ESPN and Autograph, the non-fungible token (NFT) platform co-founded by Tom Brady, announced Wednesday a multi-year partnership that begins with the release of a documentary and a collection of NFTs.
A 10-episode ESPN+ documentary series called “Man in the Arena: Tom Brady” chronicles the NFL legend’s career milestones through a psychological and emotional point of view.
The documentary series is produced by Religion of Sports, a media company in which Brady is also a co-founder.
Autograph and Religion of Sports designed the “Man in the Arena: Tom Brady Collection” to be ESPN’s first NFT collectible series.
The documentary, which premiered Wednesday, is available to subscribers of Disney’s streaming package (ESPN+, Hulu and Disney+), while the NFT collection can be viewed on Autograph.io and is for sale on DraftKings Marketplace.
🐐 NFTs are here.
In partnership with @Autograph, three limited-edition "Man in the Arena" NFT covers will be dropping at 3 PM ET today. The collection includes 50 @TomBrady hand-signed editions ✍️ https://t.co/JxvJOM3IHM pic.twitter.com/jRYHy8xYTy
— ESPN (@espn) April 6, 2022
The collection consists of three magazine covers from ESPN’s December special edition, which included 14 stories ESPN had written about Tom Brady. Fifty issues of those NFT covers will be signed by Brady.
Once the tenth and final episode of the series airs, a second NFT collection called “Back in the Arena” will also be released.
Dillon Rosenblatt, co-founder and CEO of Autograph, said in a statement, “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 on a massive scale.”
While diehard Tom Brady fans may be excited about his new series and the NFT collection, others expressed concern about the partnership on Twitter under ESPN’s tweet. Comments included statements like “No one asked for this, ESPN” and “I still don’t know what an NFT is” to GIFs showing displeasure.
ESPN recently launched the ESPN Edge Innovation Center in partnership with Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution to pursue technology partnerships like this one with Autograph. In addition to Web 3.0 experiences, ESPN intends to leverage augmented and virtual reality to interact with sports fans in new and engaging ways, the company said.
From sponsorships in F1 to popular collectible cards in the form of NFTs, such as the NBA’s Top Shot, to cryptocurrency companies renaming sports stadiums, the sports industry has largely embraced Web3 and NFT initiatives.
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