DraftKings Marketplace Opens To Canada With Wayne Gretzky Exclusive

Written By Robyn McNeil on August 20, 2021 - Last Updated on February 29, 2024
Screenshot of DraftKings news page: Black-grey gradient background, White logo and letters

DraftKings Marketplace is now open to Canadians.

One week after it launched in the United States, DraftKings Marketplace welcomed Canada to its fold. The digital collectibles platform opened to Canucks on August 17, just ahead of exclusive Wayne Gretzky NFT drops from Autograph. DraftKings created the newly launched exchange to offer ease and accessibility for buying, selling, and trading digital property. The US company is widely known for its Daily Fantasy Sports and sportsbook operations.

Gretzky’s Premier line of full Preseason Access NFTs, a collaboration between Autograph and Upper Deck, also launched on August 17. The earliest drop, at 3 p.m. ET, with 5000 “Carbon Premiere” collectibles, sold out in under 13 minutes. Subsequent drops made each hour until 7, with fewer editions and higher prices, went just as fast. The second collection of signed Gretzky collectibles drops today, August 20

According to Matt Kalish, co-founder and president of DraftKings North America, DraftKings expects Canadian enthusiasm for their exclusive NFT content.

“The DraftKings customer base in Canada has shown tremendous engagement in our daily fantasy contests over the years,” said Kalish.

“For Canadian sports fans across generations, arguably no athlete is more revered than Wayne Gretzky, which makes this upcoming series of drops all the more impactful knowing that customers in Canada can now participate and acquire unique collectible items of one of their favorite [sic] sports heroes.”

What is an NFT?

NFT stands for non-fungible token. But what does that actually mean?

To start, non-fungible means the digital token is unique and irreplaceable with another. Bitcoin, in contrast, is a fungible property. If you have one and you trade it for another, you end up with the same thing. A non-fungible collectible, however, is not interchangeable. If you trade one for another, you wind up with something different. Take Hank Aaron’s 1954 Topps Rookie Card. Now you could swap it for a 2019 Rowdy Tellez (don’t!), but they are very different things.

NFT’s are similar to cryptocurrency and exist on the Ethereum blockchain. 

Ethereum, like Bitcoin, is cryptocurrency. But, its blockchain can support NFTs and their extra information in addition to standard coins. 

Now, understanding how a blockchain works can be a bit complicated. If you’re still unsure what a blockchain is, you’re certainly not alone. We won’t get into it too deeply here, but, essentially, it’s a specialized database. A database that stores information in a way that makes it difficult to tamper with.

This stability makes blockchain a near-ideal delivery system for digital valuables.

Working out the kinks

By all initial accounts, the DraftKings Marketplace’s US launch was a roaring success. The platform’s first drops of Tom Brady’s Preseason Access Collection seemed to go off (and sell out) without a hitch. Brady is co-founder of NFT maker, Autograph, so kicking things off with self-branded collectibles makes sense.

“The feedback on user experience has been overwhelmingly positive,” said Kalish at the time. “This was an absolute success and important first milestone toward meeting our long-term objectives for the platform.”

A few days later, though, it was revealed the marketplace allowed some customers to purchase multiple NFTs. One user even managed to snag all five, which was a problem for DraftKings and its customers.

DraftKings responded with a statement Monday, one day before the first Gretzky drops. The company expressed gratitude for customers and the drop’s success before acknowledging the technical glitch.

“We are extremely grateful to everyone who joined us on DraftKings Marketplace for our first ever NFT drop,” DraftKings said. “It was a tremendous success, and this new technology was a first step in making digital collectables accessible to millions of consumers.”

However, they admitted some people queued up more than once, allowing extra chances to snap up NFTs before they sold out. 

“We are committed to ensuring that our marketplace offers a best-in-class experience for everyone who wishes to buy an NFT on DraftKings Marketplace and will take steps to limit the ability to join the queue more than once before our next drop.”

So far, there have been no reports of similar issues with the Gretzky NFT launch.

Queuing up

Collectors looking to pick up a Gretzky Signature NFT collectible can attempt to do so today by signing up for or into a Draftkings account. Signature drops go down every hour, on the hour, between 3 and 7 p.m., ET. Waiting rooms open 30 minutes before each launch. While queuing up won’t guarantee you score a digital keepsake, your chances are undoubtedly better.

“I’m thrilled to get into the NFT space with Autograph and expand into Canada, having fans engage with great moments from my hockey career in new, revolutionary ways,” said Gretzky

“I’ve been committed to sharing and developing the game further for all hockey fans, and I’m proud to work and advise with Autograph, making the space more accessible and streamlined for new and longtime collectors.”

Photo by DraftKings.com
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Robyn McNeil

Robyn McNeil is a Nova Scotia-based writer and editor. She lives in Halifax in an empty nest with a mischievous cat and a penchant for good stories, strong tea, cheeseburgers, yoga, graveyards, hammocks, gardening, games, herb, and hoppy beer.

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