Aaron Murray among former UGA football players launches NFT collection


Ty Frix set out earlier this year to build a computer from scratch in order to have a powerful platform for playing video games.

The old one Georgian football player and medical school graduate did not expect a big challenge, but he quickly ran into an obstacle.

Some parts cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars more than expected.

Why?

The response led to Frix entering the cryptocurrency world and ultimately partnering with former UGA football players. Aaron Murray, Keith marshall and his brother Trent Frix to start a “Passion Project”, with benefits intended for current college football players and fans in Georgia.

Former Georgian soccer players to launch first-of-its-kind NFT collection

Months of learning, brainstorming and collaboration led to the creation of The players’ lounge, a digital collaborative space for college fans.

The company is launching an NFT collection called DGD Mafia on Sunday, January 9 (the day before the College Football Playoff Championship game) designed for the Georgia football community.

The purchase of the NFT (non-fungible token) will unlock access to exclusive content and experiences in the real world and digital spaces.

“We came together and saw this as an opportunity to bring this new technology and asset class to the Georgia football community that we all know so well,” said Marshall. “The ability to generate enthusiasm within a community centered around a common theme is one of the characteristics that has led to the success of the most popular NFT projects to date.”

NFTs are like baseball cards, but are digital and ownership is tracked using blockchains, which record transactions and assets in a network. In some cases, like the DGD Mafia concept, NFTs are used to organize people in a community for a common interest or goal.

The sports landscape is full of NFT examples – Tom Brady has released several collections, and Tim Tebow and the University of Florida are partners in a digital collector’s company called Campus legends which was launched in September.

What makes the Players’ Lounge unique, says Frix, is that 50% of the profits will go to current players in Georgia in partnership with NCAA rules.

“The Players’ Lounge is the first NFT community built by former players, created for current and future players to take advantage of recommendations and connect with the fan community,” said Frix, whose father Mitch and brother Trent also played for the Bulldogs.

The adventure materialized in part thanks to a series of fortunately timed events.

The NCAA has adopted policies so that players can earn money through name, image and likeness endorsements starting in July.

“I’m a little salted about the new NIL rules because I wish they’d come out when I was playing,” said Murray, now a CBS broadcaster who holds SEC records for passing yards and career touchdowns. “I think it’s great because I know what these kids are going through and how difficult it is. You give up a lot to do it. I love that these kids have the opportunity to earn money, and I love that we are giving them another way to make money.

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October 12, 2013;  Athens, Georgia, United States;  Georgia Bulldogs quarterback Aaron Murray (11) throws a touchdown pass against the Missouri Tigers in the second half at Sanford Stadium.  Missouri defeated Georgia 41-26.  Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

As college athletes accepted their first sponsorship deals this summer, Frix was on the hunt for computer parts. Prices were shockingly high, he learned, due to lack of supply due in part to an influx of users into the cryptocurrency space driving up costs.

Frix went into search mode and eventually landed on the NFTs.

“I started to think that this could be a way to connect with current athletes and the fan base in the digital world and function as an access token in that world,” said Frix.

Frix passed his ideas on to Marshall, who graduated in finance from UGA’s Terry College of Business and is currently pursuing an MBA at Emory University.

Some of Marshall’s recent courses covered alternative assets, so he and Frix spoke the same language.

“In my leading asset class, we spent a few conferences learning and discussing with market leaders in the NFT space about the characteristics at the heart of successful NFT projects,” said Marshall, one of the recruits. top rated in Georgian football history who scored 15 points. “Understanding both the NFT market and the Georgia football community, I immediately saw the value of connecting the two when Ty called. “

Also in the fall, a company suggested that Murray launch their own personal NFT collection. He loved the concept and was about to sign a contract when Frix contacted him.

“I prefer to do it with my guys and have fun with it,” Murray said. “We’ve seen other companies come out and try to work with college players. I think we try to be a little different in the sense that we give more money back to the players.

Soon, Frix and Company developed ideas into a business plan – illustrations for the cards, perks for buyers, including autographed soccer balls and digital signatures on rare versions of NFT cards, and locations. approval for players. GigLabs, a leading company in the NFT space with partnerships including CNN, the University of Miami and NASCAR, agreed earlier this month to help bring the Players’ Lounge to life.

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September 22, 2012;  Athens, Georgia, United States;  Georgia Bulldogs running back Keith Marshall (4) in the game against the Vanderbilt Commodores at Sanford Stadium.  Georgia won 48-3.  Mandatory Credit: Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

“The credibility of partnering with a company like GigLabs along with the expertise it offers has been invaluable in helping us refine and implement our vision,” said Marshall.

DGD Mafia Aims To Build A Community For Former, Current And Future Players And Fans

According to Frix, the Players’ Lounge should open up communication and build relationships between former and current players and fans – groups of people with a passion for Georgian football who want the Bulldogs to win. Since the end of his playing days in 2012, Frix has taken on a leadership role within Lettermen’s Club and says there is work to be done to encourage more interaction and benefit, especially among players. from the Mark Richt and Kirby Smart eras.

Connection is something Frix has sparked for a long time. Marshall says Frix was one of his first UGA teammates he met upon arriving in Athens in 2012 when Frix offered to accompany him on his first day on campus. Frix helped Murray in a biology class during his freshman year, and the two later became roommates. The trio played together in the winning Georgian team SEC-East in 2012.

“We’ve all stayed very, very close since college,” Murray said.

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September 7, 2013;  Athens, Georgia, United States;  Georgia Bulldogs backer Keith Marshall (4) celebrates a touchdown with quarterback Aaron Murray (11) and offensive tackle Kolton Houston (75) in the first half against the South Carolina Gamecocks at Sanford Stadium .  Mandatory Credit: Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

Over the years, Frix and Marshall have kept in touch, often talking about start-ups and business concepts. Murray and Frix text almost every day in a group text with former teammates.

Developing these types of relationships between all segments of the Georgia football community, everyone agrees, is a primary goal for The Players’ Lounge.

“To have played on both sides of the pitch as a player and now a fan is exciting because it allows all of us to be part of the community that we miss so much,” said Frix. “We want to contribute to this community. We think this business is the best way to do it.”


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