The International Cricket Council (ICC) has entered into a partnership with the Near Foundation, naming it their official blockchain partner until the end of 2025. This collaboration aims to utilize Web 3.0 technology to enhance fan engagement and promote the growth of the game through new digital experiences.
The first initiative resulting from this partnership is a pre-match strategy challenge ahead of the upcoming men’s Cricket World Cup next month. Fans will have the opportunity to showcase their cricketing knowledge through a series of batting, bowling, and fielding strategic challenges, with scores recorded on Near’s blockchain operating system. The best-performing participants will receive prizes, including match tickets.
Looking ahead, the ICC and Near Foundation plan to explore additional ways of rewarding fan loyalty. Beyond prizes, they aim to provide fans with increased access to teams and players. One concept being discussed is the creation of a “fan passport” that will document fan actions and offer a “tamper-proof” record of their engagement.
“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.”
The Near Foundation has previously partnered with SailGP, with their blockchain technology powering a future team owned by a decentralized autonomous organization (DAO). The alliance with the ICC now extends Near’s reach to a much broader audience, particularly in the Indian subcontinent where cricket enjoys immense popularity.
“We are extremely excited to be working with the ICC in this multi-year deal,” said Chris Donovan, CEO of the Near Foundation. “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.”
Through this collaboration, the ICC and Near Foundation aim to leverage blockchain technology to make the world of sports more inclusive and exciting for everyone. As the partnership progresses, cricket fans can look forward to innovative digital experiences that enhance their passion for the game and deepen their connection with their favorite teams and players.