Sorare, the blockchain-based fantasy platform with a substantial presence across top-tier European soccer, has raised $680 million in Series B financing led by Softbank, giving the fan engagement site a valuation of $4.3 billion.
Sorare has announced that it will “use this investment to accelerate its mission to build a revolutionary gaming experience that sets a new standard for how fans worldwide connect to clubs and players.”
The brand has also said it will aim to expand into other sports, having up to this point concentrated primarily on sponsorships across European soccer.
Participation across the funding round came from Atomico, Bessemer Ventures, D1 Capital, Eurazeo, IVP and Liontree, while existing investors Benchmark, Accel and Headline were also involved.
Top soccer players (current and former) including Gerard Piqué, Antoine Griezmann, Rio Ferdinand and César Azpilicueta also took part in the funding round.
The funding, Sorare has said, will allow it to “rapidly accelerate the company’s growth within football while also allowing Sprare to replicate its model in other sports, expand its world-class team by hiring across key roles, and launch ambitious marketing campaigns.”
The brand has also said it plans on opening its first US office soon.
The platform’s initial Series A funding round, led by capital firm Benchmark, was only conducted in February this year, raising $50 million.
Sorare has already developed a strong presence in the European soccer scene, partnering with several major clubs including Germany’s Bayern Munich, Italy’s Juventus, France’s Paris Saint-Germain and England’s Liverpool.
In total, it has deals in place with more than 140 teams around the world, with France's Paris Saint-Germain and Germany's Bayern Munich among the most recent to join the portfolio last year.
Other Sorare partners include Italy’s Juventus and Spain’s Atletico Madrid, as well as multiple sides across Asia and North America.
The platform essentially operates a soccer trading card game in which individual cards are digital products that increase or decrease in value based upon real-world performances. The cards are tradeable with other players of the game and can be sold on the marketplace. Some, such as the Cristiano Ronaldo card, have sold for more than $100,000.
The Belgian Pro League became the first professional soccer league in the world to partner with a blockchain platform when it agreed to a deal with Sorare in 2018.
Nicolas Julia, chief executive and co-founder of Sorare, has said: “We are thrilled by the success we have seen so far, but this is just the beginning. We believe this is a huge opportunity to create the next sports entertainment giant, bringing Sorare to more football fans and organisations, and to introduce the same proven model to other sports and sports fans worldwide.”
Marcelo Claure, chief executive of SoftBank Group International, added: “It's evident from Sorare's amazing growth this year alone that football fans around the world have been eagerly waiting for the "game within the game" that Sorare provides. We're pleased to be joining them on this journey and are really excited to see what the company will achieve.”
Sorare’s number of active paying users on its platform, according to internal company figures, grew 34 times year-on-year from Q2 2020 to Q2 2021, while quarterly sales increased by 51 times during the same 12 months.