There’s one NFT project that kept coming up in conversation at NFT Fest in Melbourne on Wednesday. And this is AO ArtBall. What is that, you ask? It’s a Tennis Australia thing.
Stockhead attempted to cover a lot of ground on the first day of NFT Fest, and we left the event feeling truly blown away by the amount of great content on offer – even in these dark times for the crypto space. The result is that the mind is broadened. And we have a headache.
But after chatting with various attendees during the day at the Alex Theater and in the evening at the St Kilda Sports Club, if we had to choose just a The Aussie NFT project that seems to have pulled off a clean and winning forehand across the board when it comes to innovative use cases, so Tennis Australia’s AO ArtBall would be. (Okay, maybe it’s a tie-break with the Nouns DAO project.)
We first covered ArtBall, back in January around the time of the 2022 Australian Open, but he’s making a new announcement this morning at NFT Fest.
Holders will get tickets for the Aussie Open 2023
Designed by Tennis Australia and local Web3 studio Run It Wild, the AO ArtBall project is set to reveal an impressive set of rewards for holders of its popular AO ArtBall NFTs.
According to Run It Wild, the rewards program is “one of the most generous on the blockchain” and offers AO ArtBall holders “an unprecedented number of tickets” to tennis, live sports and entertainment happening in the real and virtual worlds.
The Australian Open was the first Grand Slam to enter the metaverse when it hit 6,776 unique AO ArtBalls in January 2022, and part of the reason it turned so many heads is because it it was the first NFT sports project to integrate live match data.
As we wrote at the time, “probably the most unique thing about these digitized tennis balls is the fact that the metadata for each is linked to a 19cm x 19cm plot of a court surface. AO tennis”. If the winning move from any of the more than 400 AO22 matches landed on this plot, the NFT metadata was updated in real time to incorporate match information.
On top of that, the NFT holder later received perks like limited edition clothes.
Very cool, but the benefits for AO ArtBall holders have just increased. According to information shared with Stockheadeach holder will be entitled to a pair of free seven-day land passes for the second week of AO23.
And given that there are 6,776 AO ArtBalls in circulation, “this represents the largest ticket release for an AO membership program in the history of the event,” said Sarah May of Run It Wild. Stockhead while relaxing on a sofa during the NFT Fest event.
And can holders of more than one AO ArtBall claim multiple pairs of ground passes based on the number of balls they have? Yeah right – capped at 20 tickets.
But wait, that’s not all. Other perks include access to other major international sporting events, Web3 conferences, behind-the-scenes streams at the AO, limited-edition merchandise, and more.
Stockhead speaks to Tennis Australia
At NFT Fest on Wednesday, we grabbed some choice words (under embargo so far) with Ridley Plummer, who boasts one of the weirdest, longest, and coolest tracks we’ve ever heard: Senior Manager Metaverse, NFTs, Web3 and Cryptocurrency Tennis Australia.
Hi Ridley. What makes this project so compelling, in your opinion?
There really is something for everyone in this project. Whether it’s the unique art on the balls, the gamification, the ability to own a digital representation of a match point, or the utility offered by membership, there are so many reasons to get involved.
In 2023, we’ll be pushing the boundaries again by offering all ArtBall holders a pair of complimentary seven-day AO passes. And, if you love other sports, we’ve got you covered with our extensive network of partners delivering value and experiences to cardholders.
What is it about NFTs and blockchain that makes it a good choice for tennis?
Creativity is only limited by your imagination. So, with the ArtBall AO, we’ve built a platform that we can continue to grow and innovate, making waves within a new audience segment that may not have engaged with the tennis before.
Our project deliberately targeted a Web3 native to bring him closer to our sport. And as Web3 adoption continues to grow, we’re going to focus on a native tennis fan and engage them in technology, innovation, and utility.
The crypto market and industry has had a very eventful year, to put it mildly. Do you see any evidence that the faith is still there from fans regarding NFTs and the metaverse concept?
From the conversations we’ve had with our incumbents over this time, we’re hearing renewed enthusiasm for the project and new experiences on offer. As AO23 approaches, we will continue to reward all of our holders with tickets, experiences and networking opportunities that are only available to members of this program.
Less than 2% of the collection is listed on the secondary market, indicating a healthy level of holdings for the future.
Borna Coric throws a tennis-NFT-related response or two our way
Although he did not appear in person at the NFT Fest, Croatian tennis star Borna Coric (26th in the ATP rankings in men’s singles) also gave Stockhead some tennis-related alpha NFTs.
Why Borna Coric? Well, because he’s a top tennis player who loves crypto and NFTs, that’s why. He is also the founder of “ProTennisFam” sponsorship-focused web3 tennis collection, community and platform, which helps support and develop emerging tennis prospects.
Are NFTs and crypto widely understood by gamers on the professional circuit, Borna?
I would say everyone has heard of it and has some sort of idea of what NFTs and crypto are. Naomi Osaka, Stan Wawrinka, and Gaël Monfils, for example, have been out there before and demonstrated great use cases for new technologies, while Cameron Norrie and Riley Opelka have created NFTs and are probably very knowledgeable, as is Dennis Novikov.
Also, you have Serena Williams, who actively runs a VC and is actively involved in the Web3 space with So rare. No big deal, huh!
NFT and tennis… please tell us why you think this might be a good choice?
I truly believe that NFT technology has a great opportunity to bring tennis players and fans closer together, allowing fans to experience their favorite player’s career much closer than before.
Beyond the well-established uses of NFTs, such as membership benefits, bounty, access to content, or the exclusive privilege of tangible experiences, NFT technology provides democratized access for fans and the general public to potential future earnings, as well as current, professional tennis players.
And the AO Metaverse has already proven what it can do for tennis and is just getting started.