Australian Open launches Decentraland: Serves up world-first NFT ‘AO Art Ball’ collection linked to live match data via Run it Wild + Rarer Things
The Australian Open (AO) is the first grand slam to enter the metaverse, minting 6,776 AO Art Ball NFTs linked to live match data while hosting a virtual AO in Decentraland. The AO teamed up with blockchain studio and metaverse specialists, Run it Wild, along with Web3 advisory and strategists Rarer Things to create AO Art Ball NFT and AO Decentraland blurring art, sport and technology.
Only 6,776 AO Art Ball NFTs were minted for the almost one billion global viewers the AO attracts, making this a monumental opportunity to forever own a piece of the 2022 AO.
Says Craig Tiley, director, Australian Open Tournament: “The AO always strives to be one of the most innovative sporting events in the world and this project is just another example of our team pushing the boundaries to provide our fans with better access and engagement with the AO.
“Combining real-time court data with NFTs has never been attempted before and will provide incredible ways for global tennis fans to engage as NFT holders in the AO.”
The Australian Open AO Art Ball NFTs sold in 3 minutes when the public sale went live on Thursday 13 Jan at 10:00 AEDT.
Each AO Art Ball was sold at 0.067 ETH equivalent to A$310.
One wallet going by “phaed” had collected 63 AO Art Ball NFTs on the secondary market within hours of minting sourced from blockchain analytics platform Nansen.
This was all before the court plot positions were revealed on https://ao.artball.io/matchpoints at noon AEDT on Sunday 16 January.
1.4k AO Art Balls have since been traded to 4.4k owners on the secondary market according to the latest OpenSea data. The current floor price is 0.27 ETH ~ A$1,2480.
Each Art Ball’s metadata is linked to a 19cm x 19cm plot of each tennis court surface. If the winning shot from any of the 400+ AO matches lands on that plot, the NFT metadata will be updated in real-time to highlight the match information while providing the owner with additional utility such as limited-edition wearables, AO merchandise, and other benefits in the future.
The court plot tied to the 6,776 NFTs was not revealed during the mint, meaning a buyer couldn’t choose a specific position on-court.
The plots were randomly assigned with Chainlink’s Verifiable Random Function (VRF), an on-chain random number generator that enables anyone to independently confirm that tennis ball locations were determined in a fair and tamper-proof manner.
Since court positions have been revealed there’s been a frenzy of secondary sales.
The highest sale we’ve seen is 6.69 ETH equivalent to A$30,869 (U$22,248) for one of AO’s legend artworks. The “Tennis Man” silhouette, first introduced in the 1997 Australian Open, has been revived and reinterpreted on an Art Ball canvas and presented as a 1-of-1 NFTs.
More details of the Generative NFT traits can be found in the Litepaper Page 16-19.
The AO Art Ball collection is made of generative art right down to the fuzz
This breakthrough collection is made up of generative art, the algorithmic combination of different colour schemes, patterns and textures, ensuring each AO Art Ball is individual in appearance, right down to the fuzz on the ball.
Within the collection are 22 AO Legend designs handcrafted from historical AO artwork. The “Tennis Man” silhouette, first introduced in the 1997 Australian Open, has been revived and reinterpreted on an Art Ball canvas.
The AO Art Balls also include over 160 NFTs from the AO Artist Series including designs from local and international artists, specifically created for AO 2022.
AO Decentraland provides unprecedented access
In a major metaverse move, the AO has launched the first truly decentralised tennis experience in Decentraland, a 3D virtual reality platform allowing any tennis fan access to explore the AO, wherever they are in the world.
Fans can now unite around their love of tennis virtually, and explore the AO precinct online in AO Decentraland for the duration of the tournament. They’ll be able to discover the precinct, complete challenges, view historic AO content, interact with players and other tennis fans, from their laptops.
Says Ridley Plummer, project manager, Tennis Australia: “We want the AO to be the world’s most accessible and inclusive sports and entertainment event, and with the unique challenges fans have faced getting to Melbourne we’ve fast-tracked our launch into the Metaverse.
“Taking the AO into the Metaverse is an important step to provide truly global access to our great event.”
AO metaverse and NFTs, just the beginning of AO’s Web3 strategy
As the race into the metaverse heats up amongst major tournaments and codes, the AO creates a high standard for its foray into Web3.
Linking NFTs to match data increasing engagement for NFT owners, meanwhile virtualising the entire AO precinct expanding access to global tennis fans through its world-first partnership Decentraland — are truly bold innovations befitting of the AO’s history of tech-firsts.
Says Plummer: “Building AO fit-for-Web3 offers unimaginable possibilities to provide our global fanbase access content and rewards that they’ve never previously had access to. We’re excited to be starting our metaverse journey and can’t wait to see what the future holds in this space.”
Inside AO Decentraland, a glimpse inside the first official tennis grand slam in the Metaverse
In a tour through the first official tennis grand slam replica in the Metaverse, free & open to global fans aged over 13 years old, AO Decentraland features a voyeuristic virtual look at Melbourne Park with more exclusive access than attending visitors’ and broadcast feeds might capture.
AO Decentraland opened its virtual doors to all global tennis fans, aged over 13 years old on Monday Jan 17th 12pm AEDT.
Here’s what we know
- A VIRTUAL REPLICA. In AO Decentraland, Tennis Australia has replicated the best elements of Melbourne Park including the Rod Laver Area, Grand Slam Oval, New Beach Club, Garden Square, Kids Ball Park + more
- CONSISTENT CONTENT. Content that’s the same for RL visitors includes: live footage from press conferences in real-time, and AO Radio 24/7.
- CONTENT EXCLUSIVE TO AO DECENTRALAND.
- 1/ Behind-the-scenes glimpses. As a voyeuristic look into the AO, virtual visitors will also see glimpses of behind-the-scenes footage from 300+ cameras around Melbourne Park including the exclusive player arrivals area and the practice village — even attendees won’t see from Melbourne Park or their broadcast feeds.
■ Imagine seeing glimpses of your favourite player e.g. Ash Barty arrive and practice?
○ 2/ Historic matches. Decades of archival footage from historic matches dating back to the 1970s through to the 2020s will be piped into AO Decentraland. Day one heroes the match content from the swinging seventies and builds to 2020’s as Day 14 approaches
■ Imagine reliving AO’s 2009 Nadal vs. Federer final match, similar to a watch party with other passionate fans?
- LIVE MATCH CONTENT. Virtual visitors logging in internationally will have live match commentary from AO Radio 24/7 and behind-the-scenes footage made exclusively available to AO Decentraland.
- LIVE PLAYER DROP-INS. Virtual attendees can virtually get up close with tennis legends including Mark Philippoussis & more
- PLAY-2-EARN GAMIFICATION: Virtual attendees will have the opportunity to play and complete challenges including:
- a one-player VR tennis game
- riding a giant ferris wheel
- scale a climbing wall to retrieve and claim NFTs, POAPs and wearables.
- CRYPTO COMMUNITY MEETUPS: AO Metaverse project partners including Decentaland and Metakey will host special experiences. Metakey’s Stream will be live from the Metakey Building one hour each day.
- Anyone aged over 13 years old can enter AO Decentraland and it’s free. It’s recommended to get the most of the experience, users will just need a Metamask wallet address (Beginner’s tutorial) to access and claim AO’s airdrops, play-2-earn gamification experiences.
- EXCLUSIVE CONTENT FOR RL VISITORS. Visitors attending Melbourne Park in RL get glimpses of a reverse feed from AO Decentraland piped into AO screens, court-side in between play.
- AO HAS LEASED THIS VIRTUAL LAND. Tennis Australia has leased the virtual land from Vegas City, a company which owns large areas of the metaverse.
Where to find out more
- AO Decentraland can be accessed at the event link by anyone aged over 13 years old Virtual doors – general public
- ○ 12:00 AEDT Mon 17th Jan 2022
- ○ 20:00 EST Sun 16th Jan 2022
- ○ 1:00 GMT UT Mon 17th Jan 2022. Forgive us Europe, AO is lining up to doors open Day 1
- Currently, AO Decentraland 2022 runs from 17 to 30 January 2022 AEDT, mirroring the RL tournament schedule
Why is Tennis Australia-AO doing this now?
Says Plummer: “We want the AO to be the world’s most accessible and inclusive sports and entertainment event, and with the unique challenges fans have faced getting to Melbourne we’ve fast-tracked our launch into the Metaverse. Taking the AO into the Metaverse is an important step to provide truly global access to our great event.”
How is AO Decentraland achieving its accessibility mission?
Says Plummer: “Fans from anywhere in the world, aged over 13 years old, will have the opportunity to explore a virtual Melbourne Park precinct while viewing live behind-the-scenes footage that is only available in Decentraland.
“We wanted to give viewers around the world a voyeuristic look into the AO, from the moments when players step out of their cars, to the moment they step onto the practice court, we’ll have 300+ cameras watching their every move.
“Along with BTS streams, AO Decentraland will take viewers on a journey through 50 years of archive footage, starting with the 1970’s and ending with the 2022 Finals on Sunday the 30th.
“Answering the question: Is AO DCL a short term play? We’re in it for the long term.
“The Metaverse is not going anywhere, and as a company we’re invested in continuing to grow our online presence and push the boundaries of innovation. We’re incredibly excited to see what the AO can offer fans beyond January 2022. TA’s increased focus on fan entertainment will allow us to trial new things throughout the year to showcase just how diverse we are as an organisation.”