Dapper Labs, the firm behind NBA Top Shot, is preparing to announce a marketplace for National Football League NFTs, Sports Business Journal reported today, citing anonymous sources.

The NFL and the NFL Players Association will receive equity in Dapper Labs as part of the deal. According to SBJ, the digital licensing revenue generated for the players' union by the deal will be second only to what it makes from EA Sports, maker of the popular "Madden" video games.

Dapper Labs often gets credit for reviving NFTs, the blockchain-based tokens that work as deeds of ownership to real or digital assets. Dapper was behind the first major NFT project—Ethereum-based digital collectibles CryptoKitties—but has since moved into sports trading cards. After launching NBA Top Shot in 2020, it has expanded to the WNBA and, more recently, Spanish football with a La Liga collaboration.

Earlier this month, it revealed it had raised $250 million in a funding round led by Coatue, with backing from Andreessen Horowitz and others; it's now valued at $7.6 billion—$5 billion more than it was after a March funding round.


While NBA Top Shot was a huge success by many metrics, the success of an NFL version may not be guaranteed despite the NFL's enormous audience size and revenue. The NBA, credited with being the most social-media savvy pro sports league, was perfectly-suited to digital trading cards catching on with its players and fans. Major League Baseball tried a crypto collectibles platform back in July 2018, MLB Crypto Collectibles, and it fell flat. Will NFL fans buy NFTs?

“When I think about the NBA vs the NFL, the NBA really blaze a trail in a lot of ways, and they’re willing to take some risks," Dapper Labs head of partnerships Caty Tedman told Decrypt on a panel in March. "If you think about the NFL, they don’t always do it first, but they try to do it best. So learning from the NBA is very much in their playbook. When we think about the kind of products that we would build with other partners, we think about customizing it for those fan bases. We can’t just slap NFL players on NBA Top Shot and make it work."

Daily Debrief Newsletter

Start every day with the top news stories right now, plus original features, a podcast, videos and more.