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Editing by Nathaniel Cajuday
- PBA, the oldest basketball league in Asia, has partnered with Virtualness, a mobile NFT platform, to launch an NFT collection.
- The PBA-Virtualness platform is set to launch in the early part of 2023, where PBA fans can buy and collect virtual items that highlight the memorable moments in the league’s 48 years of existence, similar to the NBA Top Shot collection.
- These virtual items can then be used to unlock virtual and IRL experiences of fans to their idols, like a meet and greet, an invitation to have a VIP seat during PBA games, and even discounts when buying game tickets.
Following the local brands and the National Basketball Association (NBA) that already released their collections in the past years, the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) announced its venture this year as it partnered with mobile NFT platform Virtualness to launch a non-fungible token (NFT) project.
In a press release, Virtualness highlighted that the oldest basketball league in Asia has agreed to work with them to “exclusively power an innovative, easy-to-use digital experience for basketball fans to discover, explore, collect, trade, buy, and own memorable, once-in-a-lifetime moments in the games via branded digital collectibles.”
According to the platform, the collectibles will have a wide range of use cases, from commemorative and topical to gamification and unlocking unique fan experiences.
For this project, PBA will feature a customized community built around purchasing, trading, and owning digital collectibles.
Like NBA Top Shot, PBA fans can now also collect past and present in-game moments and merchandise from the PBA season on the Virtualness platform. The PBA-Virtualness platform is expected to launch in the first half of 2023, with loyalty fan experiences and rewards following later in the year.
“These moments, such as Japeth Aguilar’s dunks or June Mar Fajardo’s use of finesse and stature that have made him known as ‘The Kraken,’ will all be available to be owned and collected by fans. They will be used to unlock unique virtual and real-world experiences such as player meet and greets or invitations to special seats as well as online discounts, exclusives, and more,” they noted.
Consequently, the founders of Virtualness, Kirthiga Reddy and Saurabh Doshi, highlighted how the “PBA and its players are beloved by their fanatical fans not just in the Philippines, but throughout the world.”
“We’ve been at the heart of Web2 ecosystem building, and the digital transformation of media, sports, and entertainment over the last decade. We’re on our journey to do it again in Web3 and excited to enable the PBA to mimic various physical experiences in digital forms and in newer ways unlocked by the power of blockchain,” they added.
Moreover, according to PBA Commissioner Willie Marcial, their partnership with Virtualness, as well as their metaverse venture itself, was “a logical next step for the Philippine Basketball Association. We have a history of being innovative, being the first basketball league in Asia and the first professional league outside of the United States.”
“In Virtualness, we’ve found a like-minded partner who understands how to make it super simple and entertaining for our amazing fans to extend their fandom via digital collectibles and experiences. We believe this will help us leverage next-generation technology to continue basketball’s relevancy as a cultural phenomenon in the Philippines and around the world,” Marcial concluded.
On the other hand, TNT Tropang Giga and Gilas Pilipinas Head Coach Vincent “Chot” Reyes, one of the advisors of the partnership, stressed that the soon-to-launch NFT Collection is the “players’ and league’s way of giving back to our community of fans who have given us so much already.”
“In turn, we believe this will help us deepen and strengthen the future of the PBA and the sport overall. It’s time the PBA ventures into new arenas to connect with a greater audience, and I think they have the right partner in Virtualness,” he affirmed.
In May last year, PBA collaborated with mobile crypto wallet Coins.ph to make it its official crypto partner. By October, Coins.ph had partnered with PBA veteran Jared Dillinger to produce “Courtside Crypto,” a series of educational videos and social media engagements to empower basketball fans and Filipinos to take control of their finances.
Amid the bear market, a recent study revealed that the NFT industry in the Philippines is expected to grow by 46.0% on an annual basis and continue to grow at a steady rate through 2028, with a value of ₱705 trillion (US$12796.4 million) by that time.
This article is published on BitPinas: PBA to Release NFT Collection Focusing on In-Game Moments, Unique Fan Experience
Disclaimer: BitPinas articles and its external content are not financial advice. The team serves to deliver independent, unbiased news to provide information for Philippine-crypto and beyond.