Exclusive agreement introduces Fintech-quality NFT exchange and virtual gaming to rugby fans through second screen, live action sport
Provides stepping-stone for push into the US, leveraging growing rugby fan base and global cross-marketing for upcoming tier 1 sport partnerships
ASX Sports, the only next-generation virtual sports exchange to offer fans live in game ‘trading’, announced that is has signed an exclusive long-term deal with Sky New Zealand’s global digital rugby platform, RugbyPass, to bring NFT-enabled fantasy gaming to rugby fans for the first time. Under the agreement, data from RugbyPass will fuel the proprietary ASX technology which will deliver real-time gamification of live sports to the 10 million plus RugbyPass audience.
ASX’s Sports NFT Exchange has the unique capacity to harness live data feeds and responsive algorithms to create the first NFTs for sports with listed values that fluctuate in real time, based on the underlying performance of players and demand in the marketplace. Trading on the Sports NFT Exchange resembles a virtual stock market and opens the door to a new era in fan engagement, creating a unique second screen and OTT experience in which fans enhance the value of their player portfolios via live, any-time ‘trading’, including in-game, when perceived value might change the most.
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Paddy Power, President at ASX said: “Our vision for how sports NFTs can be created, valued and exchanged is revolutionizing the fan experience and further elevating the centrality of the second screen in modern-day sports. We offer the entire sports value chain new dimensions in commercial opportunities and brand loyalty across the growing facets of fantasy sports globally. We’re thrilled to team with RugbyPass to bring our technology and offering to a rapidly evolving market that is ripe for further disruption.
ASX’s cutting-edge cryptographic technology ecosystem is deployed in concert with leading digital asset providers that enhance its proprietary blockchain and smart contract technology.
Neil Martin, CEO at RugbyPass, added: “It’s an exciting time to partner with ASX as fans discover new ways to interact with and express their passion for rugby and its superstars. Through NFTs, we have together built a fresh product-line with a singular focus on what makes rugby supporters tick, further emboldened by the unique data sets and insights provided by our acquisition of Sports Analytics. This collaboration complements our wider ambitions and focus on digital services, and we will explore further opportunities to develop and foster communities based on rich, actionable content.”
The US has more than 43 million rugby ‘fanatics’ and over 1.3 million active participants in the sport, making it the largest market of rugby enthusiasts worldwide, according to sports and entertainment insights and analytics firm Gemba. US popularity is expected to increase, spurred by the growth of Major League Rugby, USA Rugby’s plans to bid for upcoming World Cup tournaments and the rise of younger, digitally native audiences seeking ‘non-traditional’ sports content. A 2019 study by Nielsen estimated that rugby has 877 million followers and 405 million fans worldwide.
This trend dovetails with the proactive push by ASX to tap the US, the world’s largest sports and sponsorship market, and replicate the strong brand and presence it has built in Ireland and the UK, due in part to pioneering founder Paddy Power, whose earlier work at Paddy Power Betfair saw it brought under Flutter Entertainment, alongside other powerhouse brands FanDuel and PokerStars. Conversely, ASX is primed to partner with Tier 1 leagues like the NFL, NBA, MLB, and NHL and capitalize on the sizeable opportunity for next generation US fantasy sports ‘trading’ to be marketed to their global audience.
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ASX, who just relocated headquarters to Miami, will be announcing routes into capturing US and global market share via major joint ventures and agreements with prominent sports leagues, teams, and athletes.