Kolkata: The changing landscape of cricket is introducing digital collectibles for the fans in the Blockchain technology - and the Abu Dhabi T10 in November has roped in NFT (non-fungible token) platform Rario as one of it’s official partners.
Much like the art and collectibles industry which are undergoing transformation, the Abu Dhabi T10 is the third franchise league after Hero Caribbean Premier League and the Lanka Premier League, which has tied up with the Singapore-based firm which gives them exclusive rights to mint the collectibles which will ‘‘immortalise’’ cricketing feats from these leagues for the fans. These will create revenue streams for the franchises while the fans can see them as investments.
Speaking about their latest tie-up, Ankit Wadhwa, Co-founder and CEO of the company, said: “The action intensive nature of the Abu Dhabi T10 has a propensity to create some jaw dropping moments. This creates a fantastic space for Rario to come in and immortalise these moments for cricket enthusiasts, who will have a chance for the first time ever to own them as limited edition digital collectibles.’’
The Abu Dhabi T10 will bring the curtains down on what has been a packed international calendar for the UAE, with the ongoing IPL and the T20 World Cup, and scheduled to be held at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium from November 19 to December 4, 2021.
We have already partnered with cricket leagues around the world, including the LPL and the CPL, while we have signed up the likes of former Indian pace legend Zaheer Khan, Faf Du Plesis, Shakib Al Hasan leading Indian women’s cricketers Smriti Mandhana and young Shafali Verma. This gives us exclusive rights to develop NFTs on extraordinary moments in their careers for sale to fans
The fifth edition of the tournament, world’s only 10-over cricket tournament officially sanctioned by the International Cricket Council (ICC) and licensed by the Emirates Cricket Board (ECB), will see two-time winners and current champions Northern Warriors looking to defend their title against the rest of the field. The other teams in the fray are Bangla Tigers, Deccan Gladiators, Delhi Bulls, Maratha Arabians, Pune Devils, Qalandars and Team Abu Dhabi.
Asked how could Rario and their competing brands change the fan engagement landscape in cricket, Wadhwa told Gulf News: ‘‘Rario is guiding the world of cricket into an digital age. With the introduction of our NFT platform, cricket fans will be able to engage with world-renowned players and collect sporting moments that are immortalised and probably rare.
‘‘We have already partnered with cricket leagues around the world, including the LPL and the CPL, while we have signed up the likes of former Indian pace legend Zaheer Khan, Faf Du Plesis, Shakib Al Hasan leading Indian women’s cricketers Smriti Mandhana and young Shafali Verma. This gives us exclusive rights to develop NFTs on extraordinary moments in their careers for sale to fans,’’ said Wadhwa.
“Rario will give cricket fans an opportunity to interact with the sport like never before. It will give fans the ability to engage with the sport more deeply and personally, essentially letting fans own the piece of cricket history that they want. This is great for the game as well as it allows cricket fandom to develop in new and innovative ways,” said Zaheer during his tie-up with the company.
What would interest a fan to invest in a digital collectible in cricket? ‘‘With the advent of Blockchain technology, the art and collectibles industries are undergoing a massive transformation. Brands and creatives around the world are leveraging blockchain technology to create revenue streams - the likes of which they never had access to while at the same time, introducing new and exciting products and experiences to consumers in the form of NFTs.
‘‘As NFTs continue to emerge as a new asset class, we are trying to give the cricket fans around the world a new way to own parts of sporting history, which also represents another step forward for the $370 billion collectibles industry as a whole,’’ Wadhwa added.
All you need to know about NFTs
What are NFTS?
NFTs or non-fungible tokens are units of data recorded on a blockchain. An NFT is a digital asset that represents real-world objects like art, music, in-game items and videos. They are bought and sold online. Each token represents a unique digital asset that cannot be replicated. NFTs have gained traction through their usage in digital sports collectibles by tokenizing sports memorabilia, iconic photos, video highlights, autographs, social media posts, and a lot more.
Anyone can view the individual images — or even the entire collage of images online for free.
So why are people willing to spend millions on something they could easily screenshot or download? This, because an NFT allows the buyer to own the original item and it contains built-in authentication, which serves as proof of ownership. Collectors value those “digital bragging rights” almost more than the item itself.
How does an NFT work?
NFTs exist on a blockchain, which is a distributed public ledger that records transactions.
An NFT is created, or “minted” from digital objects that represent both tangible and intangible items, including art, GIFs, videos and sports highlights.
Essentially, NFTs are like physical collector’s items, only digital. So instead of getting an actual oil painting to hang on the wall, the buyer gets a digital file instead.
They also get exclusive ownership rights - meaning NFTs can have only one owner at a time. NFTs’ unique data makes it easy to verify their ownership and transfer tokens between owners.
Why Sports NFTS?
In this digital age where people’s identity and persona is defined by the kind of content that they share — till now there was no way to assign ‘ownership’ to images or videos. With NFTs, fans can officially own the collectibles issued by teams or players and exhibit it on social media as an extension of their fan identity. It also acts as a valuable investment as they can trade the collectibles with other fans and collectors.
Through their varied utility, NFTs can serve the dual purpose of bridging the gap between sports fans and their icons while creating a reliable, independent revenue stream for athletes.
How are Sports NFTS doing?
NBA Top Shot and ‘Sorare’ (football), two of the most popular NFT start-ups, have raised more than $1 billion in funding and have made over $1 billion in sales between them so far. NBA Top Shot provides short video moments of NBA’s top basketball players as NFT collectibles. Sorare is a fantasy football platform and provides tradable cards as NFTs.
So far, $200 million worth of cards have been traded on the platform which has also partnered with over 180 football clubs worldwide, including top European clubs like Real Madrid. 'Ethernity,' a marketplace platform, had launched NFTs with Lionel Messi under its ‘Messiverse’ collection in August this year. It ended up generating around $3.2 million in sales in an hour and was sold out.