Paris-based Sorare is a global fantasy football game where managers can trade official digital cards. According to the company, it is on a mission to unlock people’s football fandom online. In a recent development, Football superstar Gerard Piqué and ex Coca-Cola VP Emmanuel Seugé – through his fund Cassius Family – are investing €3M in Sorare as a seed extension. This brings the total seed to €7M.
The winning strategy
According to the company, “Fans no longer want to just consume football entertainment, they wish to participate in new and exciting ways. Gerard Piqué has been at the forefront of reimagining these new paths with Kosmos and now with a strategic investment in Sorare.”
As part of this investment, Piqué will join Sorare’s board as a strategic advisor, together with existing board members Christian Miele, co-founder Nicolas Julia, and co-founder Adrien Montfort.
“With Gerard on board, we’ll be working together to onboard the top 20 leagues in the world. Gerard’s investment will help us expand our global presence to reach more football fans around the world,” Sorare mentions in a blog post.
“I see a huge potential in the sports gaming segment in a digital economy where the attention of audiences is the single most important unit of currency. I’m looking forward to helping Sorare expand their partnerships with football leagues, clubs, and players worldwide to build the best fantasy experience that exists,” comments Piqué, chairman of Kosmos.
Kosmos is a sports and media investment group founded and chaired by Piqué, and backed by Hiroshi Mikitani – Chairman and CEO of Rakuten. It is building a global portfolio of high-quality sports, media, and entertainment companies.
According to the company, 5 European 2020 Champions have all launched their digital cards on Sorare this year – Bayern Munich, Juventus, Paris Saint-Germain, Porto, and Zenit with more Champions coming before the end of the year. Since opening the beta in December 2019, 80 football clubs have joined Sorare from 11 countries, claims the company.
Sorare claims to offer an opportunity for clubs and leagues to allow their fans to express their fandom with digital cards, amidst the current lack of live games. It also helps them to expand their international brand by reaching several untapped audiences of fans. It is effectively opening up a new revenue stream for clubs, by creating a new licensing category: fantasy football licensing.
“Sports collectors have been able to collect and trade player cards in the physical world for decades. We could not collect digitally without digital scarcity. The Ethereum blockchain has changed this paradigm,” says the company in a blog post.
“Sorare uses Ethereum to create scarce officially-licensed football player cards. Users can freely buy and sell scarce digital collectibles representing football players on our online marketplace. More importantly, these cards are not only collectibles. They provide valuable utility in our fantasy football game where you can compete and earn rewards every week,” explains Sorare.
According to the company, its current total addressable market is at the intersection of fantasy football and sports cards and memorabilia that is respectively estimated at $5.4B (nearly €4.40b) and $18.6B (approx €15.1B) globally. It acquired more than 50,000 users in 2020 and expects to see these numbers more than triple next year. Sorare’s card sales volume grew by more than 1000 per cent in 2020, with a monthly card sales volume of over €1,200,000 in November 2020.
Apart from Piqué, the company is funded by Tier 1 VCs such as e.ventures, Partech, Cassius, and world-class footballer André Schuerrle. Back in July this year, Sorare had raised $4M (nearly €3.26M) seed round led by e.ventures and followed by Partech, Fabric Ventures, Semantic Ventures, Cygni Capital, World-Cup champion André Schürrle and existing investors.