In what might become the norm for major sporting events, the Australian Open has welcomed NFT and Web3 tech with open arms. The annual tournament held at Melbourne Park since 1905 sees an opportunity to grow its brand and better engage with its massive audience through NFTs and the Metaverse.
The latest event took place between January 16 and January 29 and marked a special occasion for Novak Djokovic. The veteran tennis player was able to win his 10th Australian Open title, thus equaling Rafael Nadal men’s record of 22 Grand Slam titles.
However, that wasn’t the only special thing gracing this year’s tournament; there were also NFTs. These non-fungible tokens were linked to every final ball bounce of every match that took place in the 2023 Australian Open. To help identify where the final bounce of the match ball takes place, the tournament utilizes its vast array of high-tech cameras. Computers help map out the court as a grid, and every piece within it is earmarked as a plot.
Each plot on the court is linked to an NFT. Fans lucky enough to hold an NFT representing the plot where the final ball bounces witness their digital collectibles shoot up in value, as it guarantees them additional perks.
The Australian Open Artballs
For instance, during the men’s final, Djokovic’s winning match point saw the ball land on Plot #1174, which was linked to an “Artball” NFT of ball #7407. The holder of that NFT was the lucky winner of tickets to next year’s tournament.
CHAMPIONSHIP POINT MOMENT🏆@DjokerNole‘s 10th @AustralianOpen win vs. @steftsitsipas is now on-chain, meanwhile the holder of ArtBall #7407 collects 2 tickets 🎫 to next year’s #AO24 Men’s final in the Rod Laver Arena 🏟️@opensea 👀👇 https://t.co/iI7U7myBHg pic.twitter.com/kbstoGsqqs
— AOmetaverse (@AOmetaverse) January 30, 2023
Interestingly, the NFTs are just one part of the Australian Open Web3 indulgence. The tournament also has a presence in Decentraland. In collaboration with Run it Wild, an NFT development studio, it has developed the Australian Open in Decentraland, which as of last year was the highest attended destination in its virtual world with over 175,000 visits.
With this precedent, it won’t be surprising to see other major tournaments and leagues follow suit.
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