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ESPN VP of Sports Business Development & Innovation Kevin Lopes Makes Sense of “NFTs”

A 101 look at NFTs and the digital world, in conjunction with ESPN’s first-ever NFT launch featuring Tom Brady

In 2022, the acronym ‘NFT’ is coming up more and more on television, in conversation and across newsfeeds. People are purchasing them, brands use them in marketing, yet how many truly know what a ‘NFT’ is or the value of them?

First and foremost, getting the obvious out the way: NFT stands for non-fungible token, and that is a unique unit of data that cannot be replicated, and is stored on a blockchain. Now what is a blockchain?

Front Row caught up with Kevin Lopes, Vice President of Sports Business Development & Innovation at ESPN, to break down the NFT basics and share more about ESPN’s first-ever NFT launch in collaboration with Autograph.

Can you go further into what a NFT is?
A: A NFT is basically a digital asset that represents pretty much anything. From real-life objects to iconic moments, many simply classify a NFT as digital art or a digital collectible. You buy/sell NFTs online, and have a unique coding set that allows NFTs to guarantee scarcity and henceforth create value. In a similar way to how sneaker drops occur, NFTs often have a limited run before selling out and increasing its worth.

What is blockchain technology?
A: Blockchain is a secure, decentralized, digitally distributed public ledger that allows information to be distributed throughout a larger network. The most famous blockchain is the bitcoin blockchain that functions as a cryptocurrency, but other blockchains like Polygon and Flow are being used primarily to create NFT’s.

 Do you have to buy NFTs with cryptocurrency?
A: No. Many NFTs are Ethereum-based tokens and purchased with Ethereum cryptocurrency. However, NFTs can also be purchased with more traditional payment methods.

 What is the value for a brand to be in the NFT market?
A: The primary value for ESPN is to create a deeper and interactive relationship directly with our fans around the content they love.

Can you talk about ESPN’s first-ever NFT collaboration?
A: ESPN just launched its first-ever NFT in collaboration with Autograph.

The NFT collections will drop on key dates in April to promote ESPN+’s Man In The Arena. The Man in the Arena collection features three ESPN NFT’s illustrating Brady’s career, wins and achievements. Learn more by visiting espnpressroom.com.

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