Cricket-focused non-fungible token (NFT) initiative Rario and technology firm BlockTrust are partnering with the Australian Cricketers Association (ACA) and Cricket Australia to launch branded digital collectibles and play-to-earn gaming. The project will be managed through a consortium led by the two platforms, including ConsenSys and Amazon Web Services (AWS).
The NFTs will represent dynamic current and historical highlights of cricket games that can be collected and traded among fans. In addition, the project will feature games that collectible owners can play with each other. It is also looking into using video NFTs as coaching tools for children beginning to get involved with cricket.
Partnering with both Cricket Australia, the organization that oversees the sport in the country, and the ACA, the players’ association, gives the platform the intellectual property licensing rights. Hence historical moments in international cricket and domestic league highlights will be featured in the collection. This arrangement creates a “one stop shop” for cricket collectibles in Australia and diminishes opportunities for conflicts of interest between the ACA and Cricket Australia in this sector.
Cricket is the most followed national sports team in the country, and a match between Australia and Pakistan at the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup captured almost 11% of the audience, and each broadcasted game in Fox Australia averaged over 88,000 views per game. In addition, Australia’s Cricket Big Bash 2020-2021 series was the most watched series on record.
“The game’s deep connection with its past, the passion of our fans and the appeal of Australian cricketers to a global audience, means the incorporation of NFTs is another way that fans across the world can engage and be part of the sport,” said Cricket Australia’ CEO Nick Hockley. “This is just the start and I have no doubt we will see enormous benefit for fans, players and the sport itself as we build this exciting partnership.”
Rario already has multiple licensed cricket deals, including for the Caribbean and Sri Lanka. Its platform uses the Ethereum compatible Polygon blockchain. BlockTrust is its on-the-ground joint venture partner in Australia. ConsenSys is likely providing infrastructure.
Regarding Rario’s competition for cricket collectibles, the biggest player is Dapper Labs-backed FanCraze, which signed a partnership with the ICC for Cricket highlights. Last month there were rumors that FanCraze was raising as much as $100 million in funding.