Ready for the Ashes? Get set for international cricket NFTs, too. Another day, another multi-million-dollar funding spree making a play to bring sports and entertainment into the world of crypto, NFTs and “the metaverse”.

A US$17 million seed funding round led by Tiger Global and Dapper Labs will help put into motion Faze Technologies’ plan to “build the metaverse for cricket” and bring NFTs (non-fungible tokens) licensed by the International Cricket Council (ICC) to the Flow blockchain. 

Crypto and cricket – together at last. Well, actually, this isn’t the first cricket-focused NFT play to trouble scorers. Polygon-based Rario launched in August with a pair of cricket leagues signed on.

Announcing its partnership with the ICC in a press release and on Twitter, Faze CEO Anshum Bhambri, said “Faze is building the metaverse for cricket”, adding:

“We can’t wait to give more than one billion cricket lovers the opportunity to own the game that means so much to them, and to engage with cricket in a whole new way.”

Faze is a tech startup founded by the former chief operating officer of the Indian Premier League, Sundar Raman, along with Bhambri, a Wall Street stockbroker, and another entrepreneur, Kusagra Kohli.

Finn Bradshaw, ICC Head of Digital said: “Cricket has an outstanding track record of using technology to connect fans with our sport and this is our next evolution, from trading cards to video NFTs where fans can own their favourite plays from ICC events.”

Also contributing to the funding round are the major Dapper Labs backer Coatue, Sequoia Capital India, Samsung Next, Courtside Ventures and Sacramento Kings owner Vivek Ranadive.

Dapper Labs, by the way, is the creator of the Flow blockchain and the phenomenally successful NBA Top Shot NFT video-moments series, which caught major mainstream attention earlier this year. Dapper announced a US$250 million funding round of its own in September, at a US$7.6 billion valuation, according to Coindesk.

Faze will apparently make use of the ICC’s “deep archive of historical moments” to create the cricket NFTs. By the sounds of it, these will take a similar approach to the NBA Top Shot model. Shane Warne’s ball of the century? Steve Waugh’s last-ball-of-the-day Ashes ton? Guaranteed. Cameron Bancroft’s underpants scrutiny? Less likely.

 

So, a cricket metaverse, eh?

The term “metaverse” is being tossed about like ball-tampering mints in an English dressing room (yes, yes, we know… sandpaper). But what does it mean for this crypto-cricket partnership?

Details on that are a bit hazy, but, according to Faze, it will apparently involve building a “play-to-earn universe” involving the “battling of NFTs”.

And, as well as the NFTs, the Faze platform will also aim to engage with users “through a variety of activations developed around marquee events, and the chance to win once-in-a-lifetime opportunities”.

The ICC x Faze Digital Collectibles collection is currently open for early registrations.

 

Are Aussie cricket stars set to benefit from the sale of NFTs?

You bet they are. According to an article by well-known cricket writer for The Australian, Peter Lalor, Australia’s men’s and women’s international stars, including Pat Cummins, David Warner and Ellyse Perry, will feature in a “lucrative cyber deal that will see cricket take a multimillion-dollar plunge into the NFT market”.

 

It’s a deal that might have some connection with  the ICC-Faze partnership, although that’s speculation. It reportedly could involve Australian cricketers licensing their image rights for sale as NFTs, or Cricket Australia might approach it as one broad entity.

Either way, according to Lalor, it’s a deal that could become the most valuable in cricket after broadcast rights.

“Cricket and the players are looking at a multimillion-dollar payday that could overshadow revenue from corporate sponsorships and other licensing agreements,” wrote Lalor. “The cricket NFT deal is said to be worth more than any other in Australia.”

We can apparently expect further details on an official Australian cricket, NFT-related deal some time within the next month or so.