While 2022 may have made “metaverse” a dirty word for some, major brands are still lining up to experiment with the immersive, future version of the internet.
The NFL is still on that list. The league on Thursday announced plans for the first-ever virtual Super Bowl concert. Featuring the vocal stylings and motion-captured movements of hip-hop artist Saweetie, the concert will launch during Super Bowl weekend on Roblox, the massively popular multiplayer online game.
On Friday, February 10, the free concert will open to Roblox users in Rhythm City—a music-themed social roleplay experience built on Roblox by Warner Music Group—home to Saweetie’s label, Warner Records. The concert will then replay 31 times, every hour on the hour, until Super Bowl Sunday.
“I’m really excited to bring this iconic moment to the metaverse and share my music with a whole new audience in such a unique way,” Saweetie said in a statement shared with Decrypt.
The Saweetie Super Bowl Concert was developed in partnership with metaverse game developer Gamefam, and is sponsored by Intuit.
Those same companies also assisted the NFL in creating NFL Super Tycoon, another Roblox experience that will allow players to simulate the experience of being an NFL team owner. There will be no champagne toasts and player drafts—users will navigate the experience by managing team cashflow, payroll, taxes, and customer acquisition with the assistance of Intuit products. NFL Super Tycoon launches on Roblox on Saturday, February 11.
Roblox is not a Web3 game, meaning that it’s not built around NFTs or other blockchain-based technologies. It’s a traditional Web2 game built around user-generated content that some have described as a “proto-metaverse” due to the closed nature of its ecosystem. Bonafide metaverses include the likes of The Sandbox and Decentraland, platforms that emphasize their openness and interoperability and incorporate blockchain technology.
What Roblox may lack in crypto authenticity, it makes up for in popularity. The platform claimed 57.8 million daily users as recently as September. That’s compared to about 10,000 on Web3-native Decentraland.
The NFL’s experiments on Roblox appear to be one component of a larger metaverse push for the sports organization. Ed Kiang, the NFL’s VP of Video Gaming, described the virtual Super Bowl concert as “an anchor entertainment event bringing fans together in the metaverse.”
The organization has previously dabbled in blockchain-backed endeavors. NFL All Day, an NFT collectibles platform built on the Flow blockchain in partnership with Dapper Labs, opened to the public in August. The collection has generated over $70 million in sales, according to CryptoSlam.
This football season, the NFL offered commemorative NFT ticket stubs at over 100 games in partnership with TicketMaster. Those NFTs were also minted on Flow.