The Australian Open is aping back into non-fungible tokens (NFT) and the metaverse ahead of its 2023 tennis tournament, launching a second collection of ArtBall NFTs with a list of new Web3 collaborators.
Among the new collaborators are NFT collective NounsDAO, virtual art gallery platform OnCyber and Gary Vaynerchuck’s Vayner Sports Pass, according to a Friday press release.
The famed tournament had a successful Web3 debut last January. Its NFT collection, which tied physical plots of land on the tournament's court to generative tennis balls, did over 1,900 ETH (around $2.3 million) in resale volume.
The Australian Open’s installation on the metaverse platform Decentraland was also a hit among tennis fans. Users could traverse a virtual recreation of the physical grounds, and partake in scavenger hunts to win virtual tennis outfits. (Disclaimer: This author collected several.)
The new collection of 2,452 Art Balls will mint sometime before the tournament begins on Jan. 16, 2023. The tournament is partnering with NFT marketplace OpenSea for the project’s minting, citing the platform’s forward-thinking approach to protecting creator royalties.
Ridley Plummer, the tournament's Web3 head, said utility will include “access to a series of groundbreaking offerings, artwork, premium experiences and real events.” Holders of the collection’s first iteration won’t be left out of the action, with all 6776 receiving 7-day ground passes to finals week and inclusion in the festivities alongside new holders.
The collaboration isn’t NounsDAO’s first in the sports world. The collective of Nouns NFT holders teamed up with Bud Light last February to help sponsor the beer brand’s Super Bowl ad.
“I find tennis to be incredibly Nounish,” Nouns DAO member Gami said in a statement. “Nouns wanna bring the certain flavor of fun to AO that we are known for, so look out for some cool collaborative efforts from our huge community of creatives.”
The Australian Open once again tapped metaverse firm Run It Wild to help build the back end of the project.