The NFL and NFL Players Association announced a new partnership on Wednesday with gaming technology studio Mythical Games to introduce an NFT-based video game called NFL Rivals.
The game will officially launch in 2023, but fans will have an opportunity to purchase 32 limited-quantity collections of 3D NFL-themed NFTs in a series of drops prior to the game's release. The actual game itself will allow fans to compete against other gamers as the general manager of a team in a fantasy-style environment while assembling rosters with NFTs of their favorite players through a play-and-own system.
"With the rise of blockchain technology, we are thrilled to partner with Mythical Games on a blockchain-enabled game that delivers new play-to-own NFT capabilities, creating a new adventure for fans who love to play football games," said Joe Ruggiero, the senior vice president of consumer products at the NFL. "The interest in NFTs and video gaming amongst current and prospective fans continues to grow and combined have accelerated the NFL's exploration of new gaming models that can deliver an unmatched experience to fans."
The announcement is coming only a short time after Major League Baseball announced a partnership with SoRare on a similar NFT-style game for fan interaction. Professional sports leagues are continuing to search for new ways to engage with fans and are taking advantage of the NFT craze while combining it with the interest in fantasy football and other games.
In addition to owning the NFTs, fans will have opportunities to gain access to special events, in-game rewards and other features to reward interaction and game play.
"Partnering with the NFL to drive new fan and player engagement through fresh game design and the benefits of Web3 is an exciting moment for us," said Jamie Jackson, the chief creative officer at Mythical Games. "NFTs with utility can add value to players in-game, and we can't wait to bring these concepts to NFL Rivals to evolve the team management genre by adding the advantages of play-and-own games, offering the community new ways to engage with their favorite teams and players both in and outside this virtual world."