Kansas City Chiefs' Patrick Mahomes enters the world of NFTs

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Since his arrival in Kansas City in 2017, Patrick Mahomes has been about connecting with Chiefs fans. From his presence at various sporting events around town to buying into the ownership group of the Royals to an active presence on social media, Mahomes has tried to engage.

Mahomes' involvement with Wednesday's online auction of non-fungible token digital sports memorabilia via MakersPlace may be another way.

A portion of the proceeds from the auction will go to his 15 and the Mahomies Foundation and be used to complete an all-inclusive play site at a Kansas City park. Mahomes will also donate to Boys and Girls Clubs in Missouri and Kansas.

What is a non-fungible token?

It's complicated. An NFT is an item that can be owned digitally. Think of it as a paper trading card, except there is no paper. The item exists only virtually.

According to Steinberg Sports, Mahomes' football representative, the Mahomes sale will feature new, authenticated digital sports memorabilia that will be available exclusively through the auction.

In Mahomes' case, the auction involves digital artwork signed by Mahomes. Pieces range in cost from $2,500 to $15,000. In addition, one piece identified by organizers as a mystery item that will be auctioned.

Why do people want NFTs?

For the same reason people want anything. NFTs give people ownership, even in this case only in a digital sense. NFTs can also be used as investments. They can be bought and sold. They can be digital art, collectible cards, video clips and other memorabilia.

Where is the value?

People are clearly willing to pay a lot for NFTs. Christie's auctioned an NFT by the artist Beeple for $69 million last week. NBA Top Shot lists NFTs of LeBron James and others for as much as $250,000. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and value is where any person finds it. Purchasing ownership of Mahomes' auction items gives someone digital ownership of something the Chiefs' quarterback has been involved with.

Why is Mahomes doing this?

Mahomes is one of the first NFL superstars to get involved with NFTs. Tampa Bay tight end Rob Gronkowski recently sold a set of digital trading cards for a reported $1.2 million.

"I'm excited about this unique and innovative way to connect with fans," Mahomes said in a statement released by his agency. "To be able to support 15 and the Mahomies and Boys and Girls Clubs makes the opportunity even better."

The son of a long-time major league baseball pitcher, Mahomes told CNBC in a recent interview he was involved with collecting memorabilia at an early age -- "bats, cards, whatever it was" -- and would likely have some of his NFTs in his own collection.

"It's something that's new," said Mahomes' agent, Chris Cabott. "It's groundbreaking. When you look at him in his career, he's always been a trailblazer."

If all goes well, this may only be the first of Mahomes' NFL endeavors.

"We'll see," Cabott said. "We're excited about this first one and we'll see what the future holds."