ICC & NEAR Foundation partnership to boost global fan engagement

International Cricket Council and NEAR Foundation sign groundbreaking, multi-year partnership to boost global fan engagement through Web3

The International Cricket Council and the Near Foundation today announced a groundbreaking first of its kind technology partnership that will utilise the NEAR Web3 ecosystem to deepen cricket fans engagement with the game across the world.

The NEAR Foundation will become the ICC’s Official Blockchain Partner through to the end of 2025 and will assist in increasing fan engagement, bringing the sport to new audiences and providing long-term value to fans.

The partnership will launch with the creation of a pre-match strategy challenge ahead of the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023 in India starting on 5 October. The challenge powered by NEAR’s Blockchain Operating System (B.O.S.) will enable fans to test their cricket knowledge against others to show their understanding of the sport.

Users will be challenged to strategic decisions to create winning combinations across cricket’s three key facets – batting, bowling and fielding. As the real-life matches unfold, the team’s performance on the pitch directly impacts the fans’ scores. A leaderboard will capture each fans’ performance and weekly winners will be awarded prizes including match tickets, exclusive events, Men’s CWC merchandise and more placing fans at the centre of the action and bringing them closer to the game than ever before.

By building their products on the B.O.S. the ICC will benefit from the reliability of one of the world’s most highly scalable, community driven, and secure blockchains, that delivers proven, best-in-class performance that can support any kind of Web3 strategy. This will enable the ICC to build experiences that create direct connections between hundreds of millions of fans around the world, and foster increased engagement between fans, ICC events and their favourite teams and players.

Post ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023, both sides will work together in partnership to develop long term Web3 use cases that will celebrate and encourage loyalty to the sport – the bigger the fan, the more they are rewarded with prizes and greater access to the game they love. The B.O.S., with its full stack of web3 tools and easy onboarding, will enable the ICC to move towards the goal of developing a fan passport that allows fans to record their actions and memories, in a tamper proof way across every touchpoint, both online and off.

Finn Bradshaw, Head of Digital at the ICC, said: “We are excited to embark on this partnership with NEAR Foundation and to use their technology and network of talent to create better and deeper fan engagement around the globe. We are looking forward to exploring ways in which we can use new technology to create lasting, valuable experiences for our fans.”

Commenting on the significance of this partnership, Chris Donovan, CEO of the NEAR Foundation said: “We are extremely excited to be working with the ICC in this multi-year deal. This is one of our biggest partnership announcements to date and solidifies our reputation as a go to blockchain technology provider in the sporting world. Given the immense size and popularity of cricket, the NEAR ecosystem will potentially be exposed to hundreds of millions of cricket fans who will have the opportunity to learn about NEAR Foundation’s mission of increasing the adoption of an open web, and get the chance to interact with Web3 use cases built on the Blockchain Operating System. We look forward to opportunities that this mutually beneficial agreement will bring to cricket fans and to playing a key role in using Web3 to make the world of sport more inclusive and exciting for everyone.”

© ICC 2023

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