Nike, Adie and other well-known sports manufacturers compete to layout the meta universe. Is it a false prosperity or a new blue ocean market?

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New phenomenon of sports brand

On December 14, 2021, Nike's official website announced that it would acquire rtfkt, a virtual sneaker design company. John Donahoe, President and CEO of Nike, publicly said that "this acquisition is another step to accelerate Nike's digital transformation".ย 

Rtfkt is a trendy brand in the field of encryption fashion. It was established in 2020. At the same time, it will also make NFT collections and meme expression packs. It can be regarded as a small meta universe company worthy of the name.

Because of Nike's move, then we saw many well-known sports brands begin to dabble in the field of meta universe fashion. For example, in early April, in order to celebrate the release of its ozworld Series in spring and summer of 2022, Adidas cooperated with the meta universe avatar creation platform ready player me to launch a new digital experience. Users create exclusive virtual characters through personality tests.

At about the same time, puma, another well-known sports brand, replaced its twitter avatar with cool cats NFT to show its determination to enter the meta universe.

When most sports fans are still wondering what is the meta universe, what is blockchain, and what role NFT plays,These world's top brands have become pathfinders, and with the overweight of these giants, the concepts related to metauniverse have become popular among sports brandsใ€‚

We have also seen that some domestic sports brands have also begun to make efforts in yuanuniverse. At the beginning of the year, Anta created an immersive interactive digital space of "Anta ice and snow spirit", and launched a digital collection, which will be collected within 72 hours of going online; Li Ning recently launched a co branded dress with the famous NFT Avatar "boring ape", which is highly praised

So, what exactly is reflected behind the upsurge of meta universe + sports brand, and how should we understand this trend? Before answering these questions, let's start with the concept and explore the secrets behind this trend one by one

What are these new concepts?


The concept of metauniverse originated from the science fiction novel avalanche written by American science fiction writer Neil Stephenson. "Wearing headphones and eyeglasses, finding the connection terminal, you can enter the virtual space simulated by computer and parallel to the real world in the way of virtual separation". It is not only the initial idea of metauniverse, but also the future of Internet evolution considered by the current mainstream media.ย 

"Media is the extension of the human body". If the meta universe is regarded as a future media form,The biggest breakthrough of the meta universe is that it will completely change the functional focus of the Internet from information to "people", through digital simulation technologies such as virtual reality and augmented reality, "recreate" people's "digital body", realize the omni-directional "connection" of human senses in the virtual world, so that people can freely choose their own roles and realize the creation of life value.

At present, the meta universe has not really taken shape, but with the improvement and promotion of technology, it will have a deeper and broader impact all over the world in the future.


The meta universe is not just a game or a virtual world, but a new space-time world in which the real world, the virtual world and human beings coexist. To realize the new world of meta universe, it is impossible to stand in the present without blockchain technology.

Blockchain technology consists of distributed data storage, point-to-point transmission, encryption algorithm and other computer technologies, with the characteristics of decentralization, information tamperability, anonymity, openness and transparency, it is called "trust mechanism and cooperation agreement".

Blockchain technology provides a set of positive feedback economic operation system, which links tens of thousands of individuals across the virtual and real worlds, and the assets carried can realize value circulation in the virtual and real worlds.

Therefore, blockchain technology with these characteristics can play a very important role in the metauniverse, which also opens the integration of metauniverse + blockchain.


The full name of NFT is non fungible token, i.e. non homogenous token / irreplaceable token. In contrast, the token of bitcoin and erc-20, which are familiar in the blockchain, are equivalent to qualitative token, that is, ft (functional token), which can be replaced or split.

NFT is a kind of negotiable equity certificate based on blockchain technology, which can correspond to different digital assets, and these assets are different.

If crypto represented by FT is like real money, NFT can refer to all other types of non monetary assets, such as physical goods, property rights, certificates, etc. ft and NFT together constitute all types of digital assets in the virtual world.

NFT has the attribute of decentralization. Based on this attribute, it can not only endow NFT with value, but also let the holders of NFT have the independent disposal right of the NFT.

These characteristics naturally coincide with the meta universe,The metauniverse based on blockchain technology and composed of many NFTs may be the mainstream in the futureThis is also an important reason why technology giants such as Tencent and Alibaba are also actively deploying NFT and other related fields.

Why do sports manufacturers march into the meta universe?

Motion fit metauniverse

Friends who have seen "number one player" must remember that the hero's entry into the virtual world of oasis depends on the cooperation of head display and other devices in order to perfectly map the actor's actions in reality to the virtual world.ย 

However, the current technology is far from the scene in the film. At present, the main way to play the virtual world is to capture the movements of our head and hands through VR head display and corresponding two hand controller. We need to make more body movements in the real world in order to better interact with the virtual world.

Therefore, it is different from using the keyboard and mouse on the computer to manipulate a character to roam in the virtual world,To enjoy the metauniverse through VR, we need to interact with more body movementsใ€‚

After the playability of many sports has been verified in reality, it can also be liked by many users in VR.

For example, once a cartoon style sports simulation game "all in one sports VR" appeared in the application store of Pico, a well-known VR product in China, it won wide praise from platform players and broke the double records of downloads and sales of new games on Pico platform in the first week.

There are many sports games in VR, including but not limited to boxing, table tennis, basketball, football, bowling, badminton, fishing, skiing, skydiving, rock climbing and other sports. These games involve avatars, clothing and equipment, which are naturally suitable for combination with sports brands.

Young people who like sports also like Yuanyu

As the main consumer group of sports goods, Z era pays great attention to innovative technology and new trendsThe new experience brought by the meta universe project represented by roblox is deeply loved by young people.ย 

On the other hand, blockchain, as one of the important basic technologies of the meta universe, also has a wide range of application scenarios. Especially in recent years, crypto and NFT projects based on blockchain technology have attracted extensive attention all over the world.

However, when the teams of these projects do research, they find that their users also love sports. Therefore, we often see that some blockchain projects have obtained the naming right of a sports event or sports related organization.

Since the coincidence of consumer users in the two directions is so high,So it is an inevitable trend for sports brands to explore the meta universe and let users feel double surprisesใ€‚

Compared with the traditional physical sales before, metauniverse has expanded a new dimension of virtual world for the physical industry, which has not only added a layer to the brand.

Sports brands can find new ways of marketing and promotion in the virtual world, such as building their own brand virtual stores in the meta universe, organizing online activities, or generating digital assets combined with their own brands for sales; It can also combine virtual and real, combine digital assets in the virtual world with offline physical goods, or give more rights and interests.

In these directions, some brands have bravely taken the fearless first step to explore step by step, it also captured some early dividends.

However, the current exploration is still in the early stage, and the world pattern is still uncertain. The princes began to run horses and enclosure, but there is not much time window left for the latecomers. Let's see whether various sports brands can break the existing market pattern, reshuffle and become the new king of overtaking on the curve with the help of new technology with the help of the brand-new technical wind of meta universe.

In the digital age, new technologies are more conducive to the realization of influence

Nowadays, with the development and innovation of new technologies such as blockchain and VR / AR, more and more commercial applications related to digital technology have sprung up, and digital economy is popular.ย 

Among them,As an emerging Internet technology that can carry and deliver value, blockchain is an important infrastructure in the digital economy, the technologies it provides, such as NFT, have opened up a new business model for the digital economy and a trillion level blue ocean market.

Based on NFT technology, we can generate unique digital assets. These assets belong to the owner, not to a company. Once the issuing company sells NFT to users, users will have the ownership of this digital asset, just like in reality, after we buy a pair of shoes, the shoes belong to us, not to the shoe manufacturer.

Today's sports brands no longer just stay at the commodity level, but rise to a culture, such as the sports spirit of nothingis impossible; Or a social currency, such as some limited edition sneakers.

The consumer psychology of users for these sports brands has gradually changed from usability to some spiritual needsใ€‚ Delivering value or rights like this is what blockchain technology is best at. For example, Adidas quickly gained tens of millions of dollars by issuing NFT with its own brand image.

Therefore, sports brands with many fans can give their influence to digital assets such as NFT with the help of new technologies such as blockchain, so as to expand more and more innovative ways to realize their influence.

What are the famous sports brands trying to do?


Nike is one of the first sports brands to enter the meta universe. In fact, it has been quietly laid out a long time ago.On March 22, 2019, Nike launched the "Nike Air Max day" campaign in cooperation with roblox, the first stock of metauniverse (which was not listed at that time), and launched an exclusive "virtual item bag"ใ€‚ย 

On May 23, 2019, the well-known online game fortress night announced the launch of limited time Parkour mode in conjunction with Nike's brand air jordan. Players can wear AJ and play Parkour. At the same time, it also launched a joint virtual clothing.

On December 10, 2019, Nike's blockchain compatible sneaker "cryptokicks" patent was approved by the U.S. patent office. The patent outlines a blockchain based system through which secure encrypted digital assets can be attached to physical products, such as sports shoes. Nike can also use blockchain technology to track the ownership of sneakers and verify their authenticity.

On October 23, 2021, Nike released the recruitment information for the digital product creation team.

On October 27, 2021, Nike filed seven trademark applications for virtual goods with the U.S. patent and Trademark Office, including trademarks such as "Nike", "just do it", "Jordan" and "Air Jordan". These trademarks are used for downloadable virtual goods, retail store services and entertainment services featuring virtual goods, covering footwear, clothing, headwear, backpacks, sports equipment, works of art, etc.

On November 18, 2021, Nike announced the creation of a virtual world nikeland on roblox, a meta universe platform with 50 million visitors a day, enabling users to connect, create, share experiences and compete in this spaceใ€‚ In March, Nike said that since its establishment, nikeland has received nearly 7 million visits from 224 countries.

On December 1, 2021, fortress night will be linked with air jordan again. AJ sneakers and hoodies will enter fortress night as purchasable skin.

On December 14, 2021, Nike announced the acquisition of virtual fashion brand and NFT collection startup rtfkt. Rtfkt is a virtual fashion brand founded in 2020. Before being acquired, rtfkt has launched a number of popular football shoes NFT and the famous NFT virtual avatar project CLONEX.

The acquisition of rtfkt accelerated Nike's metauniverse layout,On February 7, 2022, rtfkt launched the "mnlth" blind box NFT co branded with Nike, this is also the first time Nike has launched NFT.

On April 16, 2022, Nike tmall China flagship store launched a digital collection activity, combining basketball with music, fashion, art, hip-hop dance and video games, and integrating graffiti style to create a digital collection of "echo All-Star series", which was launched in China in a limited number. A total of five digital collections were launched, with a limited number of 1000 copies per day for five days.

Nike's "dunk KTT" series, which is based on Nike's "dunk KTT", was launched on the 3rd month of 2024; Random skin vials: Evo X potions. Virtual sneakers can be changed into different looks with different Evo X potions; And the second generation rtfkt x Nike monolith box.

The total amount of Nike Dunk genesis is 20000. The initial price is an average of 3 eth, about 60000 yuan, and the skin vial needs 1 eth.

To sum up,Nike mainly focuses on virtual shoes as the axis of exploring the metauniverseใ€‚

Nike was the first to link with some well-known games and launch virtual goods or game skins that are not based on blockchain technology; After that, explore blockchain technology, mine application cases in technology, and prepare for patents in advance; Then start to try to build a virtual world and explore various online interactive marketing methods with players; Finally, the acquisition of virtual fashion brands and the launch of their first virtual sneaker NFT have finally completed an important milestone.

However, although Nike's NFT has achieved great success and the transaction volume has exceeded US $10 million, formally speaking, Nike's playing method in the metauniverse is still slightly thin. I hope Nike, as the largest sports brand, can give us more surprises in the future.


As a long-term opponent of Nike, adidas has made no difference. Since the end of last year, adidas has played a series of combination boxing, and soon gained a reputation in the field of metauniverse.ย 

On November 23, 2021, the sandbox of the well-known meta universe project officially launched @ Adidas, invited it to build together in the sandbox, and displayed a 12 piece of the sandbox marked with the adidas logo ร— 12 virtual land.

Adidas responded that can we build adiverse together? This indicates that Adidas is brewing a metacosmic drama.

On November 25, 2021, Adidas originals sent a big news,Announced the establishment of a cooperative relationship with coinbase, a US compliant crypto exchangeใ€‚

On December 3, 2021, Adidas originals changed its twitter avatar to bayc (the abbreviation of bound ape Yacht Club) #8774, officially announcing that it entered the meta universe together with bayc, gmoney and punks comic.

At the same time, it will quietly buy the famous character Yida in 2026, with a value of about $871. At the same time, it will quietly enter the universe based on Yida's famous character Yida in 2026.

On December 17, 2021, Adidas announced the official launch of the first NFT series "into the metaverse" in cooperation with bayc, gmoney and punkscom, limited to 30000, for 0.2 eth (about $767).

The NFT on sale this time is not just a simple NFT picture, but also represents other digital rights, such as being able to obtain the "open meta universe virtual land experience jointly created with the community in 2022 and beyond".

Buyers will have the opportunity to enter the exclusive fan club and become a member of the community with the NFT series.

Members who join not only have the opportunity to buy exclusive Adidas products,It can also make suggestions on what products and experiences Adidas will provide to the communityใ€‚

At the same time, users who purchase NFT this time will also receive additional physical rewards. According to the introduction of Adidas official website, users will receive free of charge in 2022 and will receive exclusive sportswear, hoodies, Beanie hats, etc. provided by Adidas originals, gmoney, bayc and punks comic physical. In this event, Adidas received 5924 eth worth US $23.5 million.

On March 22, 2022, Adidas officially announced that it would present 200 pieces of the sandbox alphapass to the holders of Adidas originals into the metaverse (itmnft) by lottery. This once again gives its NFT more digital value.

On April 5, 2022, Adidas reached cooperation with the metacosmic avatar platform ready player me,Launch a personalized and AI generated avatar creation platform ozworld to support users to create unique digital shapesElephant. Subsequently, on May 11, ozworld was officially launched.

So far, we can see that Adidas has a very clear idea when entering the meta universe layout.

First, I bought one of the most famous NFT projects, bayc, and made it into a virtual character as its corporate publicity image.

Secondly, it cooperates with the well-known meta universe project and lays the groundwork for the construction of Adidas themed virtual world in the future.

Then cooperate with the top crypto exchange to obtain a huge potential target user group.

Then, after cooperating with a number of well-known metauniverse and NFT related project parties,With the help of the influence of both sides, push the heat to the climax, and then launch their own NFT products in due time, won unprecedented success.

Then focus on the launched NFT products, add more energy to them, and start to step into the incarnation field of the meta universe.

Step by step and in good order. I believe that following this route, Adidas may launch its own meta universe. Let's wait and see.


Seeing the rise of Nike and Adidas in the meta universe, puma finally began to try its own digital path, but it adopted another idea.ย 

On January 13, 2022, puma released the position of temporary digital culture manager on its LinkedIn. The job requirements need to understand the field of Web3, including NFT, metauniverse, Dao, etc.

On February 22, 2022, puma's official twitter was renamed puma ethใ€‚ Puma Eth is a domain name of the well-known blockchain project Ethereum name service (ENS), which is equivalent to DNS in the Internet. According to DNS, we can know what the IP address corresponding to the web address is, and according to ens, we can know which Ethereum wallet address the corresponding ENS name refers to.

Therefore, puma Eth is also the official address of Puma on Ethereum. We can check what kind of digital assets it has,This is equivalent to puma's digital identityใ€‚

Meanwhile, puma members in charge of meta universe related businesses interact with multiple NFT series twitter, including cool cats, lazy lions, gutter cat gang and catblox. And when we go to puma When eth this address, he found that his company has collected many cat types of NFT including the above items, which echoes the classic pattern of leopard leap on puma's logo.

In addition, according to a short video released by catblox on twitter that day, catblox will launch a joint NFT with puma.

Subsequently, on March 2, 2022, puma replaced the classic Jaguar leap avatar on its twitter with cool cats series #32 NFT, which is a blue cat image wearing an orange hat and yellow glasses, which seems to suggest that Puma has officially stepped into the digital field.

On May 11, 2022, in order to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Manchester City's first Premier League Championship and the landmark "93:20" moment,Manchester City will cooperate with puma to launch the "93:20" digital football shoes NFT created by digital artist musketonใ€‚

It can be seen that when puma enters the meta universe, it starts from the ENS, which symbolizes digital identity. At the same time, it buys a large number of cat type NFTs that are very consistent with its own brand image, and changes the twitter avatar to attract the attention of many NFT lovers.

And in business exploration,At present, it is gradually trying to launch NFT jointly with other well-known projects or enterprisesใ€‚

At present, Puma has the identity and image of the digital world, but these are only small mischief. It is really expected that puma will have more actions in the future.

Li Ning

Looking back at how our domestic brands layout the meta universe, Li Ning has become one of the leading forces.ย 

On April 21, 2022, China's Li Ning released a new activity notice on its microblog. In the notice, there were many outline pictures related to bayc's NFT, and it was also announced that China's Li Ning's "boring or not boring" flash store would be airborne in taikooli, Beijing,It also focuses on opening a new era of metauniverse with NFT, which also indicates the opening of Li Ning's metauniverse journeyใ€‚

On April 24, 2022, China's Li Ning unveiled the veil of the mysterious baycnft. A microblog Post said that members #4102 from boredape Yacht Club, a famous family of Web3.0, took over the boring or not boring flash shopkeeper, and combined the popular pixel style with frisbee, motorcycle and other trendy sports elements to interpret the real-life trendy life.

According to the information on opensea, it turned out that on April 11, China's Li Ning had quietly bought bayc's #4102 NFT, and then China's Li Ning participated in its activities as a virtual character.

At the same time, Li Ning also announced the launch of the "China Li Ning boring ape Trend Sports Club" series of clothes, which takes the image of the bored ape Yacht Club #4102 as the theme and integrates pixel style, street style and other trend elements. At the same time,China Li Ning's boring flash shop in taiguli, Sanlitun, Beijing, has also been officially launchedใ€‚

Customers who buy Li Ning boring ape series products can also get additional rewards. On May 24, 2022, customers who have purchased boring ape products can participate in the drawing of lots at the designated place with the boring ape products they wear, and will have the opportunity to obtain the limited prints of boring ape.

From Li Ning's layout in the meta universe, it seems to be inspired by Adidas. It also buys one of the most famous NFT projects, bayc, as a virtual character, and launches a series of products according to its image.

Users of these products can also get some additional benefits,Therefore, the possession of this series of products is regarded as a symbol of special identity, this play seems to fit the concept of digital identity in the metauniverse.

It is worth noting that the reason why China Li Ning and Adidas can directly use the purchased bayc NFT to launch relevant products is that the buyers of these NFTs can obtain the ownership of the works, so they can be used for commercialization, which is also a new way of IP development brought by NFT technology.

This is different from the current popular digital collections in China. The owners of domestic digital collections often have limited rights. Taking the Q version of Gu ailing digital collection launched by Migu as an example, what users get after purchase is only the "information network communication right" of the works, which can not be used for commercialization like Li Ning in China.

However, for Li Ning in China, despite the launch of bayc series products, the main influence of bayc is in overseas users, and the domestic perception of bayc is still very weak. It is debatable whether bayc can bring more growth. Perhaps it will have a better effect to promote the product to overseas users.

In addition,The layout of China Li Ning in the meta universe is still in the stage of combining the image of NFT with physical goods, there has not been more exploration at the technical level, which may be where we can expect more about the meta universe layout of Li Ning in China.


Although the popularity of metauniverse has decreased after last year's hot speculation, it seems to be more in line with the law of development of things. The story that can not continue to be hot will eventually come to an end,But what we can see is that the meta universe has begun to quietly change many industriesIt's just that most people haven't felt it yet.ย 

Of course, as far as the current metauniverse is concerned, we are still in the early stage and even in various exploration, which is far from comparable to other mature industries.

At the same time, there are still a small number of users who really understand and understand the meta universe. The user base determines the scale of the industry, so we need more patience.

However, sports giants such as Nike, Adidas and puma introduced in this article have been involved in this early field. They even spend a lot of money to show their love for metauniverse to young users, which may bring new brand growth points with the expansion of user scale in a few years.

We also need to make it clear that enterprises' exploration of the meta universe is at an early stage, and there are more interesting ways to play waiting for excavation and discovery. Even the hot NFT is just a kind of hype, far from the use stage.

So when these sports manufacturers began to bet on the yuan universe track,What they see may not be the current opportunities, but the future development and future usersAfter all, brands that can't keep up with the times will sooner or later lag behind the times.

So, who will be the next sports brand to enter the meta universe?

[statement]: This article was originally created by the operation team of yuancosmic heart. Reprinting without permission is strictly prohibited. If you need to reprint, please contact us. The copyright and final interpretation right of this article belong to yuancosmic heart.

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