Brian O'Hagan (Sorare): "There has been huge inflation in image rights in 2021-2022"
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Sorare's head of football stresses the need to bring the amounts paid to rights holders into line with the revenue generated by the company.
How is Sorare coping with the fall in NFTs?
The macro-economic context is not obvious and that of the industry is not as good as in 2020-2021. Nevertheless, the impact is limited for Sorare insofar as we have never publicly emphasised the fact that we are an NFT game. Our users are mainly sports fans, and that means we're getting through the current period with less difficulty than other games that have made it a priority to target the NFT community. After that, of course, you have to be vigilant because it's not an easy period, and you have to be more disciplined.
Are you still growing?
We're currently on a plateau in terms of paying players, with growth peaks during major sporting events. This is particularly the case when the football championships resume. This is a good thing, because it confirms that our users are more sports fans. And if you take the total number of players and include those who use the free modes, we're growing.
Sorare is inextricably linked to NFTs though, so whose fault is that?
We've never worked on our SEO around crypto gaming or NFTs. If you search for these occurrences in Google, you'll mostly see media articles attributing these terms to us. On the other hand, we are working to ensure that the Sorare pages for players like Kylian Mbappé are well referenced when you type their name into a search engine. You can find their performance statistics from their real matches, which really makes sense for football fans and has little to do with the NFT market. We're doing a lot to reconnect people with sport, and in particular we're giving away exceptional experiences with the teams when they travel to the Champions League - some people have been able to meet Zinédine Zidane, and so on. The image rights signed for 2021-2022 have cost Sorare a fortune. How are you managing this aspect with the slowdown in growth?
There was a huge inflation in rights during this period and they no longer correspond to what we had anticipated for 2023. From that point of view, we need a plan linked to the revenue generated by these rights. This will require frank discussions with many rights holders, but these were expected and are perfectly normal. The aim is for the model to work, because everyone will benefit. If Sorare generates revenue, so will the rights holders.