NHL Opens Hockey Collectibles NFT Marketplace ‍

The NHL said on Thursday that it has teamed up with the NFT marketplace Sweet to develop a distinctive NFT marketplace and collections of NFTs.

Executive vice president of business development and innovation for the NHL, David Lehanski, predicts that the league's market will fall somewhere between a full-fledged NFT trading platform and a website that offers one-time NFT drops.

The NHL intends to create an NFT marketplace with limited drops so that fans may sample both. The NHL's Sweet marketplace is scheduled to debut in October, just in time for the 2022–2023 season to get underway.

The NHL aims to "gamify" NFTs with "questing and collecting" components so that fans would join and be rewarded with benefits comparable to other NFTs, according to Lehanski, but there is also a game element at play here.

Additionally, certain NFTs will be dynamic and alter over time in response to a player's performance. NFTs will also include "cinematic game clips from previous and present NHL seasons," as well as surprise packs of NFTs that can be seen in "3D interactive trophy chambers," according to a release.

The NHL hasn't decided which blockchain it will be building on yet. It may, however, be on Polygon or Tezos based on Sweet's offers.

Lehanski stated, "We're looking at everything," and added that the NHL prioritised "cheap gas expenses" and "environmental sustainability" while choosing a blockchain.

It's important to note that the NHL is one of the biggest professional sports leagues that have most recently entered the NFT market, after initiatives by the NBA with Top Shot NFTs, the NFL with a "play and own" game, and MLB with an upcoming NFT game.

Lehanski commented on the NHL's approach to NFTs, saying, "There was clearly a lot of temptation to possibly moving very rapidly [...] but we thought it was a little shortsighted." He added that, in his opinion, spending the time to investigate indicators like fan behaviour was worthwhile. In terms of digital collectibles and gaming, NFTs have a long-term future as relevant and meaningful items for enthusiasts.
But according to Sweet CEO Tom Mizzone, the NHL's NFTs won't just target hockey fans who are unfamiliar with cryptocurrencies; seasoned NFT collectors will also be able to take part in a way that seems natural to them.

It will undoubtedly appeal to that degen culture, he continued, but not to the extent that it excludes fancier consumer bases.

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