Matchday, a one-of-its-kind soccer based Web3 gaming startup, broke the news of bagging $21 million in seed funding from the legendary soccer star Lionel Messi. The soccer star has been active in Web3 technologies for a while now. In 2022, he signed a 20 Million dollar deal with Socios to promote an NFT-based ‘Fan Token.’ Now his Venture Capital firm has invested in this new Web3 gaming startup. Several other popular investment firms joined Messi in this fund-raising, including Courtside Ventures, HackVC, Greylock, and Horizons Ventures Capricorn Investment Group. The raised funds will be used to develop a suite of soccer-based games on Web3 technologies platforms.
Matchday’s games will be built for a generic and casual audience, and the company’s founders have clarified that they are looking to target an untapped audience in the soccer community. The company has an official license from FIFA, the governing body behind the World Cup, and the FIFPRO players association.
Matchday’s Chief Gaming Officer is an ex-employee of gaming giant Electronic Arts (EA) with prior work experience on EA’s Madden NFT franchise and the popular FIFA game series.
“Our games will be accessible for all players and centered around true ownership of digital items that will be a point of pride for all players,” said Sebastien de Halleux.
The company released a limited-time mini-game during the 2022 FIFA World Cup and gave out 2 million NFT player cards to roughly 600,000 users. This launch was planned to benefit from digital tokens’ rapid growth and immense popularity. In Web3 gaming ecosystems, digital items are registered as NFTs minted on Blockchain, and it became popular due to ownership over digital assets like in-game skins, characters, or items.
Sorare, a prominent NFT fantasy soccer game, counts Messi as a brand ambassador and recently raised $680 million at a $4.3 billion valuation. FIFA also jumped in and launched a non-fungible token platform on Algorand. Apart from that, dozens of teams released Socios fan tokens for fans. These tokens were successful in gaining traction among the audience.
Matchday’s founding global ambassador is Spanish soccer star Alexia Putellas. The company’s CEO, Derrick Ko, clarified that he is more focused on building this game for a casual audience, not just die-hard soccer fans.