• L Misthos and M Bacina

Game, set, match: AO Art Ball NFTs sells out in straight sets

Updated: Jan 14


It only took three minutes for the Australian Open's (AO) Art Ball NFT collection to sell out when they went on sale the morning of January 13. Each NFT has been uniquely designed as either a Generative, Legend or Artist design category and offered as part of the first ever NFT issuance by a tennis competition.


Tennis Australia, working with Decentraland, have created a full-scale replica of Rod Laver Arena where each of the 6,776 NFTs represent one 19x19cm virtual plot of the court. The AO will also be keeping data from over 400 matches and tracking which plot winning shots land on with real match data integration.


For those lucky enough to secure an Art Ball, this means their NFT may gain certain accolades, and will be 'updated' when various things occur in the real world, such as a championship winning shot being played on their plot.


In fact, all 11 of the championship balls, from the AOs 11 championship matches will be packaged in a commemorative casing and sent to the NFT owner whose plot the winning shot lands on (subject to terms and conditions, naturally). Also, with the AO's venture into the metaverse, a replica of Melbourne Park's tennis precinct in Decentraland has been created, which can be visited using computers, phone, or virtual reality (VR) and will be showcased in the real Rod Laver Arena screens during the Open.


While each NFT went on sale for 0.067 Ethereum, the AO is using part of the sale to offset carbon emissions caused by the Ethereum network's "proof-of-work" system. A proportion of sale is also going to the Australian Tennis Foundation.


The NFT issuance, which the author and Piper Alderman work on, is the very first tennis-related drop of its kind and is a brilliant blend of the real world and the metaverse. The speed with which the drop sold out shows how much appetite there is for digital collectibles, and how fans are finding new ways to commemorate and be part of their favourite sports.

2022 is going to be huge for NFTs.