Adidas and Nike take their rivalry to NFTs

Over the past year, non-fungible tokens (NFTs) have stormed to the fore. These digital assets, which can represent both digital and physical items, exist as a unique code on a blockchain and represent ownership of items such as audio, photos, and videos. 

From singer Shawn Mendes selling an NFT of himself as an avatar holding a guitar, to Paris Hilton’s hummingbird animation that initially sold for $10,000, an array of celebrities and corporations alike have become involved in this space, thereby propelling the status of NFTs and transforming NFT related company stocks into an emerging investment opportunity.

But it isn’t just celebrities who have jumped on the NFT bandwagon. Google Trends has revealed that, for the first time, global searches for the term “NFT” have exceeded those for “Crypto”, thereby indicating a surging worldwide popularity among consumers and at large.1

But before making a final decision on which NFT exposed company stocks to buy, take a closer look at these companies that are leading the charge in the world of NFTs.

Adidas enters the metaverse

In December, sportswear brand Adidas launched a line of NFTs called Into the Metaverse, in partnership with NFT brand Bored Ape Yacht Club, NFT comic series Punks Comics, and the pseudonymous crypto investor who goes by the name GMoney. The Metaverse is a collection of interoperable shared online worlds that allow users to move from platform to platform with the same avatar, wealth, and digital possessions.

By purchasing these NFTs, buyers receive access to physical and digital Adidas products. The merchandise that NFT owners will receive, including sweatshirts, beanies, and other clothing items, will sport the logos of Adidas’ partners in this venture as well. 

In anticipation of the NFT release, each collaborator gave fans a teaser of what to expect, including a Bored Ape wearing an Adidas sweater (Bored Apes being digital collectibles themselves).

The decision to enter the NFT space seems to have proven profitable for Adidas, with the company earning $23 million over the NFT’s release weekend. In total, the company sold 29,620 NFTs within the three-day period following the release on Friday, 17 December.2

Prior to Adidas’ decision to immerse itself in the NFT world, its partner in the endeavor, Bored Ape Yacht Club, had already boosted confidence in NFTs with its strong financial performance since being established in April 2021.

This company boasts an exclusive club of 10,000 NFTs, all of which sold out within 12 hours of their sales’ launch3. Acting as virtual avatars that are available for use on social media profiles, these NFTs also provide their owners with access to an exclusive social club. 

With the cheapest Bored Ape NFT available for a 52 ether (the equivalent of $210,000), these NFTs have generated much demand despite their hefty price tags4. Some of the celebrities that have laid their hands on these NFTs include late night television host Jimmy Fallon, NBA star Steph Curry, and musicians DJ Khaled and Post Malone.

While Adidas and their partners may have generated much media buzz with their NFT release, they are not the only forward-thinkers looking to make waves in the NFT world.

Just do it

Fierce sportswear competitor Nike has also made significant inroads with their initial NFT venture. The company’s first major foray into the virtual world came in November, when it decided to launch a virtual world called NIKELAND inside the online game platform Roblox. 

With buildings and facilities modelled after Nike’s real-world headquarters, NIKELAND provides players with a number of mini games to participate in as well as the option to create their own games using an array of virtual sports equipment. There is also the opportunity for players to gear their avatars up in digital Nike merchandise.5

Following this endeavor, Nike decided to join Adidas in the NFT space by acquiring RTFKT, an NFT company that uses in-game engines and augmented reality to create virtual products and experiences. According to Nike CEO John Donahoe, the acquisition will enable Nike to engage with an untapped digital community and therefore expand brand engagement.6

Entering the sports arena

It’s not just fashion brands that are entering the NFT market. As you continue your search for the best NFT exposed company stocks to get your hands on, you’ll want to get an understanding of how NFTs have impacted the sports world.

In December, NBA team Golden State Warriors announced a collaboration with online trading platform FTX, marking the first cryptocurrency and NFT-based collaboration in professional sports.

Since immersing themselves in the NFT marketplace, the Warriors have made significant sales transactions, including the sale of the team’s 1-of-1 6x World Championship Ring for 285.111ETH ($871,591.27 USD) — the highest sport NFT sale of all time.7

Another sports brand that is making inroads in the NFT space is fantasy sports betting company DraftKings. The company recently entered into a deal with the NFL Player’s Association which will enable DraftKings to create NFTs using real players’ likenesses. DraftKings believes that this initiative will enable the company to fuel engagement with sports fans. It is also believed that this collaboration will enable the company to develop a new revenue stream.8

Involvement through investment

Not all of the top NFT-related company stocks  are those that create NFTs from the ground up. One company that has impacted the NFT sector through its investment strategy is Voyager Digital.

Primarily a crypto trading app, Voyager has also enjoyed a rising market stock price, growing by 288.89% since the start of last year9. Furthermore, the company is looking into expanding its NFT activities in the coming year.

In November, Voyager made headlines after investing in the NFT platform Particle, which offers a new way to collect digital fine art. According to Voyager co-founder Stephen Ehrlich, this investment will allow the sale of NFTs to Voyager’s existing customer base of over 2.7 million users10. This provides a new source of entertainment to users while fueling a new earnings possibility for the company.

This investment came after Voyager injected $75 million into crypto market trading firm Alameda Research; a move that Erlich explained would help Voyager to break into the NFT market. With Voyager already having strong relations with NFL player Rob Gronkowski and Nascar driver Landon Cassill, Erlich also explained that the company is looking to develop its own NFTs in 2022.11

Tapping into a billion-dollar industry

Balmain is one name on a growing list of high end fashion brands that has begun expanding into NFTs over the past year. Following the release of a pair of NFT trainers that provides access to VIP experiences, Balmain has gone on to pursue multiple NFT projects.

Balmain’s first NFT — the digital Flame Dress designed by Vogue Singapore — sold in September for 23 BNB (Binance Coin [BNB)]is a cryptocurrency that can be used to trade and pay fees on the Binance cryptocurrency exchange. It was worth about $14,000 at the time). The second NFT project saw four Spring/Summer 2022 collection pieces being transformed into eight NFTs. 

Balmain is not the only fashion label to make recent inroads into the NFT space. In May, Gucci sold a video NFT for a price of $20,000. Should transactions of this scale continue in the near future, NFTs could fuel significant fashion market growth. Investment firm Morgan Stanley projected that, by 2030, NFTs and metaverse gaming could constitute 10 percent of the luxury goods market while providing a revenue opportunity of €50 billion ($56.61 billion).12

NFTs as an investment instrument

In the third quarter of 2021, NFT sales surged to $10.7 billion, a figure which is eight times higher than the previous quarter13. But while the short-term popularity of these digital assets has been proven, there is also a large potential for future growth that may solidify the status of NFTs as long-term investments. In addition to Morgan Stanley’s aforementioned projection for NFTs in the fashion industry, Deloitte predicts that sports NFTs could account for over $2 billion worth of transactions in 2022 — more than double that of 2021.14 Should such projections ring true, then it may be worth your time to begin assessing NFT-related company stocks before the peak of the boom gets underway.

For current performance and holdings, please visit defianceetfs.com/NFTZ


1  NFT global searches surpass crypto, bitcoin first time ever this week, December 23 2021, https://seekingalpha.com/news/3783012-nft-google-searches-surpass-crypto-bitcoin-first-time-ever-this-week

2 “How Adidas Made $23 Million From Its First NFT Drop”, 23 December 2021, https://www.makeuseof.com/how-adidas-made-23-million-from-nft-drop/ 

3 “The Bored Ape Yacht Club NFTs sold out in 12 hours and hit CryptoPunk pricing”, May 2, 2021, https://www.morganlinton.com/the-bored-ape-yacht-club-nfts-sold-out-in-12-hours-and-hit-cryptopunk-pricing/

4 “Bored Ape Yacht Club: The NFT collection that’s becoming a real offline brand”, December 22 2021, https://www.cnet.com/how-to/explaining-the-bored-ape-yacht-club-nft-collection/

5 “Nike Creates NIKELAND on Roblox”, November 18 2021, https://news.nike.com/news/five-things-to-know-roblox

6 “NIKE, Inc. Acquires RTFKT”, December 13 2021, https://news.nike.com/news/nike-acquires-rtfkt

7 “Warriors Announce First-Of-Its-Kind Partnership with FTX”, December 14 2021, https://www.nba.com/warriors/warriors-ftx-partnership-20211214

8 “DraftKings signs up real NFL players to use in ‘gamified NFT collections’ next season”, December 12 2021, https://www.theverge.com/2021/12/12/22829795/nft-game-gambling-draftkings-nflpa-polygon

9 Google Finance, accessed December 26 2021, https://www.google.com/finance/quote/VYGVF:OTCMKTS?sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjZ5prH2IH1AhVtRvEDHcnUBwEQ3ecFegQIGhAc&window=YTD

10 Voyager Makes an Investment in Particle, a New Way to Own, Collect, and Experience Fine Art through NFTs, November 18 2021, https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/voyager-makes-an-investment-in-particle-a-new-way-to-own-collect-and-experience-fine-art-through-nfts-301428262.html

11 “Voyager Looking to Enter NFT Space in 2022, CEO Says”, October 29 2021, https://blockworks.co/voyager-looking-to-enter-nft-space-in-2022-ceo-says/

12 “Exclusive: Why Balmain is betting big on NFTs”, December 3 2021, https://www.voguebusiness.com/fashion/exclusive-why-balmain-is-betting-big-on-nfts

13  “NFT sales surge to $10.7 bln in Q3 as crypto asset frenzy hits new highs”, October 4 2021, https://www.reuters.com/technology/nft-sales-surge-107-bln-q3-crypto-asset-frenzy-hits-new-highs-2021-10-04/

14  “SPORTS NFT SALES PROJECTED TO DOUBLE IN 2022, DELOITTE SAYS”, December 1 2021, https://www.sportico.com/business/tech/2021/sports-nft-prediction-2022-deloite-2-billion-1234647592/