Sport sponsorships are being disrupted by NFT-funded racing.
Laura-Marie Geissler’s future as a GT driver will be based on a decentralised sponsorship model designed to level the playing field for motorsport talent.
Laura-Marie Geissler, a German GT driver, teamed up with Amsterdam Berlin, a creative firm, and Unblocked, a nonfungible token (NFT) business, to form the first NFT-funded motorsport team. The LMG racing team has decided to fund Geissler’s race season entirely through NFT sales, rather than relying on external sponsors. Whether she raises enough money to race in the future season is entirely up to her followers.
Geissler and her collaborators first launched their campaign to in-person visitors of the Porsche Unseen installation space during the first weekend of South by Southwest, or SXSW, in Austin, Texas. LMG’s inaugural NFT collection is expected to launch in a week. Cointelegraph spoke with Geissler about her motivations for participating in this experiment and the risks she is taking by risking her career.
Traditionally, practically all drivers in motorsports rely on outside firms to sponsor their races, and success is determined by performance and effective marketing. Her performance, according to Geissler, was not her key selling point.
“It’s tough for women to ask people for money because it becomes a very transactional connection,” she says. “It was difficult for me to strike a balance and to get others to appreciate me because of how I drive, not just because I’m a woman or because I look a certain way.”
Moritz Grub, the founder and creative director of Amsterdam Berlin, stated that motorsports is a very male-dominated and “macho” industry, with part of the reason being that the majority of sponsors are male. “Perhaps if more female-led businesses and companies funded racing, we’d see more female fans and watchers,” he speculated.
When asked why they chose NFTs as a solution, Grub said, “It’s an interesting technology that isn’t being used well at the moment.” He believes that most NFT PFP-based projects are “schemes,” and that the NFT-based crowdfunding model is an alternative to “having to behave the way my sponsors want me to behave so that my sponsorship contract gets renewed every year.”
Geissler and Amsterdam Berlin teamed with Los Angeles-based NFT firm Unblocked, also known as The Non Fungible Token Company, to construct the NFT collection on the Flow network. A 1:1 360° render of the LMG GT No.1 race car, which was auctioned on OpenSea, is included in the collection. The winner’s name will be engraved on the automobile, as well as a physically signed Arai GP-6 helmet.
The LMG GT No.1 design, which is reminiscent of a Porsche “Pink Pig” model, features the “X” marks used by plastic surgeons during procedures, according to the manufacturer. It’s designed to represent the physical strains placed on female racers and to fight for gender equality in the racing scene.
A set of 1,001 digital helmets and 100 digital race suits are also available for fixed rates on the Unblocked exchange, with varied varieties and rarities. For their money, NFT collectors will get meet-and-greets, signed goods, and unique content.
Porsche will provide her with a car, but the German automaker will not be involved in the project, according to Geissler. The proceeds of the sale will go entirely to the LMG racing team’s needs, with compensation waived by both Amsterdam Berlin and Unblocked. While the target for the 2022 season is to raise at least 150,000 euros, Geissler “hopes for the best.”
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