The Australian Open (AO) 2022 becomes the first Grand Slam tennis tournament to take a swing at the metaverse, hosting a virtual event on Decentraland starting from 17 January. Tackling the hassles of Covid-19, fans across the globe can now attend the AO from the comfort of their couch in the metaverse for a fortnight. They will be able to enter the main stadium Rod Laver Arena, explore the precincts, and watch tennis matches.
The event is brought to action by a partnership between Decentraland and Tennis Australia, the governing body for Tennis in Australia.
“We want the AO to be the world’s most accessible and inclusive sports and entertainment event. With the unique challenges fans have faced getting to Melbourne we’ve fast-tracked our launch into the Metaverse,” says Ridley Plummer, Tennis Australia’s NFT and metaverse project manager.
Play-to-earn, NFT drop, live footage
The Australian Open is now live in the metaverse. A lot has been planned out for virtual audiences, including some exclusive content. Decentraland viewers could access live behind-the-scenes footage from over 300 cameras around Melbourne Park, like the players’ arrival area and the practice village, as well as archival footage from historic matches on Day-1. Apart from these, player drop-ins, P2E games where winners can claim NFT drops, and Trophy AO Classic match replay were some of the key highlights that marked the first day. Legendary tennis players will also make an appearance at the event in the coming days.
Plummer confirms that Tennis Australia is in the metaverse for the long run:
“The metaverse is not going anywhere, and as a company, we’re invested in continuing to grow our online presence and push the boundaries of innovation.”