The Australian Open (AO) is one of the biggest sporting events on the world tennis calendar, and now there is another way to watch, as this year’s tournament will also be held in Decentraland — the decentralized metaverse platform. Tennis fans will be able to participate further through buying non-fungible tokens (NFTs) linked to live match data, according to a press release shared with Forkast.News.

Fast facts

  • More than 1 billion viewers are expected to tune into the tournament this year. Now they can also buy one of 6,776 AO Art Ball NFTs which have been created in partnership with local and international artists, as well as including designs incorporated from tennis and AO history.
  • Furthermore, each Art Ball’s metadata will be linked to a 19cm x 19cm plot on the tennis court surface. Should a winning shot from one of the tournament’s 400+ matches land on that space, the metadata will be updated in real-time to include match highlights and statistics while rewarding the owner of that corresponding NFT with bonus material, such as wearables, merch, and other benefits in the future. When one of the 11 championship points lands on the plot, the owner of the connected NFT will be rewarded with a physical ball used in the game, in a specially handcrafted case.
  • The NFTs will be tracked using the same technology used to officiate the real-world matches.
  • “With this next wave of technology, global tennis fans will have the opportunity to be part of the 2022 Australian Open in a way never before available,” Australian Open Tournament Director Craig Tiley said in a statement.
  • As Omicron cases in Melbourne surge, the hosting on Decentraland will grant greater access to both the international audience and even citizens of the city who may feel a reluctance to venture to the normally action-packed day at the park. Visitors to the Decentraland tournament will be able to explore a 3D virtual reality platform to see the main stadium, Rod Laver Arena and its grounds, play in the kid’s ballpark and explore nearby restaurants — as well as watch tennis, of course.
  • The AO Art Ball NFTs go on sale on Jan. 10, while the AO Decentraland event goes live on Jan. 17, the same day the physical tournament begins.