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Australian Open Mixes Metaverse with Reality

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Written by   12
5 months ago

OK this is interesting. Most brands aping into the NFT space do so with the most basic of strategies. They take their existing IP, freeze it into a static JPEG and hope their "fans" will want to take a piece of the brand back to their wallets. This kind of move wreaks of a cash grab, and users savvy to the space know when an offer is not authentic and just trying to pick up some profit.

Enter the Australian Open who have released their tournament NFT strategy with the Australian Open NFT. Now, here's where things get interesting. Each NFT represents a precise plot of physical space on the tennis court. Meaning, once you mint your NFT, you own a piece of "land" on the championship courts of the Australian Open. To make things even more dynamic, if a winning shot lands in your plot of the court, you will win the actual ball from the match, plus merch, plus additional rewards. Basically holders of the Australian Open NFT will see their NFTs gain additional rarity based on the real-world performance and history that goes down in the tournament.

Each NFT will be a virtual tennis ball that represents a piece of the court, and will be designed by various artists. This project marks the first time that on-chain and off-chain data have been combined into a single NFT. The traits of the NFT will be determined by what actually happens in the tournament. It's an instance of the virtual and the real having a dynamic relationship. It's a fascinating use case. And imagine how much value those winning plots of land will gain over time. What if we see a historic performance go down? The owner of the NFT will be forever linked to the on court legacy of the tournament and winning player.

Just think back in time to other iconic sport moments, and imagine if this same direct link to the game through an NFT existed. Imagine if you were the NFT holder of the spot on the court during the 1998 NBA Finals where Michael Jordan hit his legendary "Last Shot" to defeat the Utah Jazz and win the Chicago Bulls' sixth championship. Or imagine if you held the section of the boxing ring where Muhammad Ali knocked out George Foreman in 1974 during the "Rumble in the Jungle."

With the laser precise mapping of professional sports' playing surfaces in the modern era, we are just at the very beginning of how digital technology and virtual reality can bring fans closer to the game. In fact, with the advent of the metaverse, fans can literally overlap and share the same space as their heroes. Forget sitting courtside as the ultimate flex. Now you can be halfway around the world and claim that your NFT was "on the court." To some, it may just smack of hyped up digital marketing. A new way to squeeze money out of sports entertainment. But I think as our digital lives and behaviors evolve, we will become more comfortable with this way of thinking. Hell, we're already sitting in meetings with people from around the world via Zoom. Having NFTs live in different parts of the world, and in this case, in hyper-specific locations loaded with meaning is the next logical step.

Sports provides a perfect use case for this technology. Championship highlights and iconic plays live on forever. And now there exists the technology to provably and authentically verify exactly where something happened. And this is precisely what the Australian Open and their partners Chainlink are offering.

There is also a Decentraland integration into the campaign. Where NFT holders will be able to visit a virtual court inside the metaverse and view their plot of land virtually.

The project is another step in the evolution of NFTs and the metaverse. Art was a strong starting point into mainstream awareness of NFTs, but now we will start to see innovation and progress in other sectors as brands and users realize that you can do more than copy and paste previous successful drops. You can take the DNA of what you do and what your supporters are passionate about, to craft a thrilling new experience that adds something completely new to the table. You know sports leagues around the world will be watching the Australian Open NFT project closely, and no doubt there will be more copy and pasting ahead, as it is a template that is easily repeatable across sports. But there will also be those out there who will be inspired by the imagination and utility offered by the project, and will look to take their own unique step into the space as well.

Until then, grab your plots of tennis court and stay tuned to where those championship points land.

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Avatar for oyl
Written by   12
5 months ago
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