Former world No. 1 tennis player Ana Ivanovic and Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Marco Verratti are among several sports stars to buy virtual islands in The Sandbox, the blockchain-based virtual world computer game. Islands were also bought by Bayern Munich winger Kingsley Coman, Swiss tennis player Stan Wawrinka and Dan Holzmann, co-owner of the Swiss soccer club FC Basel.
Exclusible, an NFT marketplace that works with luxury brands, sold a total of 25 private islands in The Sandbox for a combined 910 ETH—which currently equals about $2.9 million. Exclusible limited sales of its last available virtual private islands to influencers with at least 1 million social media followers. Former Victoria’s Secret model Sara Sampaio was among those to buy the digital land, as well as crypto trading platform eToro, which ran an ad during Super Bowl LVI.
Coman, who also plays for the French national team, bought his metaverse island in collaboration with CHMPS PARISSE, a French streetwear brand that will promote its products in The Sandbox. The Sandbox is owned by Hong Kong-based Animoca Brands, which also made Olympic pin NFTs for the IOC.
Warner Music Group, Adidas, Gucci, Atari and Snoop Dogg are among other brands and celebrities to have bought land in The Sandbox to launch NFTs and digital experiences in its virtual world. On Tuesday, JP Morgan launched a virtual lounge in Decentraland, which competes with The Sandbox for metaverse prowess as virtual worlds fueled by cryptocurrencies.
“Whether it’s large tech players such as Microsoft planning to create realistic workspaces, or Ariana Grande holding a concert in Fortnite, the opportunities presented by interactive, digital worlds seem limitless,” reads a report from JP Morgan. “The metaverse will likely infiltrate every sector in some way in the coming years, with the market opportunity estimated at over $1 trillion in yearly revenues.”
JP Morgan’s report titled “Opportunities in the metaverse” says $54 billion per year is spent on virtual goods and that NFTs have a current market cap of $41 billion. The report also says that 60 billion messages per day are sent on Roblox, whose users have been able to buy NFL-branded digital jerseys and helmets to dress their in-game avatars and visit Nike’s virtual campus called Nikeland.
The term “metaverse” was first used in Neal Stephenson’s 1992 dystopian science fiction novel Snow Crash, but the phrase has burst in popularity since Facebook rebranded to Meta last year to re-position itself as a “metaverse first” company. Rob Shaw, director of North America sports partnerships at Meta, will speak more on the company’s metaverse vision at SportTechie’s State Of The Industry conference from April 12-13 at One World Trade Center in New York.