Stockhead: ‘Many AFL players have a real passion for blockchain gaming and NFTs’: Be Media CEO

Perth-based digital agency Be Media, acquired by Animoca Brands this week, has revealed its first initiative with the GameFi investment giant. And it’s a big one – a collaboration with the AFL to release the league’s first batch of official NFTs.

Earlier this month the AFL announced a five-year partnership with Hong Kong-based Animoca Brands, developer of The Sandbox metaverse, also striking a revenue-distribution deal that involves the AFL Players Association.

Through the Animoca/Be Media partnership, the AFL will also be able to access the global Animoca Brands ecosystem, which consists of more than 170 different companies.

It’s all part of Animoca’s expansion plans to promote and push the crypto/blockchain gaming and NFT sectors into the mainstream through recognisable corporate entities. Animoca has bought into Be Media to help achieve this goal, and needless to say, the AFL initiative, known as “AFL Mint”, is a damn good grab first up.

The AFL Mint is essentially an NFT marketplace and will be the only official place to pick up licensed AFL and AFLW NFTs – such as the “Genesis” collection (see images below), which will be the first drop. A release date on those is expected in the coming weeks.

The marketplace will be offering exclusive AFL items showcasing major moments (yep, such as Buddy’s 1,000th goal) and champion players, as well as various metaverse-based and real-world utilities.

To get a bit more perspective on it all, Stockhead punted some questions over to Be Media’s CEO and founder Jordan Fogarty…

‘You will see many AFL players’ profile pics changing to NFTs’

Hi Jordan. Congrats on the Animoca and AFL partnerships. Can you provide any specific details about the first AFL NFTs? What will those Genesis footy NFTs entail? 

Thanks. We can’t reveal everything yet, but the Genesis balls will be special. They’ll be an access pass that we will continually add value and interoperability to both game-day experiences as well as being your metaverse pass. You’ll use your Genesis ball NFT to enter The Sandbox and many other exciting Animoca Brands digital experiences.

Cool. So both utility and scarcity, is that what will give them their value? 

Yep, we’re turbo-charging those aspects – scarcity and the collector’s item angle, and they’ll be digital assets with true utility and interoperability. We see this as such an exciting technology to bridge the physical and virtual worlds in endless creative ways.

Be Media CEO and founder Jordan Fogarty (image supplied)

NFTs can be a divisive medium – they definitely have their fair share of critics and naysayers. Do you see Be Media’s role as partly one of trying to educate about the benefits of NFTs and crypto?

Absolutely. I remember when I first started getting into the space years ago, without a huge amount of understanding of the different parts of it, it felt overwhelming and hard to get a true sense of the true possibilities and incredible social and economic shifts for the better this space will have.

So what is it specifically about NFTs that you think is game-changing? 

It’s the simple fact you can actually own your digital assets. This is such an enormous point. We aren’t really even aware that for all this time we’ve essentially handed over all our rights to the major tech platforms to own every post, every bit of content we’ve shared.

Gaming platforms have made fortunes, and what have we got in return for our effort and participation? This is all changing now, and NFTs are an early step in this big shift where users can own, profit and benefit from their digital experiences.

And what about the AFL players themselves – do you have a sense that at least some of them are into this and have a decent handle on crypto and NFTs?  

Yeah, there are actually many players that have a real passion for both blockchain gaming and NFTs. You will see many players being sponsored by different crypto companies and also their profile pics changing to different NFTs all the time.

We’re very excited to work across all layers of the league to maximise the value we can bring to fans. I’ve been an AFL fan since I was a kid, so it’s really exciting on many levels to bring this to life.