We come to you today with news that the Australian Open is officially launching a line of NFTs and a metaverse world in the lead-up to the international tennis event. Unlike a lot of sporting events, the Australian Open has never been one to shy away from innovative tech.
In 2020, the event hosted the Fortnite Summer Smash, an esports event in its own right with a $100,000 prize pool.
Well, in the year of our lord 2022, the Australian Open has decided NFTs are the new Fortnite. It’s a world-first NFT metaverse project, with 6,776 “Art Ball NFTs” set to be minted on January 13 and linked to live matches.
Additionally, Art Balls will be linked to a designated plot on the tennis court surface. Surfaces that result in the winning shot of any of the over 600 AO matches occurring during the event will reflect this by including airdropping winning footage, limited edition wearables and merch.
When one of the 11 championship points lands in a plot, the owner of the plot NFT will be given the actual tennis ball used in the match, along with a handcrafted case and a certificate of authenticity. It kind of defeats the purpose of an NFT, getting something physical, right?
“Our biased hypothesis is: following the reveal, we expect demand for the location of typical winning shots e.g. down the line, the ace, T — to be in high demand on the secondary market,” an Australian Open spokesperson said.
“With this next wave of technology, global tennis fans will have the opportunity to acquire a true ownership stake in the Australian Open brand and sport,” says Craig Tiley, the tournament director of the Australian Open.
“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.”
This project isn’t just limited to NFTs of the balls at the Australian Open, but it also includes 169 NFTs from the AO Artist Series, featuring art from local and international artists.
And it doesn’t end with NFTs, no sir. The Australian Open is also operating a metaverse world called AO Decentraland, a 3D virtual reality platform allowing tennis fans to explore the AO.
At this virtual AO, you’ll be able to interact with grand slam players and other tennis fans, view AO content and complete challenges. What any of that actually means, we’ll have to wait and see.
“We want the AO to be the world’s most accessible and inclusive sports and entertainment event and with the unique challenges fans have faced getting to Melbourne we’ve fast-tracked our launch into the Metaverse,” says Ridley Plummer, Tennis Australia’s project manager.
Anyway, as you were. If you’re desperate to spend money, I just so happen to be selling a tennis ball for $750. I can assure you it’s very fungible.