The New Zealand Cricket (NZC) governing body has today (July 21) announced a five-year partnership with Dream Sports, a prominent Indian sports technology firm, of which the creation of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) is a significant component.

The deal builds on Dream Sports’ existing relationship with NZC, which has seen its flagship Dream11 brand act as the governing body’s fantasy sports partner since 2019, and will entail Dream Sports building a suite of digital fan-engagement products for NZC, including around NFTs, gaming, and merchandising.

The NFTs will be developed by Rario, a new addition to the Dream Sports portfolio that already has experience in creating cricket-based digital collectibles, which represents Dream Sports’ debut in NFTs.

Digital collectibles on offer will cover sectors such as “player cards, video moments, and cricket artifacts.”

In addition, an official mobile game will be built by the Dream Sports game development arm DreamGameStudios, and a sports merchandise range will be hosted on the firm’s FanCode platform, which deals with premier sports content and commerce.

Other partners in Dream Sports’ cricket portfolio include the prestigious Indian Premier League Twenty20 competition, the International Cricket Council, the Board of Control for Cricket in India, Cricket Australia, and The Hundred, English cricket’s new short-form domestic competition.

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David White, chief executive officer at NZC, said: “One of NZC’s key goals is to extend our teams’ global reach; to build closer relationships around the world, and to develop new ways for fans to engage and connect with the deep history of our sport.”

“We’re delighted to be aligning with a partner that is right at the forefront of the industry …”

Vikrant Mudaliar, chief marketing officer at Dream Sports, added: “We are excited about the next big leap in our association with New Zealand Cricket, and look forward to exploring its full potential for fan engagement through the Dream Sports portfolio.

“The first-of-its-kind collaboration will enable deeper engagement opportunities for sports fans through newer avenues like NFTs, gaming and merchandising …”

Elsewhere in cricket, it has been revealed that all six franchise slots in a new domestic South African Twenty20 tournament to be launched in January 2023 have been snapped up by corporations and owners of teams in the IPL.

The team locations (no names have yet been unveiled) and owners are as follows: Cape Town (Reliance Industries, owners of Mumbai Indians); Durban (RPSG, owners of Lucknow SuperGiants); Gqeberha (SunTV Network, owner of Sunrisers Hyderabad); Johannesburg (Chennai Super Kings Cricket Ltd); Paarl (Royals Sports Group, owners of Rajasthan Royals); Pretoria (JSW Sports, the co-owners of Delhi Capitals).

The league will be run by the Cricket South Africa governing body, in collaboration with dominant local pay-TV broadcaster SuperSport.

Graeme Smith, the former South African captain who is now head of the new league, said: "We are thrilled to welcome our new franchise owners to the South African League taking place in January and February 2023. This is truly an exciting time for our cricket; the overwhelming interest shows that the country remains valued in the global cricketing eco-system.”

It has been reported that overall, there were 29 expressions of interest in snapping up the six franchise slots.

This is the third attempt to set up a successful South African Twenty20 franchise league. The Global League proved unsuccessful in 2017, while the Mzansi Super League lasted two years and was then abandoned in 2020 after the coronavirus pandemic hit.

IPL franchises, meanwhile, have already expanded their portfolios – in terms of teams owned – into both the Caribbean Premier League and a new tournament starting in the United Arab Emirates next year.