The NFL Players Association cannot collect $41.8 million in NFT-related revenue
The National Football League Players Association (NFLPA) failed to collect tens of millions of dollars in licensing and sponsorship revenue related to the crypto industry during the 2022 fiscal year, The Athletic reported, citing sources familiar with the matter.
The NFLPA disclosed in its annual filings with the U.S. Department of Labor that OneTeam Partners owes the union $41.8 million in revenue earned through sponsorship and licensing agreements using the players’ brands.
The NFPL said in its annual report:
“As of February 28, 2023, there is uncertainty surrounding the collection of certain receivables from OneTeam Partners, LLC.”
NFT revenues are missing
OneTeam Partners is a company that helps secure sponsorship deals and other licensing opportunities for professional and collegiate athletes using their brands.
It was created as a joint venture in 2019 by the NFLPA, the Major League Baseball Players Association and private equity to oversee and manage the sports associations’ commercial operations.
The company also handles agreements for merchandising and the creation of player cards.
Sources familiar with the trade told The Athletic that the missing revenue is related to the NFTs launched in partnership with the NFL through 2021 and 2022.
They also told the news outlet that the missing revenue likely stems from the NFL’s deal with Dapper Labs, which operates NFTs for the NFL and NBA.
The explosion of NFTs during 2021 and the subsequent success of some of the first sports-related NFTs led to a culture of revenue-sharing deals in the industry, including those signed with many sports leagues.
Some of these deals were signed with amounts in excess of $10 million, according to a Sportico report.
However, the subsequent collapse of the crypto market caused a rapid drop in the value of NFTs, causing interest in the burgeoning sector to wane significantly. This led to a severe impact on the revenues of companies primarily involved in NFTs – including Dapper Labs.
Dapper Labs has been struggling amid the prolonged crypto winter and its impact on the NFT sector. The company has laid off nearly half of its employees since the market crash in May 2022 and reported a significant drop in revenue.
In an effort to mitigate some of the difficulties, the company asked to renegotiate the terms of its deal with the NFL in April.
Sources told Sportico at the time that the discussions could potentially see revenue-sharing guarantees reduced by 50% or more.
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