Lionel Messi’s VC Firm Play Time Backs Web3 Football Game Startup Matchday’s $21M Seed Round

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In Brief

Matchday is creating web3 football games licensed by FIFA.

Sebastien de Halleux, chief gaming officer at Matchday, was an Electronic Arts exec.

The company’s first title, Matchday Squad, is expected to be released in Q2 this year.

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Lionel Messi's VC Firm Play Time Backs Web3 Football Game Startup Matchday's $21M Seed Round

Matchday, a startup building web3 football games, has raised $21 million in a seed round backed by Lionel Messi’s venture capital firm, Play Time. Courtside Ventures, Greylock, HackVC, Capricorn Investment Group, and Horizons Ventures also participated in the round.

The company creates casual football games for “5 billion fans” with web3 elements such as NFT digital player cards. Last November, Matchday entered multi-year partnerships with FIFA and FIFPRO for game licensing. Alexia Putellas, the first back-to-back Ballon d’Or Feminin and UEFA Women’s Player of the Year award winner, joined the company as the founding global ambassador, advisor, and investor.

Matchday’s first title, “Matchday Squad,” is expected to be released in Q2 this year. The game will allow fans to compete against each other using player cards. After signing up, fans will receive a free deck of player cards to start building a squad.

“We want every voice to count and every fan to have true ownership,” Matchday co-founder and Chief Gaming Officer Sebastien de Halleux said in a statement. “Our free-to-play experiences are centered around Matchday player cards – featuring real football players – and the amazing community of football fans.”

To build an audience for the game, the company previously released a Matchday Challenge: FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ Edition mini-game, gave away 2 million NFT player cards to nearly 600,000 users, and dropped limited FIFA World Cup Genesis cards.

Sebastien de Halleux, co-founder and chief gaming officer at Matchday, was the VP of Business Development & Strategic Partnerships at Electronic Arts. He was formerly the co-founder and COO of Playfish, one of the largest and fastest-growing social video game companies, acquired by Electronic Arts in 2009. 

Messi has been inking major deals in the web3 space. Prior to making an investment in Matchday, Messi joined Sorare as an investor and brand ambassador. He has also signed a $20 million deal to promote the digital fan token platform, Socios.

Meanwhile, the world of football has been making a push into web3 to cash in on the sports memorabilia boom. Sorare has raised $680 million at a valuation of $4.3 billion and has recently signed an NFT partnership deal with the Premier League as well as football clubs like La Liga, the Bundesliga, and AC Milan.

Last November, FIFA partnered with Altered State Machine and Upland to bring football into the metaverse.

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Cindy Tan

Cindy is a journalist at Metaverse Post, focusing on interviews with Web3 industry players. A keen trendspotter, she's always on the lookout for the next big thing in the Web3 space. If you want the right eyeballs on your projects in the space, get in touch via [email protected]

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