On the same day the Aussie men’s cricket team officially got the coach it wanted, Cricket Australia and the Australian Cricketers’ Association announced a multi-year deal with Rario and BlockTrust to roll out non-fungible tokens.

Not sure what the bigger Aussie cricket news is there, really, but this section isn’t called Sportshead, so we’d best talk NFTs.

The announcement, made on Wednesday by Cricket Australia (CA), follows the AFL’s big NFT revenue-distribution partnership made with its players’ union and Animoca Brands, revealed about a week ago. The NRL will surely be next.

The official licensing deal, made with digital collectibles platform Rario and NFT trading company BlockTrust, is understood to be worth more than $10 million a year, according to The Australian cricket writer Peter Lalor.

Rario is a Singapore-based global cricket NFT platform with partners across Australia, Asia, the Caribbean and the Americas. BlockTrust was founded by Australian-born banker and former Jeffries Asia CEO Mike Alexander.

Revenue will be shared between CA and former and current players, though the specifics of the deal have not yet been revealed.

Some of Australia’s biggest cricket stars are part of the official NFT partnership with CA and the ACA. (Rario.com)


‘Huge opportunities for innovation’

A press release shared with Stockhead explains that the CA NFTs have the potential to “show the full story of a sporting moment” by featuring officially licensed broadcast vision.

Scott Boland’s Pom-destroying MCG spell? That’d be an NFT. Ellyse Perry’s Ashes double century? Steve Waugh’s SCG last-ball-boundary ton? NFTs. That time you helped build a 100m-long beer snake while Alastair Cook grafted through an entire day’s play? Maybe not an NFT.

Incidentally, as Lalor points out, the late great Shane Warne’s “ball of the century” would likely be a highly coveted digital collectible, but that footage is owned by the England and Wales Cricket Board.

“We’re excited to step into the metaverse with our partners Rario, BlockTrust and the Australian Cricketers’ Association for this historic deal, which will open up huge opportunities for innovation and fan engagement,” said Nick Hockley, CEO of Cricket Australia.

Todd Greenberg, CEO of the Australian Cricketers’ Association added: “Once you begin to learn about NFTs you soon understand the engagement possibilities between past and present players with fans are huge.”


Minting on the Polygon blockchain

Yup, it’s all about the marketing-speak “engagement”. These are likely to be much more than just digital versions of bubblegum-card collectibles, with not only video-footage possibilities, but the potential to build in real-life experiences.

For example, and just speculating, but the chance to meet star players or attend live matches could possibly be added as benefits for holders of certain, higher-value NFTs.

And if you wanted another buzzword… here’s one: sustainability.

NFTs cop a bad wrap from crypto sceptics/haters, who tend to think Bitcoin’s proof-of-work mining environmental impact somehow translates to everything crypto.

But CA says the partnership is committed to producing the non-fungible tokens in a sustainable manner. And to achieve this, Rario uses the Ethereum-compatitble side chain Polygon to mint NFTs.

“This translates to more eco-friendliness and considerably fewer carbon emissions,” reads the CA press release.

Overall NFT sales have totalled about US$11.8 billion so far in 2022, according to NFT research firm DappRadar, though the market has slowed in recent months.

No official Australian Cricket NFTs have launched as yet, but you can learn a bit more about the plans for them through Cricket.com.au or Rario.

Maybe even new men’s head coach Andrew “Ronald” McDonald will get his own NFT before long. (Although one or two of the ousted Justin Langer during his lengthy playing career might be more likely.)

Meanwhile, former Aussie Test star and big crypto fan Damien Martyn is yet to comment on the CA NFT news, but it sounds like he’s HODLing his bags, and maybe even buying the dip…