Art Balls: The Australian Open serves up interactive NFTs and a metaverse
The Australian Open has announced plans to launch a line of interactive NFTs linked to on-court game play and a metaverse for fans.
The Melbourne-based, 117-year-old tennis tournament has announced plans to issue a collection of 6,776 ‘Art Balls’, Gizmodo first reported. Not only will buyers receive a unique image of a colourful tennis ball, but each image will be linked to a tiny plot of land on the tournament court’s surface.
Owners of NFTs linked to the area a winning shot lands on will be bestowed with gifts including Australian Open merchandise, wearables and video clips according to a company press release.
Tournament director Craig Tiley said the launch of the NFT line is “an opportunity to be part of the 2022 Australian Open in a way never before available”.
“The AO has always been seen as one of the most innovative sporting events in the world and this project is just another example of our team pushing the boundaries to provide our fans with better access and engagement with the AO,” Tiley added in a statement.
The Australian Open is also operating a virtual reality metaverse world called AO Decentraland, where the event will be streamed live in 3D.
The fusion of sporting events and NFTs has become an increasingly lucrative niche in 2021.
NFT platform SoRare has partnered with Spain’s football league La Liga and Germany’s Bundesliga to create an NFT based fantasy football game. The company, which raised $680m in a series B funding round last year, came under investigation from the UK’s gambling commission over concerns investors were being offered unregulated products.
Read more: NFT platform Sorare under investigation by UK gambling commission