Virtualness platform will enable Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) to design, mint, showcase and sell branded digital collectibles; and to use next-generation technology to connect with Filipino basketball fans across the world in new ways
SAN FRANCISCO, Jan. 3, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — The Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) and Virtualness, a mobile-first platform which simplifies the complex world of Web3, today announced that Virtualness will exclusively power an innovative, easy-to-use digital experience for basketball fans to discover, explore, collect, trade, buy and own memorable, once-in-a-lifetime, moments in the games via branded digital collectibles. These NFT collectibles span a gamut of use cases – from commemorative, topical, gamification to unlocking unique fan experiences.
“The PBA and its players are beloved by their fanatical fans not just in the Philippines, but throughout the world,” said Kirthiga Reddy and Saurabh Doshi, co-founders of Virtualness. “We’ve been at the heart of Web2 ecosystem building, and the digital transformation of media, sports and entertainment over the last decade. We’re on our journey to do it again in Web3 and excited to enable the PBA to mimic various physical experiences in digital forms and in newer ways unlocked by the power of blockchain.”
PBA will feature a customized community built around purchasing, trading, and owning of digital collectibles. Fans can collect past and present live in-game moments and merchandise from the PBA season on the Virtualness platform. These moments such as Japeth Aguilar’s‘s dunks or June Mar Fajardo’s use of finesse and stature that have made him known as “The Kraken,” will all be available to be owned and collected by fans. They will be used to unlock unique virtual and real world experiences such as player meet and greets or invitations to special seats as well as online discounts, exclusives & more.
“This is a logical next step for the Philippine Basketball Association. We have a history of being innovative, being the first basketball league in Asia and the first professional league outside of the United States,” said Willie Marcial, Commissioner of PBA. “In Virtualness, we’ve found a like-minded partner who understands how to make it super simple and entertaining for our amazing fans to extend their fandom via digital collectibles and experiences. We believe this will help us leverage next-generation technology to continue basketball’s relevancy as a cultural phenomenon in the Philippines and around the world.”
The Philippines is a tech savvy nation, ranking in the top five nations across the globe interested in NFTs. According to ResearchandMarkets Philippines NFT Market Intelligence Report 2022, the NFT industry in Philippines is expected to grow steadily at a 32.6% CAGR during 2022-2028 reaching $12.5B+ by 2028. In addition to building relevancy, especially for the next generation, the PBA believes this initiative will further fuel fandom & encourage more children to participate & learn the nation’s favorite sport.
“In my work with professional athletes and executives, I always strive to make a difference, that’s what led me to connect Virtualness with the PBA,” said Vincent ‘Chot’ Reyes, Head Coach of the TNT Tropang Giga of the PBA and of the Philippine National Team GILAS. “This is our players’ and league’s way of giving back to our community of fans who have given us so much already. In turn, we believe this will help us deepen and strengthen the future of the PBA and the sport overall. It’s time the PBA ventures into new arenas to connect with a greater audience, and I think they have the right partner in Virtualness,” added Reyes, who is an advisor in the partnership.
The PBA Virtualness platform will launch in the first half of 2023, with loyalty fan experiences and rewards following later in the year.
Virtualness is a mobile-first platform designed to help creators and brands navigate the complex world of Web3. Founded in 2022 by industry leaders Kirthiga Reddy and Saurabh Doshi, Virtualness puts creators first and is building the playbook for easy design, efficient sharing and seamless digital commerce. Authenticated creators and brands can use Virtualness to design, mint and showcase branded digital collectibles; easily share across their social media channels; directly interact with their community; enable unique experiences and unlock new channels for monetization. Funding led by Blockchange Ventures with participation from Polygon Ventures, F7 Ventures, Micron Ventures, Better Ventures, FalconX, Impact Venture Capital, Neythri Futures Fund, Oceans Ventures, Perot Jain, VC3 DAO, Carolyn Everson, Randi Zuckerberg, Nuseir Yassin (Nas Daily), Nikki Farb, Shayamal Vallabhjee, Stacy Brown-Philpot, and other thought-leaders.
The Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) is a men’s professional basketball league in the Philippines composed of twelve company-branded franchised teams. It’s the first professional basketball league in Asia, and globally the second-longest running after the NBA. The league’s regulations include a hybrid of rules from the NBA and FIBA.