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Footballer Safee Sali unveils NFT collection to boost fan engagement

Footballer Safee Sali unveils NFT collection to boost fan engagement

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Malaysian footballer Safee Sali has released his “SEPULUH” NFTs with the art depicting one of his fondest memories, where he led Malaysia to its first-ever AFF Suzuki Cup in 2010 and won a golden boot as the top scorer of the competition that year.

Done in collaboration with Prime Sports NFT, a sports NFT division under Prime Sports International (PSI), the NFTs will be a series of 10 limited edition digital collectables and is currently going on auction via digital NFT marketplace OpenSea until 11 July. Owners of these NFTs will have access to an exclusive opportunity to share the pitch with Safee, a framed print-out of the NFT and access.

The NFTs were designed by local artist Nicholas Chuan, who previously worked with companies including UEFA, Red Bull Racing, Liverpool FC, and FC Bayern. According to the press statement, the NFT was launched as a creative venture to increase his engagement with his fans.

The “SEPULUH” NFTs also include a partnership with the Professional Footballers Association of Malaysia, where a portion of the proceeds will go towards promoting, advancing and protecting professional footballers’ interests in Malaysia.

passion sepuluh nft collection by safee sali 1

PSI's spokesperson told A+M that Safee wanted to elevate the level of engagement with his fans through the NFTs. This came about with Prime Sports NFT pitching the idea to the footballer, which he was very keen to explore. 

Multiple artists' portfolios were proposed before Safee handpicked Chuan. According to the spokesperson, the creative concept came about during a process of multiple meetings and sharing sessions between artist and athlete. From the sketch to the end product, Safee was involved in the creative process to realise his vision for SEPULUH.

While the spokesperson declined to reveal the monetary value of the investment, he said that as this is Safee's pilot project, there isn't a financial ROI expectancy. The mission with SEPULUH is to realise a creative venture for Safee and more than that, to give fans the opportunity to own a meaningful part of his story, the spokesperson added.

Sali said: “My vision for ‘SEPULUH’ was to capture my fondest memory in the Harimau Malaya jersey via digital art and enable fans to own a piece of my story as a collectable. My fans have been the pillar of support throughout my career and the ‘SEPULUH’ NFT opens the doors to forging closer bonds with them.”

Yong-Chul Yun, the founder of Prime Sports NFT, said: “Globally, digital assets are increasingly being rooted in the sporting world as means to fundamentally change how fans interact with their favourite teams and athletes.”

In 2012, Safee Sali endorsed 100Plus's "Cergaslah Malaysia" campaign to encourage Malaysians to lead a more active lifestyle, along with Lee Chong Wei. Many brands and Malaysians are jumping onto the NFT bandwagon these days. January this year, Syed Saddiq, member of Parliament for Muar, had collaborated with charitable organisation NFT4HOPE to release a collection of NFTs featuring his face. With this collection, the organisation aims to raise funds for the nation's flood victims. 

At the same time, footballer Lionel Messi also launched his Messiverse NFTs last August featuring a collection of crypto artworks designed by Australia-based digital designer BossLogic, who is known for his works with Marvel and Disney. In a Medium post by Ethernity, BossLogic explained that the collection is a set of pieces outlining achievements, moments, team love, and future accomplishments.

Related articles:
Let's move it, says 100Plus
MP Syed Saddiq releases NFT collection to fundraise for flood victims

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