Cricket in India boasts a distinct and massive fan following, one that is unmatched by other sports. In addition to the Indian team, the Indian Premier League (IPL), too, enjoys unrivalled popularity in the country, regularly logging record streaming views. Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB), the team comprising former India captain and cricket superstar Virat Kohli, as well as a host of international players, is currently competing for a playoff spot in the ongoing edition of the IPL. RCB has now hopped onboard the Web3 wagon, which could give the sector a notable push among cricket loyalists in the world's most populous nation. The IPL team has partnered up with Rario, an India-based digital collectibles platform developed especially for cricket fans, to launch digital trading cards for their supporters.
The Web3 partnership was announced on Tuesday, May 16. In the coming days, RCB fans will be able to purchase exclusive, blockchain-supported collectibles, featuring popular team members including Glenn Maxwell, Kedar Jadhav, Shahbaz Ahmed, and Virat Kohli, who is the world's most followed sportsperson on Instagram, among other players.
The move is expected to contribute to the evolution of cricket fandom and fan engagement in the coming times, Rajesh Menon, the Head and Vice President of RCB, believes.
“Our partnership will give fans a sense of ownership and a deeper sense of connection with their favourite team, RCB. This represents the next step in the sports engagement landscape, and we are proud to set our step in the right direction as a progressive franchise,” Menon said in a prepared statement.
Previously, Rario had teamed up with other IPL teams including Punjab Kings, Gujarat Titans, and Kolkata Knight Riders to offer similar digital trading cards to the supporters of these teams.
Rario lets fans collect and trade iconic moments from games and store them in the form of video formats and player cards. These digital cards essentially fall into the category of non-fungible tokens (NFTs).
Founded in 2021 by IIT Alumni Ankit Wadhwa and Sunny Bhanot, Rario lets users use these digital cards in fantasy contests in the D3 Club.
The company, which claims to be the first licensed cricket collectible platform in the world, recently ran into trouble with law enforcement authorities in India.
Earlier this month, the Delhi High Court dismissed Rario's plea that questioned its rival marketplace Striker's practice of developing NFTs inspired by the public information available on cricket players. Rario, in its petition, had said that Striker is even producing digital artworks related to the cricketers who have signed NFT and Web3-related partnerships with Rario.
Replying to Rario's plea, the court said that no company has any exclusive rights on the identities of any public personality and that the NFT is open for industry payers to experiment with.
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