot in 2020. The marketplace is now the exclusive platform for fans to get NBA-themed NFTs into their wallets.

Venturing into NFTs and collectibles is undoubtedly a great move for most leagues. The sports industry is rife with monetisation opportunities, highlights, and player cards selling on secondary markets for high prices. By cornering this market and providing an avenue for fans to engage, leagues could use these digital collectibles to prop up their revenue streams significantly.

Although the NHL appears to be catching on a little later than many of its competitors, it’s never too late to venture into collectibles.

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