NFT-funded races aim to disrupt sports sponsorship

German GT racer Laura-Marie Geissler, creative agency Amsterdam Berlin and NFT startup Unblocked have teamed up to create the first non-fungible token or NFT-funded motorsport team.. Named after the driver herself, the LMG racing team has chosen to forego outside sponsorship in order to fund Geissler’s racing season through NFT sales. Whether he earns the necessary sum to compete next season will depend solely on his fans.

Geissler and his partners originally announced their campaign during the first weekend of South by Southwest, or SXSW, in Austin, Texas for in-person visitors to the Porsche Unseen installation room. One week later, The first LMG NFT collection is ready to go. Cointelegraph spoke to Geissler about the rationale behind this experiment and the risks he is taking by jeopardizing his career.

Traditionally in motorsport almost all drivers rely on outside companies to sponsor their races and success is based on performance and good marketing. According to Geissler, his performance wasn’t his main selling point.

“It’s difficult for women to ask people for money because it becomes a very transactional relationship. I’ve had a hard time finding the balance and liking others for the way I drive, and not just because I’m a woman or because I have a certain look.”

Laura Marie Geissler. Source: AmsterdamBerlin.
NFT-funded races aim to disrupt sports sponsorship
NFT-funded races aim to disrupt sports sponsorship

Moritz Grub, Founder and Creative Director of Amsterdam Berlin, added that motorsport is a ‘macho’ and very male-dominated world, which may in part simply be due to the fact that there are mostly male sponsors. “If we had more women-owned brands and companies funding racing, maybe there would be more female fans and viewers,” she said.

When asked why they chose NFTs as a possible solution, Grub said, “It’s an interesting technology that isn’t well used right now.” He believes most NFT-PFP-based projects could be “schemes.” , and sees the NFT-based crowdfunding model as an alternative to “having to behave the way my supporters want me to do so that my sponsorship contract is renewed every year”.

To develop the collection of NFTs on the Flow blockchain, Geissler and Amsterdam Berlin partnered with Los Angeles-based NFT firm Unblocked, also known as The Non-Fungible Token Company. The set contains a 1:1 360° representation of the LMG GT No.1 racing car auctioned at OpenSea. The winner will put their name on the car and will receive a signed physical Arai GP-6 helmet.

Top view LMG GT No. 1. Source: Amsterdam Berlin.

According to the company, the LMG GT No.1’s design, reminiscent of Porsche’s “Pink Pig” model, features the “x” marks used by plastic surgeons during surgeries. It is meant to symbolize the pressure placed on female drivers because of their physical appearance and to advocate for gender equality in the world of racing.

In addition, there is a set of 1001 Digital Helmets and 100 Digital Racing Suits available in various variations and rarities at fixed prices on the Unblocked Exchange. NFT collectors get access to Meetups, signed merchandise, and exclusive content for their investment.

Geissler clarified that Porsche will provide him with a car, but that the German automaker is otherwise not involved in the project.. All proceeds from the sale will go towards the needs of the LMG racing team, while both Amsterdam Berlin and Unblocked have agreed not to receive any compensation. The goal is at least 150,000 euros by the 2022 season. “I hope for the best, but if that doesn’t work, I won’t be able to drive this year,” he said.

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