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Canelo vs Saunders: DAZN selling fight-related NFTs

It worked for the NBA, tacos, and a group of flatulent friends. Why shouldn’t DAZN try to make a little money, too?

Canelo Alvarez v Sergey Kovalev - Final News Conference Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

DAZN is minting and selling or auctioning off a series of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) tied to this weekend’s Canelo Alvarez vs Billy Joe Saunders super middleweight title fight. The tokens on offer come in a variety of grades: Legendary and Gold tokens are one-of-a kind and only available through auction sale. Lower-tier offerings at the Silver and Bronze level are available in limited quantity (50 and 100, respectively) and at fixed, buy-it-now prices.

If you’re completely unfamiliar with NFTs, you can learn a lot of the basics from this brief explainer. Or, if you’re not much of a reader, there’s a surprisingly effective and concise breakdown available in this recent Saturday Night Live sketch:

The best way to think about an NFT may be like a one of a kind object, like a fighter’s gloves from a specific fight, or a limited edition collectible, like a poster or an album with only a small number of copies. A piece of art, a sports card, a game-worn jersey — if an item is both appealing and scarce or unique, it can fetch dizzying sums of money.

How to Watch Canelo vs Saunders

Date: Saturday, May 8 | Start Time: 8:00 pm ET
Location: AT&T Stadium - Arlington, TX
Streaming: DAZN
Online Coverage:

The scarcity is the trick, though. You can buy a poster of Van Gogh’s “The Starry Night” that’s bigger than the actual painting for less than $5. But the one-of-a-kind original is only on display at New York’s Museum of Modern Art.

For physical items, collectors (and those who would take their money for collectibles) have found many ways to distinguish special articles for higher-value sale: limited edition numbering, autographs and signatures, and certificates of authenticity being some of the most common.

NFTs are the digital equivalent: A method of distinguishing things to make them limited or unique, and to confirm the provenance and chain-of-ownership for each “token”. That’s done through blockchain technology. And, if you’re not familiar with blockchain, I invite you to go back to that Vox explainer for a basic overview of the technology. You can also go to a blockchain or cryptocurrency conference near you. There you will find a sizable population of devotees eager to sweatily, breathlessly explain the concepts to you in far greater detail than any reasonable person could possibly desire.

If you’re so inclined, you can bid on a Legendary token predicting a Billy Joe Saunders knockout. If that knockout comes to pass, you would not only own a unique digital item commemorating it, you’d also get tickets to a future Saunders fight, signed gloves, and “a personalized video from Matchroom’s Eddie Hearn,” if that package entices you to bid. Right now, there’s only one bidder, and they’re offering one-twentieth of what a Canelo KO is currently getting.

What are the odds this generates significant money for DAZN? Well, the NFT phenomenon seems to have worked out reasonably well for pro basketball. Charmin sold a GIF of toilet paper and a poop emoji for just under $5,000. Taco Bell sold pictures of their food. And a group of people spent a year recording themselves farting, then sold an NFT for a 52 minute MP3 of the results for just over $750, converted to current exchange rate prices for Etherium blockchain’s currency, Ether.

Is a Canelo Alvarez fight more appealing than listening to strangers fart for almost an hour? That’s for the NFT market to decide, I suppose. But if it is, DAZN should do quite well financially. Put aside the uncertain auction prices for the Legendary and Gold tokens; if they can just sell out all of their fixed price lower-tier Silver and Bronze level tokens, they’ll gross around $3.5 million.

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