Malcolm Rodriguez makes history for Oklahoma State University and fans alike when he suits up and takes the field. Rodriguez’s resume boasts of 397 career tackles, the most career starts on defense, 3 consecutive All-Big 12 selections, and countless memories that fans will cherish for a lifetime as he willed his team to victory. But now he’s taking another field captive.
Earlier this week Rodriguez became the first OSU athlete to sell an NFT. And when Bob Dylan groaned the iconic phrase, “The Times They Are a-Changin’” he couldn’t possibly have known that the NFT space would erupt to the tune of $2.5 billion in sales during the first half of 2021, or even the $1.2 billion in July alone according to Forbes. Athletes like Rodriguez have astutely capitalized on their name, image, and likeness. Yet, the message remains constant: “Admit that the waters around you have grown…and you better start swimmin’ or you’ll sink like a stone.” In the olden days, athletes perhaps dreamed of a one-time revenue for a shoe deal or autographing merchandise. Conversely though, with NFTs, athletes like Malcolm collect royalties from the initial and future sale of their product every time it’s resold. Athletes are catching on.
So what are NFTs? NFT stands for “Non-Fungible Token.” “Non-Fungible” means that it is a unique, one-of-a-kind collectible that cannot be copied, replaced, or recreated. An NFT more similarly compares to a limited edition art print, or better yet a short-printed sports trading card. But unlike their physical counterpart, NFTs are a digital collector’s item, or “token.” The serial number makes it “Non-Fungible” because it cannot be replaced or destroyed for that matter. There may be different tiers or rarities like 1 out of 10, but each has a different serial number associated with it making each one of a kind.
Fast forward to now. The NBA, Nike, Taco Bell, Coca-Cola, and the like are hurriedly rushing to gain a stake in the NFT space. MAGZ Sports Agency and Crossover Collectibles alike are pioneering, except they’re doing so on behalf of the student-athlete.
CEO and founder of Crossover Collectibles, Christian Tripputi, explains, “We strive to educate, equip, and empower student-athletes to creatively and thoughtfully maximize their name, image, and likeness in a way that also connects them to their fans.” Most notably this is accomplished through the NFT experience. “We grew up with sports cards. We collected, traded, and dreamed of their monetary value with our friends. NFT’s go beyond the financial and our circle of friends simultaneously. It’s exponentially way better! Where physical collectibles were lost, damaged, or of poor quality, NFTs represent an ever-enduring, perfectly pristine artifact for fans, and get this…the best part of all is that you’re joining a community with the athlete and thousands of other fans.”
Fans are socially and emotionally immersed in the athlete’s future by means of participating in the NFT drops, promotions, and lotteries for unique autographs or merchandise. Increasingly athletes are turning to fans to play the role of decision-maker, such as what song to use for their next entrance or what to wear for a cameo. Furthermore and most significantly, though, fans are purchasing tokens (NFTs) that include VIP benefits to exclusive meet and greet events and personalized items. This is historical. The potential consumption is immeasurable in all facets of the NFT experience and as this process continues to evolve fans and their athletes will make history together.
To join his journey, you can partner with Malcolm Rodriguez and support him here. Rodriguez currently has limited edition NFTs available. In addition, you can follow him on Instagram and Twitter, purchase merchandise from MAGZ, view his drops at Crossover Collectibles, and cheer for the Oklahoma State Cowboys in the Fiesta Bowl, on 1/1/22.