Rugby League World Cup unveils sport’s first NFT marketplace

The NFT collections will champion the tournament’s diversity and boost fan experience

Rugby player preparing to kick the ball - Photo:Shutterstock

The Rugby League World Cup 2021 (RLWC2021) has announced that it will be partnering with blockchain company NuArca to launch a non-fungible token (NFT) fan experience and an NFT marketplace for the tournament.

This marks the first official NFT marketplace in Rugby League history.

RLWC2021, which will be staged at 21 sporting venues across England, was originally scheduled to take place this autumn but has been postponed until November 2022 following a joint decision by the RLWC2021 and the UK government. Both Australia and New Zealand had already withdrawn from the tournament due to COVID-19 concerns.

NFTs will champion the diversity of the tournament

The NFT collection will champion the inclusivity and diversity of the tournament that will see over 600 players representing 21 nations participate in 61 matches.

The RLWC2021 NFT platform will allow fans to share “in quests, earn experiences and collect a range of NFT drops with digital collectibles celebrating the history, heroes, nations, milestones and achievements of the second oldest World Cup in sporting history,” the RLWC2021 team announced.

NuArca is the 13th sponsor of RLWC2021, joining such names as Cazoo, Deloitte, The National Lottery, Manchester Metropolitan University and Pepsi MAX.

Manchester City releases its second NFT

In September, Premier League champions Manchester City announced the release of their second NFT.

The football club’s second NFT went live on 7 September at 20.00 BST (UTC+1) on MakersPlace, a marketplace for digital art. Its first NFT was launched in May.

The second NFT release was dubbed the ‘Creation’ collection and was produced by digital artist Alan Bolton. The ‘Creation' collection consists of three pieces, ‘The Football Academy’, ‘The Football Laboratory’ and ‘To The Blue Moon’. The artwork combines into a three-part triptych image. One of the pieces 'The Football Laboratory' sold for $19,000.

“NFTs have been a fast-developing sector for the sports industry”

Jon Dutton, chief executive at RLWC2021, said: “NFTs have been a fast-developing sector for the sports industry in 2021 and our announcement with NuArca aligns with our desire to embrace innovation alongside the opportunity to bring RLWC2021 to the widest possible audience.”

Todd Cooper, CEO & co-founder at NuArca, said: “Becoming the official NFT partner for RLWC2021 is a great opportunity for NuArca to bring Rugby League fans from all over the world together, and we are looking forward to introducing our NFT fan engagement programme to them.

“NuArca Labs’ white label NFT fan engagement platform is a unique and low-friction way for brands to bring their full fan base into NFT participation ensuring maximum impact. We are bringing NFTs out of the world of crypto and into the mainstream on a global basis.”

Further reading: American singer Jason Derulo has bought an NFT

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