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NHL Looking at NBA Top Shot as Possible Future Revenue Stream

The NHL is keeping their eyes on the popularity that is the collecting craze known as NBA Top Shot. Could the league get involved?

If you’re not totally sure what NBA Top Shot is… or for that matter what digital trading cards are, you’re not alone. That said, get to know the name because it’s quickly becoming one of the fastest growing trends in the collectibles space and the NHL has taken notice.

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On Saturday’s Headlines report, NHL insider Elliotte Friedman tried to explain what NBA Top Shot is for fans who might be unfamiliar with the business. He noted he didn’t quite understand it himself, but he knew it was something to keep an eye on.

Perhaps we can offer a bit more insight as to what it is, why it’s so popular and why the NHL wants in.

Basically, NBA Top Shot is an online marketplace for buying, selling and trading digital NBA cards moments. Imagine going to your local sports card store and buying a box of the new Upper Deck Series 1 cards of 2021. You don’t know what’s inside the packs, but half the fun is opening the cards, seeing who you get, if you snag a rare insert… Or, imagine opening those packs, not getting what you want, then going back to the store to buy that card you’re missing or investing in a rare card like a Alexis Lafreniere rookie and hoping it goes up in value.

Digital sports collectibles is very similar, but it’s all done online.

Instead of physical cards, NBA Top Shot has been licensed by the NBA to put together what they call “Moments”. These moments are essentially plays from games that have been repackaged from different angles, spruced up and made to look cool. Some are common, some are rare. Many are worth a lot of money because the trend is so popular, there is a limited number of these “Moments” available and the NBA and the players are behind it.

There really isn’t anything special about these video highlights collectors are buying. These clips can be found online for free through YouTube or other platforms. What makes them special is the fact they are being presented a bit differently and there are only so many of them to go around. If you own one of these “Moments” you are among the select few collectors who do. And, because NBA players have started to get behind the new digital collection model, a number of players have started offering incentives to buy their Moments.

How Does NBA Top Shot Work?

First, there are a couple of things you need to know. The entire business model is based on block chain technology and crypto currency.

That’s going to scare some people off at first because not everyone understands the crypto market or what block chain technology is. That’s fair. If it’s not something you want to get into, this method of collecting and potentially making money might not be for you.

We won’t get into a full breakdown of the crypto craze, but if you’re already in this space or aren’t afraid to get involved, simply go to the NBA Top Shot site and sign up.

The second thing you need to know is that this is not a terribly inexpensive way to get started in the collecting world. First, the packs will range in price. You can buy some “common” Moments for less than $20. Or, if you have more money than you know what to do with, you can hunt for “rare” moments. A LeBron games dunk sold for $208,000 US this week in the Top Shot marketplace.

Third, expect to wait a while to buy packs that are selling out quickly. With the explosion that is the popularity of NBA Top Shot, releases of new Moments that happen on a regular basis mean that some 200,000 people were in virtual “line” to buy the ~11,600 packs made available (for $99 each). So your chance of landing one was about 6 per cent and that will only get worse as more people hop on board the bandwagon.

Connor McDavid Edmonton Oilers
Connor McDavid Edmonton Oilers retro jersey

Why the NHL Wants In

The popularity of NBA Top Shot, the fact that the NBA is licensing this and that the players themselves are hugely into the market is what the NHL has noticed. They see a way to earn more money. The players see it too.

And, as wealthy NHLers get involved, fans will get involved too. That interaction will increase awareness of the game and offer more reasons for collectors to tune in, follow the product and spend money on the game.

Imagine seeing Connor McDavid flying down the ice and going through four defenders before scoring a highlight reel goal. Then imagine opening that moment in a digital collector pack and having the option to sell it, display it or hang onto it, knowing you’re one of only a handful of people in the world to own it.

The NBA has bet on the fact that there are collectors out there with the money to blow this market up. The NHL is hoping hockey fans can do the same.

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