The International Cricket Council (ICC) has named the Near Foundation as its official blockchain partner until the end of 2025, promising to use Web 3.0 technology to deepen fan engagement and grow the game through new digital experiences.
The first product of the partnership will be a pre-match strategy challenge on the current men’s Cricket World Cup which is underway in India.
The challenge will invite fans to test their cricketing knowledge in a series of batting, bowling and fielding strategic challenges, with scores recorded on Near’s blockchain operating system. The best performing players will receive prizes, including match tickets
Future applications will look at ways to further reward fan loyalty, not just with prizes, but with greater access to teams and players. One idea being touted is a ‘fan passport’ that will record fan actions and provide a “tamper proof” record of their activity.
“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,” said Finn Bradshaw, head of digital at the ICC. “We are looking forward to exploring ways in which we can use new technology to create lasting, valuable experiences for our fans.”
Near Foundation’s most high-profile sporting partnership to date is with SailGP, with its blockchain powering a future team owned by a decentralised autonomous organisation (DAO). The partnership with the ICC opens up a far wider audience, particularly in the Indian subcontinent.
“We are extremely excited to be working with the ICC in this multi-year deal,” said Chris Donovan, Near Foundation chief executive.
“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 Web 3.0 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 Web 3.0 to make the world of sport more inclusive and exciting for everyone.”