Mercury, the digital fan engagement platform focused on collegiate athletics, has launched clemsontigers.io, a custom site that will provide inside access to Clemson sports teams along with digital collectibles.
As part of the three-year partnership, clemsontigers.io will post team updates, stage chat forums and host virtual fan interactions with athletes—many of whom are expected to eventually obtain NIL deals with the company. Users can become VIPs by signing up for a 2022-2023 Tigers Membership pass, which unlocks full online access to contests and a chance to accumulate redeemable Tiger Points. The first 100 fans to register gain their membership pass free.
“This is something real that the university is endorsing — this is a real Clemson platform,” Mercury’s CEO and co-founder Porter Grieve told SportTechie on Friday. “Because at the end of the day, fans want to get closer to the athletes.”
Clemson and Mercury are also collaborating on NFTs that pertain to the school’s athletic culture. In a matter of weeks, clemsontigers.io will drop “Tombstone” digital collectibles reflective of the school’s custom of holding grave ceremonies for the ranked teams they have defeated on the road over the years, including the 2014 Orange Bowl win over Ohio State.
“At Clemson when the football team beats I believe a top 25 opponent away from home, they essentially take that team and put them in the ground,” Grieve said. “And they have a graveyard on campus with all these tombstones against Alabama and South Carolina [and 22 others]. It’s this incredibly fascinating unique thing that only Clemson does.
“So we’re doing a drop where we’ve digitized and reimagined the tombstones as digital collectibles, NFTs. And we’re doing a super limited drop, only 32 of them and the lucky fans who are there early and get one will be rewarded with amazing experiences year after year. So this year, they’re doing this awesome one where they get to go to campus and run down the hill and kick a field goal and get a tour of the facilities, and we’ll also reward them with memorabilia.”
Mercury, which debuted in 2021, has similar brand partnerships with Kansas (rockchalk.io), Kentucky (ukbluechips.io) and Central Florida (chargeon.xyz). In the coming weeks, they will launch similar platforms for Oklahoma and Villanova, all with an eye on customization.
“At Kansas, we took the James Naismith Court at Phog Allen Fieldhouse, and we chopped it into 100 pieces digitally and sold it in drops of five,” Grieve says. “And each one sold out in under three minutes. People can say, ‘I’m one of 80-to 100 holders of this piece of court.’ And we’re excited to redo that for the football field and at other school’s courts to have them compete to see has the most valuable court. Such as at [Kentucky’s] Rupp Arena.”
As many as 85 student-athletes from the four affiliated schools have already signed NIL with Mercury. Former Penn State All-American football player Adam Breneman is Mercury’s VP of NIL and Media and will be hosting long-form interviews with many of the schools’ players, such as Kentucky quarterback Will Levis, Kansas quarterback Jalon Daniels and UCF quarterback John Rhys Plumlee .
Grieve said the company’s goal is not solely to emphasize NFTs, but to customize virtual fan engagement for each campus community.
“Clemson is different from Kansas, which is different from Kentucky and UCF,” Grieve said. “So each requires sort of a tailored approach.”