ICC executive explains why cricket is adopting NFTs

Like many other popular sports, Cricket has made its way into the world of non-fungible tokens (NFTs). The International Cricket Council (ICC) recently launched Crictos, the world’s first digital cricket collectibles.

FanCraze generated Crictos from every game of the Men’s T20 World Cup and made them available to fans for the first time during the tournament. Fans can collect these moments by purchasing the specially curated “Crictos of the Game” packs on Crictos.com.

However, the move sparked criticism, particularly from those skeptical of digital assets. “I’m not naive to say that there aren’t some bad actors in the crypto space,” ICC head of digital Finn Bradshaw said.

“The decision was made not to accept crypto payments on the platform, and I think that really helped. It’s attracted the right people because people are putting real-world money in there.”

Cricket’s venture into virtual world

Not only do the older demographics of cricket fans have a hard time understanding crypto, but the younger fans in India also prefer traditional trading cards.

Bradshaw acknowledged the issue, saying, “The idea of owning something digital…I’d say there is a little bit of a generational thing there.”

“There are people who see it as quite a foreign concept, but once you dig into it…this is provable, and you can’t lie about them like trading cards,” he said.

Bradshaw also argued that owning a digital item will not deteriorate over time. “You don’t have to worry about…like I do with all the stuff I’ve collected that is just sitting in my mom’s garage. This is not getting moldy,” he continued.

He insisted that the organization wanted to do something meaningful for an era where physical possessions may not be as valuable. He added the ICC wanted to improve how fans interact with moments from cricket games.

Bradshaw said he was intrigued by the concept of “digital permanence,” and his team had started working on it seriously a few years ago. He said, “We knew we had the (media) rights to do something like the NBA Top Shot.”

“The success we’ve had so far we can trace back to taking our time, and we were working for cricket fans,” he continued. “We wanted our NFTs to be accessible and part of the fan experience to complement the live sport alongside fantasy sports and merchandise and be a core part of the fandom.”

Sports in the virtual world

The age of blockchain has given rise to innovative ideas in sports. NBA Topshot, created by Dapper Lab, is one successful example. Top Shot is an official NBA Players virtual trading card platform on the FLOW blockchain. NBA Top Shot NFTs are short videos highlighting notable slam dunks, three-pointers and other exciting game events called “Moments.”

Earlier this year, Manchester City announced plans to replicate its 55,000-seat Etihad Stadium in the metaverse. Bradshaw said cricket could copy this move one day.

“The power of someone who now lives in the UAE putting a headset on and watching a game with a mate in Melbourne is pretty appealing,” Bradshaw said. “If we could solve that for people all over the world one day, that would be amazing.”