BREAKING: Event Tech Company Bandwagon Partners With Arizona Cardinals, Phoenix Art Museum On Philanthropic, Limited NFT Collection

Key Insights:

  • Live event tech company Bandwagon has partnered with Arizona Cardinals Offensive Tackle Kelvin Beachum on two NFT collections.
  • The partnership will allow for an approximately $108 entry point into NFT investment for fans and art enthusiasts. 
  • Proceeds from the sales of the NFTs will be donated to the Phoenix Art Museum. 

Harold Hughes, CEO of live event technology company Bandwagon, has partnered with Arizona Cardinals’ offensive tackle Kelvin Beachum on an NFT (non-fungible token) collection and auction for a mission-oriented goal to make investments in NFTs more accessible, promote Black digital artists and designers and raise money for the Phoenix Art Museum. 

The project, dubbed the “Discovery Collection,” dropped during Beachum’s Monday night game against the Los Angeles Rams and marks the first time an NFL player has had a live OpenSea auction during game time. 

The novelty of the partnership is also up for purchase through two collections of NFTs, a 68-piece set of 2D images will each be sold at 0.0248 ETH (approximately $108) to fans and art enthusiasts selected through a raffle. The price reflects Beachum being the 248th draft-round pick in the 2012 NFL season.

The remaining four limited edition NFTs will each be auctioned off during a three-day period at the end of the next four seasons in the Monday Night Football game schedule. Token holders for these four pieces will also each get a Proof of Experiences ™ offering with their purchase, which include a signed,  week 13 game-worn jersey, signed game-worn cleats, two tickets to the last home game of the season.The grand prize winner and their guest will also have the opportunity to have dinner with Beachum in Phoenix. 

Both collections are riddled with small nods to Beachum and the history of the NFL as told through digital art. 

“Obviously in the art space rarity is really valued and we wanted to tell a story of how the NFL started off as integrated with Black and white players in the 1920s but became segregated during The Great Depression, and was later reintegrated with Kenny Washington and the Rams,” Hughes told The Plug

“Now you see the thriving of the Black athlete not just on the field or on the court for that matter, but really turning into investors, turning into STEAM researchers, philanthropists. Now we’re looking at more than an athlete as they leverage their impact and their talent.” 

Beachum is fulfilling a mission of the NFL’s  My Cause My Cleats program that allows pro-football players to design and commit proceeds from the sale of custom cleats to a charitable organization of their choosing. 

“History and evolution within football can be seen through something as simple as a cleat,” Beachum said in a statement. “If we use this vessel for My Cause My Cleats, then we can honor significant eras in football with regard to social and historical context, technological evolution, creativity, and art through that same icon. Art can be the greatest storyteller. These NFTs— these cleats —tell an important story.” 

Hughes’ company has steadily added more NFT and blockchain-enabled experiences into its business model. Over the summer, Bandwagon began adding NFT experiences into its products, allowing fans and event-goers to authenticate moments from events with cryptographic security, which the company calls Proof of Experiences ™. 

Last month Bandwagon partnered with the Chicago State University’s Athletic Department on a free NFT collection for CSU fans. There are other blockchain-enabled offerings in the works, including launching a decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) that will buy bluechip projects led by Black and brown professionals. 

The newfound emphasis on the blockchain is not just a cash grab or to buy into a trend. Hughes said these offerings factor into a larger game plan of creating more diverse investors and asset classes. 

“As a kid, I’d never thought about collecting art as an asset class, or art as an investment. I had never even seen it,” Hughes said. “The other side is a lot of people aren’t seeing themselves as art creators so in this project both Kelvin and I were able to not only both become art creators, but also we were able to create an asset class for folks to be able to hold onto. Maybe these become rare and limited pieces.”

Among the 72 pieces in the collection Hughes’s favorite is a piece entitled, No Colors Allowed. It is the second of four pieces from the limited collection and features a stark and bright GIF he has attributed significance to. 

“This piece is a reminder of how vast [Black folks] impact is in all these different areas, whether it’s sports, music, science, food and art,” Hughes said. “When you add us, everything is better but when you take us out, explicitly remove us from something, the future, the space is bleak. I love that piece because of that contrast.”

All proceeds from NFTs sales will be donated to the Phoenix Art Museum.

Monica Melton

Monica Melton is the managing editor of The Plug Insights. She previously covered innovation, technology, and venture capital at Forbes. She has also covered politics at POLITICO, entertainment for Time Out New York, but her most fascinating beat has been covering the intersection of technology, finance, and entrepreneurship. She is an alumna of CUNY Graduate School of Journalism and the University of Washington.