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ESPN Enters NFTs With Tom Brady Drop on Polygon, Autograph Deal

The sports media giant will debut its first Tom Brady NFTs today, in partnership with the quarterback's own NFT startup.

3 min read
ESPN will release Tom Brady NFTs in partnership with Autograph. Image: Autograph

In brief

  • ESPN has signed a multiyear deal with Tom Brady’s NFT startup, Autograph.
  • The first NFTs, based on ESPN’s Tom Brady docuseries, will be released today on Polygon.

NFL quarterback Tom Brady is already firmly entrenched in the world of NFT collectibles, and now he’s bringing sports media juggernaut ESPN along for the ride as well.

Today, ESPN announced its first-ever NFT collection in partnership with Brady’s Autograph platform, a sports and entertainment NFT startup that he co-founded in 2021. ESPN’s first NFT drop will be based on Brady and ESPN’s documentary series about him, “Man in the Arena: Tom Brady.” The series was produced by Brady’s own Religion of Sports media company.

The Brady NFTs will be released today via the DraftKings Marketplace, which is Autograph’s exclusive marketplace partner. Three magazine cover-style NFTs will be released, with 250 editions at $100 each, 100 editions at $250 per, and 50 digitally signed editions at $500 apiece. All of the NFTs are minted on Polygon, a sidechain scaling solution for Ethereum.

A second collection of Brady NFTs will be released alongside the final episode of the ESPN series, slated for later this month. Brady, a seven-time Super Bowl champion, announced his retirement from the NFL in February, but in March revealed that he'd changed his mind and would return to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

ESPN’s alliance with Autograph is a multiyear deal. An NFT acts like a receipt that proves ownership for a digital item, and the market swelled to $25 billion in trading volume in 2021 alone.

“As the first NFT partner for ESPN, the possibilities across sports and technology are endless, and we couldn’t be more excited to get this content out to the world in a massive way,” Autograph co-founder and CEO Dillon Rosenblatt said in a statement.

Autograph has launched NFT collectibles around a number of prominent athletes, including Brady, Tiger Woods, Wayne Gretzky, Simone Biles, Tony Hawk, and Naomi Osaka. The firm also is expanding into entertainment with NFTs based on musician The Weeknd and the “SAW” movie franchise. Autograph raised $170 million of Series B funding in January.

Brady’s interest and participation in the crypto space has grown beyond just Autograph, however. He also signed on as a global ambassador for cryptocurrency exchange FTX and has appeared in the firm’s commercials. Brady calls himself a “big believer” in cryptocurrency, and has “Bitcoin laser eyes” on his Twitter profile picture.

ESPN isn’t the first sports media brand to enter the NFT space. Sports Illustrated recently partnered with NFT startup OneOf to launch NFTs based on its classic magazine covers, while basketball magazine SLAM has launched NFTs through Autograph.

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