Fantasy football startup Sorare raises $680m Series B to create next sports entertainment giant leveraging NFTs

Fantasy football startup Sorare raises $680m Series B to create next sports entertainment giant leveraging NFTs

Published: 21-09-2021 08:59:00 | By: Pie Kamau | hits: 4830 | Tags:

Sorare, the fantasy football platform, announced it has raised $680 million in Series B financing led by Softbank, with participation from Atomico, Bessemer Ventures, D1 Capital, Eurazeo, IVP and Liontree; and existing investors Benchmark, Accel and Headline.

The investment, Europe's biggest ever Series B, gives Sorare a new valuation of $4.3 billion. Sorare will use this investment to rapidly accelerate its mission to build a revolutionary gaming experience that sets a new standard for how fans worldwide connect to the clubs and players they love. Sorare will also expand into other sports so that everyone can celebrate their passion and experience the unique world of NFT fantasy sports.

Sorare operates at the intersection of the fast growing non-fungible token (NFT) market ($2.5 billion already sold this year), sports cards ($5 billion) and global fantasy sports ($48 billion by 2027), creating a multi-billion-dollar total addressable market opportunity. Sorare cards are NFTs, meaning each card is unique, scarce, and its ownership is publicly verifiable via the Ethereum blockchain. It is a secure and transparent model of digital ownership. Through collecting, owning and trading these limited edition digital collectibles, Sorare is designing a unique game experience where users can truly own their game and build real world connections.

Nicolas Julia, CEO and Co-founder, Sorare: "We are continuously shifting towards digital experiences to celebrate and hone our passions. This is also true for sports, where clubs, players and their passionate fans are looking for new ways to connect with each other online. Sorare's game is born from our love for football and our expertise in tech. We saw the immense potential that blockchain and NFTs brought to unlock a new way for football clubs, footballers, and their fans to experience a deeper connection with each other. We are thrilled by the success we have seen so far, but this is just the beginning. We believe this is a huge opportunity to create the next sports entertainment giant, bringing Sorare to more football fans and organisations, and to introduce the same proven model to other sports and sports fans worldwide."

The company has experienced tremendous growth this year with over $150 million worth of cards traded on the platform since January. The number of monthly active paying Sorare users grew by 34X between Q2 2020 and Q2 2021, with quarterly sales increasing by 51X over the same period. 

Sorare has already established a leading position in the fast-growing football NFT space; the company has over 600,000 registered users on the platform and has licensed players from over 180 football organizations, including Real Madrid, Liverpool, Juventus, the French and German Football Federation. The company's ambition in football is to onboard the top 20 football leagues globally and the top 50 football associations, across not just men's football but also women's football. This next-generation gaming experience allows leagues and clubs to expand their international brand by reaching an untapped audience of fans. Sorare is effectively opening up a new traceable and sustainable revenue stream for professional sports organisations globally.

The funding will be used to rapidly accelerate the company's growth within football while also allowing Sorare to replicate its model in other sports, expand its world-class team by hiring across key roles, and launch ambitious marketing campaigns with partners, athletes, and media companies. Sorare also plans to open its first US office soon and to launch new initiatives to support sports activities for young people and fund other startups in the Sorare ecosystem.

Football players Gerard Piqué, Antoine Griezmann, Rio Ferdinand and César Azpilicueta also participated in the round. In addition to the investment, Marcelo Claure, CEO of SoftBank Group International and COO of SoftBank Group will join Sorare's Board of Directors.

Marcelo Claure, CEO, SoftBank Group International: "Sorare sits at the intersection of two really exciting industries in digital collectibles and fantasy sports. It's evident from Sorare's amazing growth this year alone that football fans around the world have been eagerly waiting for the "game within the game" that Sorare provides. We're pleased to be joining them on this journey and are really excited to see what the company will achieve in its next phase of growth."