Costacos collection brings classic poster art to life in the digital age –

If you grew up as a sports fan in the late 1980s or early 1990s, chances are good that John Costacos’ work will be hanging in your bedroom. As former Houston Oilers quarterback Warren Moon said, “Nothing exudes freshness than a Costacos poster.” From 1986 to 1996, Costacos Brothers sold over 30 million sports and pop culture themed posters (see: Oakland A’s Bash Brothers, Shawn Kemp’s Reign Man). Now, a quarter of a century later, the iconic artist is back, armed with $ 4.5 million in private equity capital and a treasure trove of IPs. NFT.

Justin Moorad, the son of former players agent and MLB owner Jeff Moorad, is leading the new company as CEO. He acknowledges that the market for non-fungible tokens is crowded (and filled with seized cash), but he says the company’s focus on high-quality art will set it apart, just as it has for the Costacos poster business decades ago. “Our differentiator is that we believe that collectors and fans want unique pieces that speak to them…. It’s the [difference between the] works of art bringing the world together against thousands of random game images that can fade over time.

Taking from JWS: Costacos sold its original poster production business, as well as sub-licenses for famous images, to Daydream Publishing in 1996. The company has been sold three times since. But because Costacos was smart enough to retain intellectual property ownership outside of the physical poster category, he’s now able to capitalize on the NFT craze.

The $ 4.5 million raised comes from a group of former industry executives who are looking to stay private. But Moorad explained that the investment thesis centers on the idea that NFTs are “really about the art” and that The Costacos collection has the “best sports art brand” and a sports artist under its umbrella. “All the other players in the space create stuff that is more or less on commission, especially the [Autographs] and Candy Digitals of the world, ”Moorad said. “[Their NFTs] are all modeled. They don’t tell stories. And yet, people are still willing to pay thousands of dollars for their digital collectibles. Autograph is aligned with DraftKings; The fanatics started Candy Digital.

While the quality of the artwork undoubtedly mattered when Costacos made posters for bedroom walls, it’s probably less of a differentiator for NFTs residing in a digital wallet. But Jack Settleman (CEO, Snapback Sports) said the quality of the artwork “really matters. [within the NFT ecosystem]. What made the Bored Apes explode so much is [that] their illustrations were quite interesting. [It] was a reason to support them.

Settleman also notes that we are moving towards a future where digital art is prominently displayed on the walls. “Everything goes to the screens. There have already been big NFT sales from great artists who [the token] with a physical copy [of the artwork] or they actually send [the owner] a big television, ”he said. It’s not hard to imagine sports fans buying and displaying the posters they had when they were kids in digital frames.

SuperRare, a market for unique digital pieces, exists “a lot like a traditional art market,” said Settleman (ie there is no promise of experiences or community) . So, some have already embraced the concept of buying NFT only as an art. In fact, there are artists on the platform whose work can sell for six figures.

For starters, the Collection will reinvent some of the classic Costacos posters, but to create new digital artwork, the company must acquire the rights of the players (this is where some of the investment capital will go). To date, he has signed a host of NFL and MLB legends for exclusive deals with the NFT; a collective of former clients of Jeff Moorad (think: Moon, Troy Aikman, Will Clark) and Costacos (Roger Clemens, Jim McMahon). The plan is to add a few current players down the line.

While the Collection will be able to sign player-level deals, resource-rich competition will likely prevent the company from signing official league deals. Costacos doesn’t see this as a problem. “Our poster images weren’t licensed, but they sold more than all the licensed things because they were better,” he said. Settleman agreed that although “having intellectual property or a partnership [with a league] obviously helps the project, that does not mean that others cannot succeed without it.

The company will be marketed only as a digital art product (the first drop is this Sunday). But Moorad explained that the long-term vision centers on technological development. The project’s roadmap promises to create exclusive aftermarket experiences that allow NFT holders to connect and interact with their favorite players “in new ways.”

The roadmap also suggests that the company will look to create a platform that will serve as a “primary destination for transactions around the NFTs of legendary athletes,” Moorad said, adding that the bulk of the investment capital is for technological development. Settleman, however, sees this as an ambitious project to undertake. “Top Shot has its own market,” he said. “But 99.9% of the others [NFT] Projects basically use OpenSea because it’s a really big business not only to worry about content creation, community building, event creation, your project creation and also to try to create the necessary infrastructure. It’s just like two separate businesses. Note that Settleman’s NFT project (Knights of Degen) resides on OpenSea for this reason.

Creating a centralized platform for buyers and sellers to deal would allow the Collection to retain a greater portion of the profits associated with its project. But as Settleman noted, if the plan is to sell NFTs as high-end digital artwork, building your own blockchain and marketplace isn’t a luxury; it is a necessity. Ethereum gas prices (think: $ 40 to $ 50) will otherwise make the cost of buying digital posters prohibitive. Remember, the reason NBA Top Shot can afford to sell $ 9 packs is because they’ve created their own blockchain and basically removed gasoline fees in order to do micro-transactions.

The Costacos collection will be launched with Nifty Gateway and Topps of the Winklevoss Twins as strategic partners. Moorad suggested that the card company’s “player relationships and other content” could potentially be exploited. There will also be limited edition card games built around Costacos’ artwork.

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