Major Baseball NFT creator Candy Digital valued at $1.5bn

By Raffaele Redi

New York digital collectable company completes $100m financing round

Major League Baseball logo                                 
Candy’s current partners include Major League Baseball and Major League Baseball Players Association. Photo: Shutterstock

New York-based digital collectable company Candy Digital has completed a $100m series A financing round that values the company at $1.5bn.

The funding round, co-led by private equity and venture capital firms Insight Partners and Softbank Vision Fund 2, is expected to fund Candy’s Major League Baseball official NFT ecosystem.

It will also boost the continued expansion of Candy’s non-fungible-token (NFT) offerings across the global sports landscape for both current and new partners.

As well as Major League Baseball (MLB), existing partners include the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA), the Race Team Alliance (RTA) and several notable college athletes.

“Candy Digital plans to use the new funds to integrate new sports relationships and accelerate the growth of its global team and capabilities across its creative content studio, user-experience team and marketplace platform, where fans can buy, trade, sell and store their NFTs,” said the company.

“Funds will also be used to scale the company’s recruiting, marketing, customer success and engineering groups as the company expands its tech-centric offering to enhance the overall fan experience,” it added.

SoftBank betting on Fanatics

The investment round and vision to continue improving the fan experience comes as Fanatics, the majority owner of Candy Digital, is building a global digital sports platform complete with everything sports fans want.

The company recently announced plans to expand beyond merchandise and unlock new opportunities across the sports ecosystem, including NFTs through Candy Digital, trading cards, online betting and iGaming.

“By combining Fanatics’ proven track record with blockchain and NFT expertise, we believe Candy Digital is creating a leading platform that offers consumers the opportunity to own a unique digital asset,” said Lydia Jett, partner at SoftBank Investment Advisers.

“The company’s partnership with MLB and MLBPA is a strong indication that fans and collectors want to engage with their favourite sports, music and art in new ways. We are delighted to partner with Scott and the team to support their ambition to become the leading digital collectable NFT platform.”

Candy Digital unveiling its platform

Meanwhile, Candy Digital is expected to unveil the beta version of its platform this month, allowing fans and consumers to directly buy, sell and trade Candy’s NFT products. The launch would come alongside three new creations for the upcoming MLB play-offs and World Series.

Since its launch, Candy Digital has released several products in partnership with MLB and a roster of college athletes. The first-ever MLB World Series NFT was released to celebrate the LA Dodgers’ 2020 World Series victory.

The company also designed a series of NFTs to commemorate the league’s first official Lou Gehrig Day – Gehrigh was an iconic US baseball player who died of the neuromuscular disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis in 1941, aged just 37.

“Blockchain and NFTs provide tremendous opportunities to enhance the fan experience by allowing people to own a piece of their passion,” said Scott Lawin, CEO of Candy Digital.

Deven Parekh, managing director at Insight Partners, added: “Fans crave new methods of engaging with their favourite athletes and teams, and Candy Digital is primed to power the next generation of sports fandom.”

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