The Australian Open has teamed up with metaverse design firm ‘Run It Wild’ to become the first Grand Slam tennis tournament to take a swing at a metaverse project. The Melbourne-based tournament is releasing a large collection of NFTs with novel utility, along with a virtual event for the competition on metaverse platform, Decentraland.
The tournament will release a collection of 6,776 NFTs on January 13th, at a price of 0.067 ETH each (or $350 approx.), whilst the competition’s Australian summer-themed party event in Decentraland will begin on January 17th. The virtual event will be active throughout the tournament’s whole two-week span, where fans will have the chance to compete in various challenges to win virtual prizes.
Each NFT from the collection will have two fundamental utilities, the first being that each contains a generative art piece of a tennis ball that is completely unique in colour and design. The second utility is revolutionary, as it sees each NFT being allocated a particular area of the tennis court.
As winning shots throughout the tournaments’ 600 matches are played, the owners of NFTs which correspond to the area of court in which the balls bounce on will receive airdrops with footage of the winning point, virtual wearables, and other Australian Open merchandise. This is all made possible through using the same electronic line-calling technology used to judge the matches’ in-game points.
In addition, an extra special prize will be given to the person in ownership of the NFT which corresponds to the area of the court in which the point which wins the whole championship lands. The lucky owner of the NFT will be delivered the physical ball in a custom engraved case.
As alluded to by the leader of the project, Ridley Plummer, the tournament sees itself as more than just a tennis tournament, meaning that the metatarsal venture seemed like the next natural step for the event.