Chicago Bulls pioneer digital sports collectibles with NFT collection "THE AUROCHS"
The Chicago Bulls tapped into the creativity of Web3 artists to envision new logo options for fans, minted as 1 of 1 NFTs. The organization tasked 23 digital artists to recreate their logo for “The Auroch’s” Collection, auctioned via Coinbase, in September 2022.
The Bulls tapped into the creativity of Web3 artists to envision new logo options for fans, minted as 1 of 1 NFTs. The organization tasked 23 digital artists to recreate their logo for “The Auroch’s” Collection, auctioned via Coinbase, in September 2022.
Reimagining a Logo For Web3 Fans
The Chicago Bulls are one of the most iconic sports teams in American history, with legions of committed fans looking to interact with the brand in new ways. The Bulls wanted to create an opportunity for fans to connect with the brand’s visual identity, built on a Web3 foundation of ownership and inclusivity.
The organization asked 23 of the world's most creative artists to reimagine the Bulls logo in their own unique style, launching "The Aurochs” collection. The original logo, a red charging bull's face with black and white accents, hasn't changed significantly since the team’s founding in 1966.
For this digital-only iteration, Chicago-based artists like Michael Salisbury and NoPattern pay homage to their team alongside global names like Bobby Hundreds, Blake Jamieson, Gxng Yxng of Ghxsts, Maliha Abidi, Betty, and Psych from the NFT project Deadfellaz.
The non-fungible token versions aren’t intended as a replacement for the logo but are the first official attempt from the organization to envision a different branding, one that comes from a place of inclusion and community.Chicago Bulls partnered with Coinbase NFT and thirdweb to launch the collection in September ‘22. Each piece was auctioned as a 1 of 1 NFT on Ethereum, the most popular blockchain for web3 applications, with a starting price of 0.2 ETH.
Bulls Use thirdweb to Connect with Artists and Fans, Seamlessly
NFTs provide sports teams with a new category of collectible, one that speaks to an evolving digital consumer class. Creating these collectibles requires unique, Web3 native skills to ensure fans have first-class experiences with the brand.
Since the Bulls were launching 23 1 of 1 NFTs, inspired by the logo, they needed a seamless solution for minting. thirdweb’s NFT Drop allows brands like the Bulls to easily define conditions for when and how users can claim an NFT, including allowlists, release dates, claim limits, and delayed reveals.
thirdweb’s NFT Drop is ideal for collections where a creator wants to release a PFP collection where each NFT has a different combination of traits or, as in the case of the Bulls, release NFTs of artwork and have the fans mint them at auction.
thirdweb’s prebuilt contracts made it easy and stress-free for the Bulls organization to launch this project. thirdweb’s contracts are fully open-source on GitHub, consistently audited by trusted firms, 10x cheaper to deploy than ordinary smart contracts, and completely owned by the creator/brand deploying.“The Aurochs” collection was released using the ERC721 Standard. The NFTs were auctioned in a 24-hour window, with a starting price of 0.2 ETH, on Coinbase, one of the world’s most popular NFT and crypto exchanges.
NFT Artists Given Creative Control, And Revenue Split, For New Logo
With their open-ended remit, the artists went in several directions. Some artists created video animations while others hand drew the NFT.
“We really didn’t give the artists any direction,” says Luka Dukich, the Executive Director of Content Strategy for the Chicago Bulls. “We kind of just told them to run with the Bulls logo.”
The project's core goals were to reward the artists who had created these amazing pieces celebrating the Bulls and give back to After School Matters, a Chicago-based nonprofit that provides educational opportunities to Chicago's youth.To achieve this goal, the team utilized thirdweb’s splits contract, which allowed them to allocate the primary sales royalties easily. The proceeds from the collection were split with 40% going to artists, 40% going to the Bulls, 10% for the NBA, and the final 10% to After School Matters.
Under the Hood: Breaking Down the Web3 Tech Stack & User Flow
All NFTs were available via auction on Coinbase starting September 22, 2022.
Smart Contract: NFT Drop ERC721 Standard (thirdweb pre-built)
- thirdweb’s NFT drop contract
- thirdweb’s splits contract (To allocate the primary sales royalties)
- Coinbase NFT Marketplace
- Artists: @Maliha_z_Art, @VarvaraAlay, @Deadfellaz, @EfdotStudio, @Ghxsts, @bobbyhundreds, @trueIMCMPLX, @blakejamieson, @JulianGilliam, @AlexaMeadeArt, @MikeFogg24, @NoPattern, @ProbCause, @ZoeRain, @sabet, @claire_salvo, @ClaireSilver12, @surrealistshay, @sickpencil, @msalisbu, @sophiesaidso, @iArtSometimes
The Bulls Lead the Way in Web3
Web3 is powering the next generation of sports collectibles. Brands like the Bulls and the NBA have an opportunity to connect with artists, their communities, as well as charitable causes through these efforts, creating a new system for engagement. This drop was an example of how to combine appealing to an existing fan base through history and heritage while also tapping into the audience of web3 native artists.
“We could have released the project in a hot market and capitalized on speculation, [but] this is about achieving something meaningful. I’m really proud of the work we’ve achieved so far.” - Luka Dukich, Director of Content, Chicago Bulls
An auroch is the earliest ancestor of a bull. The team deliberately chose this animal to evoke the idea of being early in the NFT space, testing and learning along with OG NFT fanatics.
The NBA is credited for being one of the earliest adopters of NFTs with the release of NBA Top Shot. Even within the league’s progressive ecosystem, the Bulls have positioned themselves as early adopters in the NFT world.