Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end Rob Gronkowski announced his digital sports cards recently, becoming the first pro athlete to make his own NFT card.
Gronkowski announced the news on Twitter Tuesday. “What’s up superstars? I’m dropping my own very limited edition NFT cards this Thursday,” Gronkowski said in his video.
Gronkowski’s Championship Series NFTs highlights four of his greatest Super Bowl-winning moments in 2015, 2017, 2019, and 2021 in four unique signed NFT cards. There’s also a signed refractor NFT card that features all four of his Super Bowl moments. Only 87 editions of the cards will exist, except for the refractor card. There’s only one of those.
The cards will be auctioned off on Thursday at 7 p.m. on his website, gronknft.com. The winner of the refractor card will get to attend one of his games in 2021 and meet him.
“You know, those trading cards you have in person [and] … you open the package. Well, that’s what it is going to kind of be but it’s going to be digitally,” Gronkowski told TMZ Sports. “It’s going to be unique. It’s going to be awesome.”
An NFT card, a non-fungible token, is an authentic digital asset stored on a blockchain for “digitally buying and selling art and other media” according to Forbes’ Abram Brown. NFTs have been booming of late, growing from $42 million in 2017 to $338 million in market value.
Despite its growth, Brown describes the market as “a bit bubbly”, noting the risks in buying NFTs. He added that “the NFT market is largely speculative and probably will have the wild price swings their cryptocousins have experience of their past few years.”
Gronkowski told TMZ Sports said he heard of digital collectibles before, but its recent growth really got his attention.
“It has blown up so much, and no one like thought two years ago it was going to reach this far, and now it is,” Gronkowski told TMZ Sports. “I couldn’t predict the future and tell you this is the way it’s going, but as of right now, I feel like this is the way it’s going just because of the momentum that it has.”
A buyer receives a “secure certificate of ownership over a digital object,” Brown wrote, which means the owner can also sell it again. NFTs can value at six figures and beyond.
“They can’t be duplicated or split up,” Gronkowski said about the NFT cards per TMZ Sports.
He added that there’s only 87 editions of the NFT cards because of his number 87 jersey, which he wore in New England followed by Tampa.
Gronkowski doesn’t believe NFT cards will eliminate cardboard trading cards.
“It’s the original thing (and) the original thing always lasts,” Gronkowski told TMZ Sports. “It might not be as big. I think having digital trading cards now is just going to be unique, and it’s going to blow it out of the water.”
Gronkowski’s cards won’t be the first digital sports memorabilia. NBA Top Shot puts out digital cards, including a LeBron James dunk card that sold for $208,000 per NBAtopshot.com.