Dapper Labs won the 2022 Sports Business Award for Best Sports Technology for Popularizing Non-Fungible Tokens with its landmark release of the NBA Top Shot product. Numerous NFTs have sold for astronomical sums, including a LeBron James dunk that fetched $387,000. This year’s award was co-presented by SportTechie.
Following the success of Top Shot, Dapper Labs has entered into partnerships with the NFL, UFC and more. The company raised more than $550 million last year at a valuation of $7.6 billion.
“We want to thank our friends in the NBA, because they had a vision with us a long time ago when nobody knew what an NFT was, what was Web3 was, what blockchain is,” Dapper Labs Vice President for Basketball Partnerships Juan De Jesus said in his acceptance speech.
Many Dapper Labs core team members, including Founder and CEO Roham Gharegozluoriginally developed and released CryptoKittiesa blockchain-based game in late 2017. Although it had some success, the crypto market declined soon after, so Dapper built Top Shot during what partnerships manager Caty Tedman called “a dark time”.
“We were building at a time when there was some skepticism about crypto, where there was some skepticism about the widespread adoption of the technology, where there were a lot of people who wanted to be away from that. “, she said in an interview.
Last spring, the headlines started in.youring. To date, there have been 25 million sales for all of their products.
“When the market picked up, it was so exhilarating,” Tedman said. And there was so much to do, because the product itself needed to be strengthened for the community that came and participated in it. But it’s always exciting to be part of something that feels like a movement and the concept of sports fans having that kind of autonomy or that kind of relationship with their investment in sports.
Part of its appeal was also its accessibility, as users could purchase NFTs with a credit card instead of needing an Ethereum wallet.
“It was critical from day one,” De Jesus said later. “The team worked CryptoKitties some time ago, and they knew the experience — they understood what worked, what didn’t. So they iterated and built something they I knew it was going to resonate and was going to be accessible.
Dapper Labs and especially NBA Top Shot have become synonymous with the NFT market and have been embraced by gamers themselves.
“I like that it resonates with [the athletes] too,” Tedman said. “The concept of someone in a press conference saying ‘what I did tonight was a Top Shot’ – that sort of thing is exactly what we hoped would happen, but it gives me goosebumps even today.