After establishing NFT-based fantasy sports games around the National Football League (NFL) and Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), sports betting firm DraftKings announced today that it will launch an NFT fantasy golf game in partnership with the PGA Tour.
DraftKings will roll out the Reignmakers PGA Tour experience in March, following the same kind of format as with its previous NFT projects. Digital cards based on PGA Tour golfers will be minted and sold via Polygon, an Ethereum sidechain network, and users can compete for millions of dollars’ worth of cash prizes.
Just like in traditional fantasy sports games, users will earn points based on the real-world performance of the players in their respective lineups. But as in DraftKings’ other Reignmakers games and in rival games like Sorare, users will build their lineups by buying and trading digital cards based on the real-world athletes.
It’s an extension of DraftKings’ existing alliance with the PGA Tour, which began in 2019 and includes a traditional fantasy golf experience without NFT elements. Beth Beiriger, DraftKings’ senior VP of marketplace operations, told Decrypt that golf is the firm’s fourth-largest fantasy sport and seventh most-bet-on sports league.
“We already see a high level engagement from these users,” she said of DraftKings golf fans, adding that Reignmakers lets the firm “take gamified NFTs and really push our users over into the fantasy space a little bit more.”
Reignmakers PGA Tour will begin its launch with a premium Greens Pass NFT on March 1, which Beiriger said will provide “preferred access, as well as season-long rewards” for players. It’s similar to the field pass NFT from Reignmakers Football, which is officially licensed by the NFL Players Association (NFLPA) but not the league itself.
The first set of PGA player cards will launch on March 6, then, ahead of the first in-game event—The Players Championship—from March 9-12. The NFT-driven experience should be largely familiar to players of other Reignmakers games, but Beiriger said to expect specially-themed future NFT drops around major PGA Tour tournaments.
This is the PGA Tour’s second NFT collaboration, following a deal announced with Tom Brady’s NFT startup Autograph last September that has yet to bear fruit.
Autograph’s NFTs will be digital collectibles themed around on-the-course moments, according to Tom Jeffs, the PGA Tour’s VP of media business development, while DraftKings focuses on player cards with in-game utility. He believes that there’s enough room for both projects to thrive in the sports NFT world.
Broadly, Jeffs told Decrypt that the PGA Tour sees potential for NFT projects to boost fans’ affinity for players through ownership of their respective assets, citing pros like Jon Rahm and Max Homa that battled it out last weekend at the Genesis Invitational.
“You are living and breathing by that player’s success, and not only for that week in which you are participating in a competition,” said Jeffs. “Now you can't wait to see the next time Max is going to tee it up, because you know that you have him in your roster—so you feel vested.”