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October 11, 2022

The Sports DAO

The SportsDAO and NMKR are bringing real change through football
NMKR and The SportsDAO partner up to bring football to Cardano
NMKR and The SportsDAO partner up to bring football to Cardano

Greetings NMKR community! This time, we would like to introduce you to Dr. Lingling Liu, CEO of UK-based The SportsDAO. At the core of The SportsDAO's philosophy is the belief that sports can be used as a tool to improve people’s lives and contribute to sustainable development. Together with NMKR and the Football Foundation for Africa (FFA), they want to improve the lives of people through football while also helping to sustain the development of African countries. Let's take a look at what Dr. Liu and her team are up to.

Introducing football to Cardano

NMKR: What inspired you to start The SportsDAO? Please tell us what makes it so special.

Dr. Liu: In early 2021 I started to provide consultancy for the world’s biggest cryptocurrency exchange platform in football sponsorship negotiations and strategy.  

Since then, I have extensively researched sports sponsorship deals in the crypto world. While many cryptocurrency businesses use sports as brand exposure platforms, most sports governing bodies and asset owners have limited knowledge about crypto. What blockchain technology can do for sports remains to be a mystery.

Some governing bodies that have some idea about what the blockchain can do for them, they tend to keep their steps slow using a conservative approach. Most of the NFT projects I have looked at are for flipping purposes, with little or no real-world adoptions to solve real- world problems.  After I successfully helped Binance to become the official sponsor of the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON), I could not wait to incorporate my own business. I started The Sports DAO in April 2022.  

I am a firm believer in the concept of a DAO (decentralized autonomous organization). Coincidentally, DAO is also a Chinese word, meaning the principles and ways of doing the right things.  I have worked in the sports industry for more than 30 years and have first- hand knowledge of the industry’s opportunities and problems.

The DAO, empowered by blockchain technology, will provide a route for taking chances and solving problems. For example, DAO has the potential to deliver actual grassroots sports by giving participants ownership of sports assets and allowing them to make decisions about how to run their favorite sports.  

NMKR: What are the major challenges you're facing right now? We would like to know about your team's plans to overcome them.

Dr. Liu: We are clear about our mission. But like any startup, a significant challenge is to create a team with skills including technology and finance. Bringing the right people on board is not easy, especially when Sports DAO needs people who understand how both the sports and crypto businesses work. I am very lucky to build a small team that has not only great experience in their field but is also eager to learn. In July, I finished my certificate in Blockchain Strategy from the Saïd Business School of Oxford University; my colleagues are also doing similar courses.

The second challenge is to find the right project. It's probably even more difficult to convince project owners to understand what blockchain technology can do as there is a lot of speculation in crypto and also much negative media coverage as well.

So it is more than just bringing blockchain strategy and sports together. It is to bring them together in a positive way. We start by choosing to work with the Cardano blockchain for its sustainability ideals. Our first project is to apply blockchain technology to help the Football Foundation for Africa, a grassroots educational programme.

We need to share our beliefs and ideals with our business peers, especially when the Sports DAO is playing the role of bridging two business worlds. It is important to present ourselves at various forums. I will be a featured speaker at NFT London to talk about Sports DAO and Fan Token.

I will also give a presentation at the annual Yacht Racing Forum in Malta in November about what Blockchain can do for sailing. In addition to that I am planning to attend the Cardano Summit in Lausanne. Maybe NMKR and Sports DAO can present our FFA case together.

Community and education are key for success. There are goals we want to achieve in these talks, including helping more people know about blockchain, in order to help them make better decisions.  

Coming from robust experience in the sports industry, advertising, and the consultancy for Binance, we would like to connect that experience with solutions and opportunities.

NMKR: Do you have a specific growth strategy?

Dr. Liu: The Sports DAO will focus on two areas: to provide sports projects with blockchain strategy and solutions; and also help crypto-related projects to create a sports strategy.

We have recently helped a SocialFi company called PIXIE with their PR and strategic communication, and we will also provide them with a sports strategy to attract sports fans to the APP.

We are also helping and connecting some tech service providers to pitch sports organizations and sports property owners. NMKR is the first one we collaborate with.  

We also want to emphasis our strength in sports communication and want to create a niche service in the area for Sports PR and Communication for crypto-related businesses.

We have the vision to build an innovative Sports blockchain strategy with real world utility, addressing some of the intricate root cause problems in the sports industry encompassing socially responsible values of environment, sustainability and governance (ESG) policies. We are conscious and passionate about value generation through the truly decentralized autonomous organizations.

NMKR: What do you think about NMKR? Tell us what we can do for The SportsDAO and the FFA in the long run so that we all win!

Dr. Liu: NMKR is a dream partner for us. Not only because NMKR helped so many NFT projects on Cardano to deliver but also because Kristian, COO of NMKR and I also share the same vision: the blockchain strategy and the core value of decentralization will be able to make changes in so many things in the real world, including sports.  

We share our vision as well as the courage to face challenges together. This bonded us together in a partnership project with the Football Foundation for Africa (FFA). We start with NFT projects. Not only can NMKR provide their professional service to FFA, but I also think Sports DAO can also bring many sports projects with real-world adoption to Cardano, and this will also expand the portfolio of NMKR clients. Together we will make changes to sports!

NMKR: What's your vision for the future of blockchain/decentralized technologies like Cardano? Please tell us what you're doing to make that future a reality.

Dr. Liu: Our vision for the future of blockchains like Cardano is that the decentralized technologies can solve real-world problems. Nelson Mandela once said, sports have the power to change the world. With the support of technology and innovation, I think blockchain has the power to change sports.

There have been many talks and reforms about sports governance in recent years. In my opinion, sports need fundamental changes. One of the changes is about governance, such as how to fight corruption and doping issues or how to give the rights back to athletes who should own their IP rights. Another is to empower fans and supporters to make decisions for their beloved sports.

Institutions, expertise, accountability, and transparency are the key elements of sports governance, and with blockchain technology and strategy, we will be able to bring changes. Of course, this won't happen overnight; that's why the Sports DAO wants to be the pioneers to the route of DAO and pave the way. Together we are gonna make sports work on blockchains and the blockchain work for sports.

NMKR: If our readers want to get in touch with you, where can they find you? 

Dr. Liu: You can find us on the following channels:


Twitter: @TheSportsDao22


NMKR: Dr. Liu, thank you for your time. At NMKR, we share the same vision for the use of blockchain technology in the sports industry, and we are delighted to have you as our partners. Together we will onboard real-world use cases and bring the benefits of decentralization to the sports industry.