Major League Soccer is taking its first shot at the NFT craze this week, launching a collection of street art to celebrate two weekend matches and four teams, including Seattle Sounders FC.
The non-fungible tokens will be tied to nationally televised matches on Saturday between the Sounders and Atlanta United (1:30 p.m. PT on FOX) and the Portland Timbers and L.A. Galaxy (3:30 p.m. PT on ABC).
On Friday, soccer fans and street art enthusiasts can go online at 3 p.m. PT to watch artists representing each club “battle” for an hour to create unique, limited edition, soccer-inspired artwork. The artists were sourced by underground art battle organization Secret Walls and they are: Kyler Martz (Seattle), Mighty Short (Portland), Aaron Kai (L.A.), and Paper Frank (Atlanta).
NFTs are virtual certificates of ownership that are recorded as part of a blockchain computing network and have ignited a frenzy among collectors and cryptocurrency enthusiasts, fetching outrageous prices for everything from digital artwork to NBA highlight videos to random tweets.
The custom pieces representing each club market will “reflect the creative sensibility of each artist,” according to a news release, and they will be available for auction for 48 hours on Bitski, an NFT platform. Digital ownership of the pieces will go to the highest bidder.
Fans will also get the chance to purchase limited edition match-up poster NFTs as open editions. During each of this weekend’s matches, MLS will open up a limited window to purchase an unlimited supply of the posters. The digital pieces were created by the four artists to commemorate the games and art event.
“The live art battle, plus the modern take on a matchup poster, helps create a cultural moment that celebrates our league, and the two great MLS matches this weekend,” Chris Schlosser, MLS SVP of Media, said in a statement.
Fans may view, purchase, and bid on the NFTs using Bitski, and auction winners may use credit cards or the Ethereum cryptocurrency to settle. As part of the program, MLS is working with Aerial.is to offset the carbon emissions from the blockchain transactions.