For MLB’s Kenny Gersh, NFTs offer a new way for passionate fans to bond over baseball
Courtesy of Bored Ape Yacht Club (4)
The MLB executive who led the league’s earliest forays into NFTs was at a 2021 World Series game in Atlanta when he saw a Twitter post from a fan at the ballpark wearing a Bored Ape Yacht Club hoodie.
Kenny Gersh recognized the artwork, not only because he’d researched what had become one of the most valuable, sought-after collections of NFTs as part of his job, but because he, too, was a proud Bored Ape owner.
MLB’s Kenny GershJesse Ward
Feeling a sense of kinship, he messaged the fan, introducing himself as a fellow collector and offering to upgrade his seat. When the fan posted a thank you and tagged Gersh, his Twitter “blew up” with comments from other Bored Ape devotees.
When they connected again a month later in Brooklyn, this time at a 2,000-person event that required guests to show their Bored Ape to gain admission, all they knew was that there would be undisclosed musical acts and an open bar.
Chris Rock and “Parks and Rec” cast member Aziz Ansari hosted. The Strokes, Beck and Lil Baby performed.
Gersh was so impressed by the Ape party that he texted DraftKings co-founder and CEO Jason Robins, who introduced him to NFT collecting while the two were at a game at Fenway Park. Robins has a print of his favorite CryptoPunk NFT hanging on a wall in his home.
Today, Gersh figures he is an even more avid collector than Robins, with more than 300 NFTs spanning 85 collections.
“That [party] was what really made this all connect in my mind,” said Gersch, MLB’s executive vice president of media and business development. “These things can create communities that are similar to the communities that rally around baseball teams and sports. And you sort of connect with fellow sports fans — or in the case of NFTs, other members of a community that hold a similar NFT as you — and it creates this real passion. I thought that was an interesting dynamic that, over time, we’ll be able to find ways to harness for baseball.”