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Indian Super League becomes first sports league in India to enter NFT market

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The Indian Super League (ISL) on Wednesday announced a landmark partnership with London-based Terra Virtua Limited to launch its exclusive non-fungible tokens (NFTs) as digital collectibles ahead of the 2021-22 season.

The agreement sees ISL, the top division in Indian football, become the country’s first sports property to launch a digital collectibles series, leading the Indian sports industry in the fast-growing NFT market.

Terra Virtua is the world’s first fully immersive social, digital collectibles platform and is one of the world’s leading creators and marketplaces using blockchain technology. It currently offers themed digital collectibles across a range of popular movies, television shows and comic books. This partnership with the ISL is Terra Virtua’s first foray into the dynamic sports ecosystem.

Changing the face of fan engagement

Under the licensed partnership, Terra Virtua will create unique digital collectibles featuring the Indian Super League and all its 11 clubs. Since the ISL’s launch in 2014, the league’s many memorable moments, player cards, in-match highlights and more will be made available for fans to purchase and trade as interactive memorabilia through Terra Virtua’s unique marketplace.

“Digital collectibles have been one of the most talked-about fan engagement avenues in 2021, and ISL being a young league would like to keep pace with the demands of India’s millennial and Gen Z audience segments.”

“We are extremely excited to be working with Terra Virtua to remain at the forefront of the next wave of innovation around fan engagement. Digital collectibles offer innovative opportunities for the league and its clubs to connect with the growing Indian football market and attract newer audiences,” Hoshedar Gundevia, ISL’s Head of Digital said in a statement. 

“This is a big day for the future of Indian and international sport. The partnership signals a fundamental shift in the way sports fans will be able to engage with their favourite sports teams going forward, allowing them to collect and trade interactive player merchandise and dynamic digital memorabilia with fellow fans.”

“The partnership also demonstrates strong, continued growth in the NFT market, reinforcing that digital collectibles are the future of fan merchandise and digital art,” Terra Virtua CEO and co-founder, Gary Bracey commented. 

Going green

The announcement comes fresh off the news that Terra Virtua recently switched its platform from the Ethereum blockchain to Polygon in a drive to be more sustainable. By making the change, the NFT pioneer has reduced its energy usage in minting NFTs by over 99%.

“We are really excited to be involved with Terra Virtua as they embark on their deal with the first mainstream Indian sports brand releasing NFTs. As an India-based company, we are huge fans of the ISL and look forward to seeing how Terra Virtua empower and immerse soccer fans with their digital collectibles,” said Sandeep Nailwal, COO & Co-founder at Polygon

Information on the collectibles available will be announced ahead of the ISL tournament. 

The first match of the Indian Super League 2021-22 season will be played between ATK Mohun Bagan and Kerala Blasters FC on November 19 at the Fatorda Stadium.

Featured photo: Indian Super League 

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