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Sorare, a sports NFT platform, raised a Series B round of $680 million at a $4.3 billion valuation. The financing by SoftBank has become the biggest Series B round in Europe.

Launched in late 2019 as an alternative to traditional fantasy sports games, Sorare minted football player cards as NFTs. Users can build a weekly lineup of five players to compete against other fantasy teams. The performance of the users depends on the players’ actual performance on the field.

The NFT ensures that the cards are scarce, proves ownership, and enables transparent trading. Users can also make money off Sorare as the top-ranked line-ups win some cryptocurrency weekly, or the cards can be sold for a profit. The blockchain platform ensures traceability in these transactions.

More than 180 leading football clubs, such as Paris-Saint Germain, Liverpool, and Inter Milan, have already officially licensed on the platform. It also signed a league-wide contract with Spain’s LaLiga. The goal is to sign every team in the top 20 football leagues worldwide by the end of 2022.

Sorare platform showed huge growth year-to-date, increasing monthly active users 34 fold from Q2 of 2020 to Q2 of 2021. In 2021, the platform has already generated $150 million in sales.

The platform operates in the NFT market, which accumulated $2.5 billion in sales in the first half of 2021 and the same again in August alone, amid the sports card market was worth $13.82 billion in the U.S. alone in 2019, as well as the fantasy sports industry, which is expected to be worth $48 billion by 2027. Such growth opportunities for Sorare likely became a major contributing factor to Sorare’s $4.3 billion valuations.

The raised funding will be used to expand into other sports, such as women’s sports, and increase the platform’s global reachability. The company is planning to open offices in the U.S., launch marketing campaigns, and support projects promoting youth sports activity, as well as launch other startups in Sorare’s ecosystem.

“We are continuously shifting towards digital experiences to celebrate and hone our passions,” said Nicolas Julia, CEO and co-founder of Sorare. “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,” he added.

Moreover, the startup has signed national football teams during Euro 2020. Sorare managed to land Belgium, Germany, and France’s national teams, and it will likely increase this roster in the run-up to the Football World Cup in Qatar next year.

Apart from SoftBank, other participants in the investment include Atomico, D1 Capital Eurazeo, Bessemer Ventures, IVP, and Liontree as well as previous backers Benchmark, Accel, and Headline.

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