Sometimes multiple events can all culminate together at the same time. World Wrestling Entertainment Inc. (“WWE”) has simultaneously switched its trading card partnership and made a significant move into non-fungible tokens (NFTs). Making multiple moves isn’t unheard of, but this represents yet another blow to one of the collectibles’ industries top players.
As for the trading card market, WWE has announced that The Panini Group is entering a multi-year agreement to become WWE’s exclusive trading card and collectible sticker partner. This represents another exit from Topps, and unlike Topps’ sports card loss the WWE agreement is set to start in the first quarter of 2022. WWE and Panini are said to be launching “multiple trading card products during the first year” through Panini America, and Panini is also shown to be developing the new trading card products for WWE.
As for NFT’s, WWE has announced a pact with Blockchain Creative Labs. This is new NFT business and creative studio that has been formed by FOX Entertainment and Bento Box Entertainment. The NFT pact is shown to be a multi-year agreement which will launch an NFT marketplace for licensed WWE tokens and collectibles. Wednesday’s press release also indicated that the WWE partnership is the first content alliance with an external property beyond FOX.
The press release also showed that WWE will create the NFTs to celebrate its entire catalog of digital assets. This would include the most iconic moments. It is also shown to represent past and present WWE Superstars and premier events (including WrestleMania and SummerSlam).
The marketplace being launched, which will be named and given a launch date in the coming weeks, is said to “serve as a hub for consumers to purchase, trade, sell and store digital tokens that will be authenticated through Eluvio’s blockchain and will be interoperable across Ethereum and other blockchains.” Fans will create a WWE digital wallet through Eluvio to both act as a vault and to buy collectibles with traditional currency or cryptocurrency.
Earlier in 2020, FOX Entertainment and Bento Box Entertainment entered the NFT business by forming Blockchain Creative Labs along with a $100 million creator fund.
The stock market already valued WWE at about $4.5 billion prior to the news. As for the rest and how WWE and its new partners will benefit, that is now up to the companies to win or lose.