Soccer-Coppa Italia final to get NFT collectibles in Serie A deal with crypto firm

FILE PHOTO: Coppa Italia - Final - Napoli v Juventus - Stadio Olimpico, Rome, Italy - June 17, 2020 Napoli's Jose Callejon, Lorenzo Insigne, Dries Mertens and Sebastiano Luperto celebrate with the trophy after winning the Coppa Italia, as play resumes behind closed doors following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) REUTERS/Alberto Lingria

MILAN (Reuters) - Italy's Serie A soccer league and have signed a deal whereby the cryptocurrency platform will release digital collectibles known as NFTs to commemorate the Coppa Italia final.

The deal, which Serie A described on Thursday as the first of its kind for a soccer league, also includes a sponsorship element, with Hong Kong-based designated the "official cryptocurrency and NFT sponsor" of the final.

The match between Cristiano Ronaldo's Juventus and Atalanta is due to take place on May 19.

"We are the first football league in the world to sign an agreement in this new market which is extremely innovative and relevant," said Luigi De Siervo, chief executive of Serie A.

NFTs, or non-fungible tokens, are digital assets whose ownership and authenticity can be verified using blockchain technology. They are usually bought with cryptocurrencies. While anyone can view them, buyers have the status of being the official owners.

The popularity of NFTs surged this year, with digital artworks selling for millions of dollars. In sports, fans can collect and trade NFTs relating to a particular player or team, for example in the form of video highlights from games.

Founded in 2016, says it serves over 10 million customers. It has recently launched a platform for collecting and trading NFTs in the fields of art, design, entertainment and sport.

(Reporting by Elvira Pollina, editing by Estelle Shirbon)

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