Major League Soccer (MLS) will make its first home-grown foray into digital-assets on Friday by launching the league's first NFTs, the league confirmed to Crypto Investor. 

The NFT endeavor positions MLS as the latest professional sports league to explore the potential of blockchain technologies and marks the first of a number of crypto projects the U.S. athletic league is considering. 

The NFTs, some of which will be created in a live street art battle Friday evening, are the first crypto-related endeavor sanctioned by the league itself. 

But Chris Schlosser, senior vice president for media at MLS, said the league is exploring using blockchain technology across its business. 

"We're looking well beyond NFTs," he said. "NFTS are fantastic and an important product for us. But you can see blockchain-based ticketing, blockchain-based media rights, blockchain-based internal business applications and we’re actively exploring all of those use cases." 

He said future projects will likely debut in 2022.   

Schlosser said the league is also evaluating releasing more traditional collectible NFTs that more closely mimic the tangible collectibles market. 

The NBA and Dapper Labs struck crypto gold with NBA Top Shot, whose collectible "moments" have raked in more than $500 million in sales in 2021 alone. 

Other major-league sanctioned forays into the space have been uneven at best. Topps Digital released a set of digital baseball NFTs, which drew some criticism from collectors and has seen daily sales fall below $100,000 in recent days, according to NFT tracking site Cryptoslam.Io.

Schlosser said MLS league officials are taking their time approaching the NFT space. 

"I think it's really important to be considerate in the space," he said. "Not all technology is created equal. Not all marketplaces are the same. You also want to create something that resonates with the fanbase and isn’t just sloppy." 

To that effect, noting the controversy surrounding Bitcoin and Ethereum's environmental impact, the MLS set up a carbon-offset program through the service Aerial to offset their crypto-related emissions.

"As we wait for the world to all get proof-of-stake, we thought the best way we could activate in the space but also be responsible was to set up our carbon offset program," he said. 

For Friday's launch, the MLS partnered with NFT-marketplace Bitski and Street Art Collective Secret Walls. 

Four street artists will create the NFTs live starting at 6 p.m. EST, each commemorating a team playing in a significant match this weekend. 

The NFTs will then be auctioned off, starting at a minimum price of $250. Two game posters, also designed by the artists (photo above), will also be sold as open circulation mints for $96 during each game.  

Major League Soccer has seen its audience grow considerably in recent years but is still dwarfed by other major sports in the United States. 

In 2018, Bloomberg reported the league had revenue of over $800 million. By comparison, the National Football league saw a loss of $4 billion in revenue in 2020, according to Reuters, and still pulled in $12 billion. 

Major League Soccer (MLS) will make its first home-grown foray into digital-assets on Friday by launching the league's first NFTs, the league confirmed to Crypto Investor. 

The NFT endeavor positions MLS as the latest professional sports league to explore the potential of blockchain technologies and marks the first of a number of crypto projects the U.S. athletic league is considering. 

The NFTs, some of which will be created in a live street art battle Friday evening, are the first crypto-related endeavor sanctioned by the league itself. 

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