NBA Top Shot, a platform by Dapper Labs that is pivotal in spearheading the NFT market’s swift expansion earlier in the year has issued an announcement stating it’s added crypto-collectibles that are based on the WNBA’s basketball league.
The NFT set–which is available this Friday and was previously teased–will arrive in the form of a single common-rarity pack. It will be available as part of the existing NBA Top Shot platform. Included in this inaugural pack will be “moments”, in the same vein as digital trading cards, that are built around actual WNBA video highlights. These highlights will be based on heavy hitters in the sport such as Brittney Griner, Skylar Diggins-Smith, Sabrina Ionescu, etc.
Dapper Labs’ Head of Partnerships Caty Tedman has said the company will work with a shortlist featuring the top players in the field and cover their moments featured in the initial series of WNBA drops. There are, however, plans to ‘ramp up’ WNBA offering in time.
“Our Goal,” Tedman said, “is really to have parity between the men’s game and the women’s game.”Caty Tedman (Head of Partnerships) – Dapper Labs
The WNBA was, according to Tedman, “always part of the conversation,” even during the earlier days of the creation of NBA Top Shot. The WNBA’s viewership growth has risen significantly, seeing a 74% year-over-year increase for the early 2021 season games all across ESPN’s platforms.
The WNBA addition is all set to arrive during the 25th anniversary of the league and features a set of brand new Top Shot ambassadors like Lisa Leslie–a retired league LEGEND– and A’ja Wilson, certified WNBA superstar. Aside from the expansion of the number of WNBA moments to be released in the near future, Dapper also seeks to not only construct a more league centric experience for the fans but also a dedicated one.
Regarding her statement, Tedman added “We’d like to create a really dedicated environment for WNBA fans that gives them the same kind of experience that NBA fans get,” she said, “knowing that there will be some crossover that we can blend together.”
Y’all ready for this? 🔥
— WNBA (@WNBA) August 25, 2021
Looking over The Horizon
NBA Top Shot saw its launch last fall. This was before the surge in popularity it saw in 2021 as the NFT market began to soar. Running on Dapper’s bespoke Flow Blockchain, it didn’t take long for Top Shot to find its way to a mainstream audience as the world at large learned about NFT’s, aka tradeable deeds of ownership to digital assets. People marveled at some of the gigantic asking prices.
The Top Shot platform did however struggle to meet demand which inevitably resulted in some downtime, not to mention marketplace limitations, as well as some other hiccups. On the matter, Tedman has said that the team has been laser-focused on how to strengthen the platform and up their game over the past couple of months by highlighting the likes of the fans and addressing any potential issues that might cause them to dip out.
Dapper’s main view of focus now sits on growth as well as dabbling in engagement opportunities. An example of this would be how NBA Top Shot earlier this month launched its first moments, giving fans the chance to buy exclusively at the NBA Summer League games over in Sin City itself; Las Vegas. On this, Tedman admitted that “It’s not scalable to have a half-dozen people with iPads executing that at every arena”. Though she did say that her team is looking into the kinda technological solutions that’d release that feature on a larger scale.
Top Shot saw its biggest trading volume period earlier in the year, as it netted $432 million in activity in both February and March together, according to CryptoSlam. The wider NFT market saw a surge over the past month as well, but Top Shot hasn’t been one of the bigger beneficiaries from that momentum, however. Top Shot’s $27 million in trading volume this month fails to compare to the likes of CryptoPunks and ArtBlocks–which have both made over $300 million in August alone–in terms of their NFT collections.
After a tally of $22.4 million in trading volume in the month of July, which was a low bar for Top Shot to set thus far in 2021, their august volume is pretty modest, and is evident that the market is picking up again. Tedman’s comments on the subject of discussion were “we’re still seeing really great engagement,” she added, “The product is stabilizing, the marketplace is stabilizing, and now we’re primed to grow.”
Top Shot was definitely instrumental in creating the wider momentum surrounding NFT’s earlier in 2021. So, even though other projects may be basking in the spotlight for the moment, Tedman was positive this was all great news for Dapper, indeed. Of course, market swings are expected, suggested Tedman, who reassured that the NFT scene is very young at the moment.
“I think we will see highs and lows in the NFT market in general over the next couple of years, but I don’t think that points to any kind of bubble nature of it,” she said. “You’re in a little bit of a rollercoaster when things are new.”