Over 600,000 registered users are already competing for high prize money and rewards in the blockchain-based soccer game Sorare. In this guide you will find out everything you need to know for a successful start – and more.
What is Sorare and what role do Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) play in it?
Founded in 2018, Sorare is a global fantasy football (soccer) game, where players manage a virtual team with digital player cards, which they buy, sell, and trade. The digital cards are NFTs, or non-fungible tokens. In short, NFTs are unique digital assets. All cards are officially licensed and around 200 clubs are present in the game, including some of the most famous clubs in Europe, such as Real Madrid, Liverpool, and Juventus.
Collecting your own favorite players is only part of the exciting gaming experience. Like well-known fantasy games, your own footballers are set up on match days and rated based on their performance on the real turf. In addition to goals and assists, criteria such as the pass rate or the number of scoring chances created are also decisive. Sorare partners with the British analytics company Opta Sports for the players’ evaluation. It provides extensive data sets and statistics for 30 sports in 70 countries and is considered the world’s leading provider of its kind. The cooperation enables Sorare to cover numerous leagues and clubs from all over the world in addition to a well-founded performance assessment of the players.
The fighting spirit of the managers is fueled by Sorare: The most successful among them receive weekly rewards in the form of prize money and player cards, which can be worth a whopping five-figure amounts. Prize money is paid out in units of cryptocurrency Ether (ETH).
The game uses blockchain technology based on Ethereum. Each digital card is registered as a unique token on the Ethereum blockchain. Transactions are all recorded on the Ethereum blockchain. The use of blockchain technology means that the digital cards have provable rarity and scarcity. Thanks to the blockchain, cards cannot be altered, duplicated, or deleted and their supply is limited. Each card is unique and owned personally by one player. The card’s value appreciates and depreciates based on its market value. This makes Sorare interesting not only for football fans, but also for collectors and speculative investors.
So, what’s the hype around NFTs? NFTs were created in 2013-2014 from people wanting to trade assets and collectibles on the blockchain. The NFT space gathered attention when CryptoPunks and CryptoKitties came out in 2017, and people started earning large sums of money from flipping them. NFTs quieted down from then until 2021. Their return to stardom can be explained by Bitcoin’s 3x rise in price to all-time highs in 2021, a growing digital collectibles market that surged during COVID (NFTs solved the problem of scarcity, allowing creators to price, publish, and sell their work), content creators’ interest in decentralized monetization of digital content, emergence of NBA Top Shot (#1 source of NFT volume), and mass attention towards future technologies Metaverse and Web 3.0.
A total of five players form a team which competes against other managers in various competitions on game days. You can get new cards via the transfer market, which we will present in detail below.
The following positions must be filled for each team:
- Midfield player
- Additional field player
For each position of the line-up, the available players are displayed on the game screen. Information such as the upcoming opponents and the last points scored help you decide. One of the players is also appointed team captain by the manager.
Players collect experience points (XP) quite simply with their accumulated playing times – the more often you line up certain players, the more XP they accumulate and the higher their card level rises. Every time a card is played in a game week, it accumulates experience (XP). The XP will help level up the card to a maximum of 20 levels in the space of 3 years. XP and level progress is designed so that if you regularly use a card it should grow by 10 levels within the first season. It will then take two more seasons of regular use to reach another 10 levels. The XP a card can acquire is progressive in a logarithmic way (it increases faster at the beginning). Every time your card levels up, its bonus grows by 0.5%.
Different types of cards
Common cards are given to players after completing the onboarding process and successfully launching their Sorare managerial career. There’s an infinite number of common cards, and they don’t exist on the blockchain, meaning they can’t be bought, sold, or traded.
Sorare is built around the idea of collecting cards that have both a certain rarity and scarcity in the game. This means some cards will be worth more than others. For the 2021-22 season, four levels of scarcity exist for each Sorare Card:
LIMITED (Yellow) – 1,000 cards created each season. These were introduced in August 2021 together with a separate division (D5). The aim was to make player cards more affordable without affecting the existing competition. Prices start at just a few dollars, but in the case of the top stars can also reach three to four-digit amounts. Bonus level: 0-10%.
RARE (Red) – 100 cards created each season. For average players, sums in the three-digit range are typically called. Can be played in divisions D2-D4. Bonus level: 0-10%.
SUPER RARE (Blue) – 10 cards created each season. Depending on the league, the price can easily be in the four to five-digit range. Can be played in divisions D1-D3. Bonus level: 20-30%.
UNIQUE (Black / Brown) – 1 card created each season. In addition to the top division (D1), they can also be used in their own, exclusive tournament. Bonus level: 40-50%.
There are also several limited special cards that visually stand out from the crowd. They are given out by Sorare for the champions of the national professional leagues or the “Player of the Year”. In terms of points, there are no advantages, but the collector’s value increases significantly.
Finally, Sorare recently announced an exclusive partnership with 50 of the greatest legends in world football. Since then, vintage cards have gradually been issued by icons such as Iker Casillas, Johan Cruyff and Ronaldo Nazário. Legends are not only pure collector’s value but can also be used once a month in the Special Weekly tournament.
The worth of NFT collector cards are based on its market value or how much other players are willing to pay for them. Generally, the rarer the card, the more expensive it should be. Also, how in-demand a certain football player will be reflected on the price of his card. Collector cards are not only for use in Sorare, but they can also be used outside of the platform in other games.
Serial number, points average and further information
Except for the Unique cards, each of the cards has a serial number. Serial #1 simply means the first card that was issued by the respective player in a season. In the case of rare cards, there would be no more cards after #100 until the new season begins. Particularly low series tend to be more expensive, but otherwise offer no advantages.
There’s also information about the season from which the corresponding player card originates. Current player cards receive a further point bonus of 5 percent, which gives them a certain advantage over older ones. The other information (club, shirt number, age, etc.) speaks for itself.
Other information displayed on the cards: the average performance points of the last five games, the cumulative point bonus (rarity, XP, season) and, if applicable, the U23 badge are displayed. The latter signals the entitlement to take part in the “Global Under 23” tournament.
Before we forget: Player cards retain their full functionality when you change clubs. In this case, the current club membership is always decisive, despite the outdated information on the card. For example, if a player changes from the MLS to the Bundesliga, his cards would henceforth be eligible to play in European tournaments.
Example calculation of points-score
Now that we’ve already covered a lot of theoretical things, it’s time to do a little sample calculation. To do this, let’s briefly recall what the final score on match days is made up of:
- Player performance
- Rarity level
- Experience points / card level
- Captain’s armband (yes / no?)
- Issue time of the card (current card?)
For our calculation we will use a super rare card. Cards can reach a maximum value of 100. Let’s assume our card has an average value of 60 points that the player was able to achieve over the last five games. The bonuses are now as follows:
Rarity level (+ 20%): 60 x 0.20 = 12 points
XP / card level (+ 5.5%): 60 x 0.055 = 3.3 points
Current card (+ 5%): 60 x 0.05 = 3 points
This makes a points bonus of 18.3 or a total score of 78.3 points. If our player is selected as captain on match day, 12 points would be added.
The transfer market is where managers buy, sell, and trade player cards. The transfer market is divided into two main components: new card auctions and manager sales.
New card auctions by Sorare
In new card auctions, there is the possibility of winning new players for your own team. These are player cards that have been freshly created (“minted”) by Sorare and are now given to the managers. If you win such an auction, you are the first owner of the respective card. The card level for auctioned players is therefore always zero.
The displayed player cards can be narrowed down using the numerous filters. You can submit your bid in ETH (ETH wallet) or US dollars (credit card). If you emerge from an auction as the winner, you will find the relevant card after a short time under “My Club” and “My Cards”. This means that it can already be used on the coming game day.
In addition to individual auctions, Sorare also offers so-called bundles. These are teams consisting of five players from a club who cover all the necessary positions so that you are ready to start immediately. Often you pay less than you would have to spend in total for the individual players. The obvious disadvantage is that you are limited to a single club when it comes to choosing your own players.
If you want to get more information about a player, his performance or the transaction history, a click on the respective player card is sufficient. If that is not enough, another click on the player name takes you to the details or profile page. Here there is additional information such as the number of available tickets as well as extensive statistics for all seasons.
Manager sales on the secondary market
This division of the transfer market is the secondary market for player cards. The structure is completely analogous to the auction page. The only difference is that managers can offer their own players for sale – and interested parties can make counteroffers. Many of the players already have higher XP levels and therefore get more points straight away.
A certain degree of caution is required with these direct purchases, as many of the players are set (far) above their usual market prices. You should therefore find out about the current market values on portals such as SorareData before making a purchase. The sorting key “Best Value”, which automatically sorts the offers in descending order of attractiveness, provides an initial orientation.
If you would like to sell one of your players yourself, you can simply click on “Sell my card” on their profile page and select the desired price in ETH or US dollars.
Trade and barter transactions via direct offer
You can’t find a player in the auctions or on the manager market, but you really want to have him on your team? In this case, there is a third and final option: dealing directly with other managers. A minimum price can be set for each player, below which offers cannot be submitted in the first place. As soon as an offer has been submitted, the ball lies with the other party.
The tournament and league system
First, a distinction must be made between “tournament” and “division”. Tournaments are the superordinate competitions which, in the interests of fairness, are again divided into game classes with different requirements. Each division in each tournament has its own dynamic prize structure.
The “Play” tab in the main menu takes you to the overview of the tournaments below, which you can use to register your teams later. Most of them have their own entry requirements like age requirements or players’ national professional leagues. This not only makes the competitions much more interesting, but also enables managers to develop real niche expertise. The following competitions are currently offered in Sorare:
|Global All Star||5 divisions||No requirements|
|Global Under 23||5 divisions||Players under 23|
|Champion Europe||5 divisions||Top-5 European Leagues|
|Challenger Europe||5 divisions||All other European Leagues|
|Champion America||5 divisions||North and South American Leagues|
|Champion Asia||5 divisions||J- (Japan) and K-League (South Korea)|
|Global Unique||5 divisions||Only Unique cards|
In addition, there’s the “Special Weekly” tournament, the conditions of which change on a weekly basis.
Players for whom there is no place in the tournament teams on match days are also offered what is known as “Special Training”. The players cannot win any prizes, but they can earn the experience points that are important for the bonus points. Players who are not used should always be registered for the Special Training.
Many managers specialize in one (or a few) of the numerous competitions. This not only enables them to optimally align their squad, but also to build up real expertise in the niche they have chosen over time.
From beginners to the elite: The five divisions
As already mentioned, most tournaments are divided into different leagues – the so-called divisions or divisions. This to ensure equal opportunities for managers. For example, Rare cards won’t compete with Unique cards. The rarer the card, the higher the bonus points that players receive in addition to their performance points. Although overlaps do happen.
D5: Limited cards only
D4: Exclusively rare cards, supplemented by a maximum of one common card (50% discount on points scored)
D3: At least three rare cards, a maximum of two super rare cards
D2: At least three super rare cards, a maximum of one rare and one unique card
D1: At least three unique cards, a maximum of two super rare cards
Prizes and rewards for successful performance
Over 700 player cards and 20 ETH are issued by Sorare every week in rewards. All competitions have a dynamic prize pool that changes with the number of participants and can be viewed before each game day. With stricter conditions of participation, the payouts for top placements also increase, as more money must be taken to play. On the other hand, the number of managers who receive a reward shrinks. That is also logical, after all, fewer participants fight for the prizes to be awarded.
For example, at D4 of the Global All-Star tournament, between 8,000 and 11,000 managers are take part per game day. In contrast, there is the Global Unique elite tournament with just 10-25 participants. The prize pool for the Global All-Star Division 4 looks like this:
- Places 1-3 receive the main prizes consisting of “Star Rare” player cards and a fixed amount of ETH.
- The other prize ranks are divided into clusters. The higher the ranking, the more valuable the player card you get.
- Special feature of this tournament: regardless of the placement, you also receive a fixed amount of ether for exceeding the threshold values.
The Global All Star D4 is currently the only league in which the absolute points scored are decisive. Regardless of the number of participants and the final rank, you receive ETH as soon as the threshold values of points are exceeded.
Registration and first steps
Registering with Sorare via the official website is straightforward and takes just a few steps. After you have stored your data and confirmed your own email address, you set up your club profile. In addition to the club’s name and badge, this also includes your own nickname and, if desired, a profile picture.
Then you choose three favorite teams and start onboarding. For the processing of certain tasks, you receive several free common cards, which mainly consist of players from the previously selected clubs. The latter should therefore be chosen with care. Finally, you save your payment information and / or connect an existing ETH wallet and you’re ready to go.
Tips for a successful start
Despite all the user-friendliness: Even with Sorare there are some things that you can quickly get wrong, especially as a beginner – or that you cannot even know at the beginning. In the following, we will give you some general tips that can give you a little head start in advance.
- Set priorities correctly: many managers hold onto players who have scored well in the past or for whom they once put a lot of money on the table. The top priority should always be playing time and current form, which you should find out about before a matchday at the latest. Placed players without playing time – called DNP (“Did not play”) in technical jargon – are generally considered to be the worst-case scenario.
- Building up a niche expertise: at Sorare, those managers who have real expertise in their field are particularly successful. To avoid a lot of competition, it can be worth taking a look at the smaller leagues. Even the US Major League Soccer (MLS) is still under the radar of many compared to Europe’s “Big Five”. A pleasant side effect: the prices of the player cards are generally more affordable.
- Play the long game: patience pays off – also with Sorare. While the injury of a player is the absolute worst-case scenario for many, it offers a real opportunity for managers with a long-term perspective. Why? Quite simply: The players concerned are often available at a real bargain price, as they are thrown onto the market in droves. The situation is similar with players whose teams are in the off-season, i.e. are not playing any games.
Tools, communities, and resources
There is already a large ecosystem of communities and third-party applications around Sorare that expand and improve the gaming experience.
Tools and applications
SorareData: This is an analysis tool that supports managers in many ways: From market values to sales volumes to player rankings, you can find almost everything that can be technically recorded here. In addition, own competitions are held.
SorareBuzz: Aggregates news about its own players, so that you don’t have to search the entire Internet independently and permanently. A voting function among managers ensures greater visibility of relevant messages.
RotoWire: Although this is not exclusively dedicated to Sorare, it’s still useful. RotoWire helps managers set their squad. It provides general news, expected line-ups, injuries, and extensive team statistics.
The most important and largest community is certainly the Sorare Discord server. Here you not only stay up to date at all times, but can also exchange ideas with thousands of other users and thereby expand your knowledge.
As far as news and instructions are concerned, the in-house Sorare blog on Medium should be mentioned first. The team is also extremely active on social media channels such as Twitter. The “SorareBot” operates a channel that acts as a kind of live ticker for player sales. Finally, “The Sorare Podcast” by the two gamers “Hibee” and “YNWA”. Interesting guests are regularly invited, and important topics and innovations are discussed, from which you can take a lot.
Making money with Sorare
The prizes and rewards are a core part of Sorare gameplay. Now, of course, it is not the case that everyone generates a regular income, let alone builds up a fortune with the trading cards. Nor can it be dismissed out of hand that many managers have legitimate hopes for the prize ranks every week. Division 4 of the Global All-Star tournament offers special opportunities.
If you do not have a top team from at least two Super Rare cards at the beginning, its recommended regular participation in D4 of the Global All-Star tournament. Regardless of the placement, you will receive prize money for exceeding 205 (0.01 ETH) or 250 (0.02 ETH) points. This is usually the easiest way to get prize money without escalating costs.
The prize money is also always paid out in Ethereum’s own crypto currency, Ether or ETH, and displayed in your own virtual wallet after a short time. If you are convinced of the perspective of the currently second largest cryptocurrency, participating in the tournaments can pay off twice. The digital coins can be transferred to an external wallet using the wallet icon and the “Withdraw with” tab. From there, an exchange into euros is possible.
Another possible way to make money in Sorare is by trading cards. The value of football players increases every week based on game performance. In the short run, a manager can buy a player card that they expect is going to perform well and sell it after the card rises in price after a solid performance. In the long run, scouting is involved. The manager scouts and finds a player card that is currently undervalued because they’re not playing much or haven’t reached their peak, buy that card, wait for it to grow in price, and sell it for a great return.
There is no separate Sorare Coin in the narrower sense. Neither can you buy shares in the French tech start-up, as of now at least. If you still want to rely on the success of the digital trading cards, you currently only have the option of a direct investment in the NFT-based collectibles. Prize money and rewards can be viewed as dynamic dividends, so to speak.
The most expensive Sorare cards
With the introduction of the Limited cards, Sorare has managed to make the game accessible to the masses. As already mentioned, the cheapest of them can be bought for a few euros. However, this did not affect the prices called at the other end of the scale. Quite the opposite: we are constantly watching new card auctions that are beyond our imagination.
Many see the trading cards as a lucrative investment opportunity in the short or long term. In addition to old stars, particularly promising youngsters are particularly popular. In March 2021, a one-of-a-kind Cristiano Ronaldo NFT sold for $290,000 on Sorare. It set two records: most expensive football card and most expensive sports NFT sale, beating NBA Top Shot Lebron James dunk moment that sold for $208,000.
Is Sorare legit?
Sorare had card sales volume of over $150M (€125M) since January 2021 across 170 countries. It is funded by a world-class team including Benchmark, Accel Partners, Headline, footballers Gerard Piqué, Antoine Griezmann and Rio Ferdinand. US media mogul and NFT enthusiast Gary Vaynerchuk is also on board. The platform has partnered with around 200 top football clubs, including Juventus, Real Madrid, and Liverpool. Sorare has raised a total of $739.2 million and its latest valuation is $4.3 billion. In its latest funding round in September 2021, led by Japanese investor Softbank, $680 was invested – the largest investment round into an NFT-based startup.
The fresh capital is to be used, among other things, to make the game even more popular around the globe and to bring further partnerships under one roof. In addition, the company plans to expand its service portfolio to include sports such as American football in the near future.
Of course, this success is not entirely by chance. The team around the founders Nicolas Julia (Master’s in management; previously Vice President Operations at the blockchain service provider Stratumn) and Adrien Montfort (Master’s in Computer Science, previously VP Engineering at Stratumn) is not only excellently trained, but also well networked in the scene.