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Monumental Sports & Entertainment Simultaneously Launches NFT Collections for Two Teams in Two Different Leagues

Teams have commissioned two renowned D.C. artists to create unique collectables for the NHL’s Washington Capitals and NBA’s Washington Wizards fan base. A first-of-its-kind free NFT will be available to fans within the Wizards Collection.

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Monumental Sports & Entertainment, the ownership group of the NHL’s Washington Capitals and NBA’s Washington Wizards, today announced the first-ever NFT (non-fungible token) collection simultaneously being launched for two professional sports teams in two different leagues. Monumental Sports & Entertainment partnered with OpenSea as their marketplace for this first-time NFT collection.  

“We are thrilled to share these incredible digital collections with Caps and Wizards fans and provide them an accessible entry into the exciting world of NFTs, blockchain technology, and cryptocurrencies,” said Ted Leonsis, Founder & CEO of Monumental Sports & Entertainment.

“Monumental Sports & Entertainment is a digital-first company, and we consistently innovate to provide fans the richest, most immersive, and state-of-the-art experiences. To have the chance to do that and partner with Naturel and Rob Zilla III, two renowned D.C. digital artists – and Caps and Wizards fans, respectively – has been phenomenal.”

NFTs are one-of-a-kind digital assets that have an exclusive owner and exist through blockchain technology. NFTs are akin to collector’s items, albeit in digital form. Whereas a tangible asset may be held physically, its provenance may be difficult to validate. But an NFT’s unique metadata allows ownership to be verified and the buyer and seller operate with full transparency of all transactions and costs associated with the individual piece. Additional information on the concept of NFTs is available on each team’s website. To learn more please visit www.WashingtonWizards.com/NFT (Wizards) and www.WashCaps.com/NFT (Capitals). 

See an example of one of the Wizards NFT offerings: here

See an example of one of the Caps NFT offerings: here

Monumental Sports & Entertainment has partnered with two acclaimed, Washington D.C.-based artists with deep community roots on a respective NFT collection that celebrates the teams, their collective hometown of D.C., and the teams’ extraordinary fan bases. Famed graphic designer Lawrence Atoigue, professionally known as Naturel, has been commissioned to create the Wizards NFT collection, and renowned illustrator Robert Generette III, professionally known as Rob Zilla III, has been commissioned to create the Capitals NFT collection. These leading artists have channeled their unique abilities in design to create powerful art which is visually captivating, taps into the passion Wizards and Capitals fans feel for their teams, and celebrates the unique bond each team has with the community for which they play.  

This announcement comes ahead of making the NFTs available to the public and to educate and generate excitement for the fans ahead of the expected mid-July drop dates. And in a first-ever move for a professional sports team, the Wizards are creating a special edition NFT within its collection which will be available free of charge for the first 500 fans through a creative marketing effort, to be announced by the Wizards later this week.    

The Washington Wizards NFT Collection 

“The Washington Wizards Starting Five” is a five-part NFT series that celebrates the diverse and powerful hometown of the team, Washington D.C. The starting five of a basketball team represent the strongest players to go up against an opponent, and this Wizards NFT series does just that – it is designed for the great basketball fans in the DMV, highlighting the energy and culture that makes The District so unique.  

As part of the collection, the Wizards will also feature a specialty option, “The Sixth Man.” The sixth man is an invaluable member of any basketball team and, in many ways, is key to its success. Through this offering, the Wizards are celebrating their most invaluable asset: the Wizards fan. As a thank you to these dedicated supporters, The Sixth Man NFT will be a free NFT collectible – a first-ever such concept and disbursement program amid professional sports teams. The Wizards organization chose to create these free-of-charge NFTs to ensure that more fans have an opportunity to participate as a founding member of “The Wizards Starting Five” NFT program.  

The NFTs will be sold on OpenSea in five distinct package levels – and some package levels are available to a single buyer and others purchased by multiple buyers. (Details on how fans can pursue The Sixth Man package will be announced shortly.) But regardless of which NFT a fan purchases, the metadata authenticating the purchase will always remain unique to the individual NFT. Some packages also offer additional experiences tied to the individual NFTs being sold.  

·         First Starter: Artist Focused Auction  

This is a 1 of 1 minting to be sold in an auction format that includes unlockable content accessible only by the winner (including Naturel behind the scenes content), courtside tickets for a Wizards home game with the famed artist, Naturel, a personally commissioned portrait from Naturel, a game-worn jersey, and a meet and greet with team owner, Ted Leonsis.

·         Second Starter: Team Focused Auction  

This is a 1 of 1 minting to be sold in an auction format that includes courtside tickets for a Wizards home game and exclusive game access (early entry, watching pre-game warm-ups, attending a post-game media availability with players and coaches, etc.), dinner/meet and greet with a member of basketball operations and team alumni, a game-worn jersey, and a chance to meet team owner Ted Leonsis. 

·         Third Starter: Team Focused Option 

There will be 50 minted, available at $299.99 each that includes two tickets to a Wizards home game and a jersey from the Wizards City Edition collection.  

·         Fourth Starter: Team Gear Focused Option  

There will be 125 minted, available at $149.99 each that includes a jersey from the Wizards City Edition collection.   

·         Fifth Starter: Simple Option 

There will be 200 minted, available at $49.99 each.  

·         Sixth Man: The Sixth Man NFT   

This is a minting of 500, available to fans free of charge.  

About the Artist 

The Wizards have commissioned Lawrence Atoigue, professionally known as Naturel, an illustrative-based artist who has quickly emerged in today’s postmodern scene. His futuristic illustrations have successfully blended methods of Pop and Cubism with a surrealist vision. A social influencer counting numerous NBA stars among his 90,000+ Instagram fans – his talents have attracted the eyes and ears of other celebrity clients such as Macklemore, Swizz Beatz, and countless others. 

On Sale Date 

“The Washington Wizards Starting Five” NFT Collection will go on sale at 9:00 a.m. EDT on July 12 through 9:00 p.m. EDT on July 14, exclusively on OpenSea. The timing of the Sixth Man offering will be announced on Wizards social media channels and on the team website in the coming days. Ahead of the date of the sale, the Wizards Marketing and Communications teams will sustain a campaign to educate fans new to NFTs, create excitement around the collection, drive interest in this new frontier of digital collectibles, and introduce the artist to the Wizards fan base.    

ALL CAPS All-Digital Fan Collectibles

The Washington Capitals are offering two themed collections. The first is a celebration of the 2018 Stanley Cup Championship. For the first time ever, fans will be able to own a digital piece of Capitals history marking the 2018 Stanley Cup Championship. The Capitals are honoring the championship through two unique collectibles within this theme to commemorate the memorable season.  

·         Capitals Stanley Cup Ring  

This is a 1 of 1 minting to be sold in an auction format, featuring the artwork of the 2018 Stanley Cup Championship ring. Ted Leonsis will also present the winner with a physical replica of the Championship ring, which was designed by Jostens and presented to the Capitals players who won the 2018 Stanley Cup trophy. The package also includes VIP access to a Capitals Open Practice at MedStar Iceplex, an autographed puck, a street pole banner from the 2018 Stanley Cup parade, and a personalized, white Away Jersey, the same style worn by Capitals players during Game 5 of the 2018 Stanley Cup Final.   

·         Capitals Stanley Cup Banner 

There will be sixteen minted, available at $499.99 each. Sixteen corresponds to the sixteen wins it ultimately takes to win the Stanley Cup. The Capitals raised the 2018 Stanley Cup Championship Banner at Capital One Arena on Oct. 3, 2018.

The second theme is the Capitals Screaming Eagle Collection. The Screaming Eagle logo was first introduced and featured on Capitals jerseys in 1995 in the blue, black, and bronze color scheme. The symbol of the screaming eagle preying in the downward design direction evokes the energy, power, and speed of an attacking eagle. The Capitals will offer an exclusive Capitals Past to Present VIP experience as outlined below. To honor the year 1995, when the screaming eagle jersey was introduced, fans may purchase a limited number of 95 digital Screaming Eagle exclusive jerseys.    

·         Capitals Past to Present Experience    

This is a 1 of 1 minting to be sold in an auction format. In addition to the NFT, the buyer will receive two glass seat tickets to a 2021-22 regular season Capitals game, be able to watch warm-ups from the penalty box, participate in an ice resurfacer ride during intermission, receive a personalized Screaming Eagle jersey, and participate in a meet-and-greet with a Capitals legend.   

·         Screaming Eagle Digital Collectible Jersey   

There will be ninety-five minted, available at $100.21 each. 

About the Artist 

Robert Generette III is an award-winning illustrator, educator, and self-proclaimed “vector art monster” based in the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Area. Under the pseudonym Rob Zilla III, he uses an iPad Pro with Apple Pencil to create compelling sports illustrations and portraitures for clients ranging from Nike, NBA (Wizards & Warriors), Major League Soccer (L.A. Galaxy & DC United), ESPN, Cycle, XBOX, and Adobe.  

On Sale Date 

ALL CAPS All-Digital Fan Collectibles will go on sale at 9:00 a.m. EDT on July 15 through 9:00 p.m. EDT on July 17, exclusively on OpenSea.  

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About Monumental Sports & Entertainment

Monumental Sports & Entertainment is America’s leading sports and entertainment family. Our people, players, teams, and events bring excitement and joy to millions. We invest and innovate to consistently raise the game so we can deliver extraordinary experiences that will inspire and unite our community, our fans, and our people. To learn more, please visit www.monumentalsports.com.

Projects

MonkeyBall, a Play-to-earn NFC Game Based in Solana, has Raised $3 Million

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MonkeyBall, a crypto business developing a Solana-based play-to-earn NFT game, has raised $3 million in a seed round.

Jump Capital, CMS Holdings, Solana Capital, 6th Man Ventures, and NFX were among the investors who participated in the round.

The investment was also sponsored by angel investors such as billionaire Shalom Meckenzie, one of the top shareholders in sports betting firm DraftKings; Yoni Assia, co-founder of eToro; Nimrod Lehavi, co-founder of Simplex; and Shahaf Bar-Geffen, CEO of crypto payments startup COTI. Bar-Geffen will also serve as the chairman of MonkeyBall.

The founders and core crew of MonkeyBall are Israeli, according to Bar-Geffen. According to Bar-Geffen, the startup currently has 17 employees and is looking to hire more with the new funding.

MonkeyBall is developing a non-traditional soccer game that will reward both players and spectators. According to MonkeyBall, the game can be defined as “a cross between FIFA Street and Final Fantasy.” MonkeyBucks ($MBS) tokens will be earned by winning or attending other people’s games.

The space, according to NFX general partner Gigi Levy-Weiss, will only continue to grow. “The teams that combine the finest of blockchain know-how with exceptional game-design capabilities, that know how to leverage and connect the best of both Blockchain and ‘conventional’ gaming sectors, will be the victors,” he stated. “We’ve seen a lot of these, but MonkeyBall is the greatest!”

Unity Technologies’ engine is being used to create the game, which will be available on both desktop and mobile platforms. It will be released “around Christmas,” according to Bar-Geffen.

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Candy Digital, a Fanatics Sports NFT Studio, Raises $100 Million and is Valued at $1.5 Billion

The official NFT partner of Major League Baseball receives a substantial valuation, which includes a contribution from Peyton Manning.

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In June, candy Digital debuted as Major League Baseball’s official NFT partner, swinging for the fences with officially sanctioned MLB crypto collectibles. The Fanatics-owned studio has now raised a significant amount of money to continue expanding in the NFT industry.

Candy Digital has raised a $100 million Series A fundraising round, valuing the company at $1.5 billion, the company stated today. Candy Digital was co-founded by Fanatics CEO Michael Rubin, Galaxy Digital founder and CEO Mike Novogratz, investor and NFT entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk, and is majority-owned by Fanatics.

Connect Ventures, an investment alliance between Creative Artists Agency (CAA) and New Enterprise Associates (NEA), and Will Ventures, Gaingels, and Athletes Syndicate associated with Chaos Ventures co-led the financing with Insight Partners and Softbank’s Vision Fund 2.

Peyton Manning, a retired NFL quarterback, and other undisclosed notable players have also invested in Candy Digital. Candy Digital intends to use the funding to grow its personnel as its NFT business grows. Candy Digital has agreements with the Race Team Alliance (RTA), which represents 13 NASCAR teams, as well as several college athletes, in addition to MLB and the MLB Players Association.

An NFT functions as a blockchain-backed deed of ownership for a valuable digital asset, such as an illustration, video file, or something else entirely. So far in 2021, the market for NFTs has exploded, with $10.67 billion in trading activity in the third quarter.

Dapper Labs’ NBA Top Shot platform, which has produced more than $750 million in secondary trade volume to date, has been one of the significant parts of the developing NFT business. Dapper is also working on NFT marketplaces for the NFL and LaLiga. At the same time, Tom Brady’s Autograph NFT platform contains collectibles from several well-known athletes, including Tiger Woods and Simone Biles.

Candy Digital is now focusing on building its Major League Baseball NFT ecosystem, which mints its NFTs on Palm, an Ethereum sidechain. It just added a daily MLB Play of the Day collectible, as well as a new marketplace where players may purchase and sell NFTs.

Next week, Candy will release digital packs of MLB Icon souvenirs, which will feature video footage of a famous baseball player in a trading card-like form, akin to NBA Top Shot moments. More MLB NFT products will be released in the following weeks, including memorabilia based on the upcoming World Series.

In addition to Candy Digital, Fanatics has a new trading card firm that has already been valued at $10.4 billion after a $350 million fundraising round. Fanatics Trading Cards snatched sports licenses from established competitors such as Topps and Panini, promising the leagues and their respective players’ associations shares in the new enterprise.

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Projects

Animoca, a Hong Kong-based Blockchain Game Developer, has Reached a Valuation of $2.2 Billion

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Animoca Brands, a Hong Kong-based blockchain game developer and non-fungible token investor, has raised $2.2 billion in new funding from investors, including Ubisoft Entertainment of France and Sequoia China.

On Wednesday, Animoca said that it had secured $65 million in a round that comprised Liberty City Ventures, Dragonfly Capital, and Jack Ma’s apprentice Justin Sun, the founder of cryptocurrency platform Tron, among others. Animoca had already secured $88.9 million in a capital round in May, giving the seven-year-old firm unicorn status.

The company is known for its play-to-earn blockchain games, which allow players to collect and exchange NFTs on its platforms. An NFT is a blockchain-based digital asset that determines the ownership of art, music, films, and in-game stuff. The Sandbox, akin to the world-building computer game Minecraft, is one of Animoca’s most popular titles. Lands, wearables, and equipment are among the in-game assets that players can build and commercialize in The Sandbox.

The new funds will be used to fund strategic initiatives, acquisitions, product development, and intellectual property licenses, according to Animoca. In a statement, Yat Siu, co-founder and chairman of Animoca said, “The future is already here. With the support of our new strategic investors, Animoca Brands will continue to expand blockchain in gaming—and beyond—to provide true digital ownership to billions of gamers and internet users.”

The company’s most recent fundraising round exemplifies NFTs’ quickly expanding appeal. According to DappRadar industry analysis, trading volume for the tokens increased by 704% to $10.7 billion in the third quarter, compared to the previous quarter. In addition, billionaire Elon Musk has joined the bandwagon by selling a song as an NFT, and celebrities and athletes like Lindsay Lohan and Lionel Messi have started their own NFT collections. However, skeptics argue the nascent industry is already looking inflated, citing the red-hot space.

Animoca began as a spinoff in 2014, creating games for smartphones and tablets, some of which used cartoon characters such as Garfield and Doraemon. The company initially dabbled in blockchain games in 2017 and has since developed a slew of blockbusters, including a Formula 1-licensed play-to-earn racing game.

Animoca has also made investments in blockchain startups specializing in NFT-related businesses. DappRadar’s portfolio includes Dapper Labs, the company behind the groundbreaking blockchain game CryptoKitties, Sky Mavis, the creator of the global sensation Axie Infinity, and OpenSea, the largest marketplace for NFTs.

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