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Tokens to be part of the UTS experience, Mouratoglou announces at Paris NFT Day

Speaking at the Paris NFT Day after the launch of his NFTs series The Coach, Patrick Mouratoglou announced the arrival of digital tokens in the UTS competition planned for 2023

Patrick Mouratoglou, who is passionate about emerging Web3 and NFT technology, was one of the speakers at the Paris NFT Day on Tuesday, explaining how this new technology will change the face of sport, particularly by bringing fans closer to the players and the game.

Simona Halep’s newly-appointed coach said that tokens – “digital tokens” offered to Internet users – would be part of the Ultimate Tennis Showdown experience, a new approach to tennis that was tested in 2020 and 2021 and is set to become an annual tour in 2023. It was not specified whether these would be blockchain-linked tokens or not, a device known as NFTs (“non-fungible tokens”), authentic and unique digital objects.

“We believe that [tokens and NFTs] can bring a much higher connexion between the fans and the format,” said Mouratoglou in the large amphitheatre of the Palais Brongniart, formerly the Paris stock exchange. “We are inspired by what the NBA has done with the top shots, allowing fans to own iconic moments of matches.”

A help for your favourite player ?

In a round-table discussion with Alexandre Dreyfus, director of socios.com, a company that values tokens from fans of football teams, Mouratoglou elaborated on his thoughts by indicating that fans could be likely to help their favourite player during a match in future editions of the Ultimate Tennis Showdown.

Played through eight-minute quarters, the UTS format assigns players two card “powers” per quarter that can give him or her an advantage, such as “the next winning shot earns three points” or “my opponent must win the next point in three shots.”

Fans don’t want to be spectators, they want to be active

Patrick Mouratoglou

“Fans don’t want to be spectators, they want to be active,” continued Mouratoglou. “Fans want to belong to something.

“The fans with the tokens will be able to give some extra cards to their favourite players by voting. They can also invest in young player’s future. We will have wild cards for young players that can become great potentially. The tokens owner can get some rewards if the player does well. We have a lot of other ideas.”

Mouratoglou: UTS will be the Champions League of tennis

Almost three weeks after launching “The Coach” collection, allowing NFT buyers access to privileges, Mouratoglou pointed out that turning fans’ passion into NFT buyers remains difficult.

“It worked, we sold out, but it was more difficult than expected. It’s complicated: we, the market, have to admit it, [and] it’s the next improvement we can make in the NFTs. You lose so many people on the way. We have bigger projects, in number, I can’t say more but it’s very exciting.”

During the talk, however, Mouratoglou did slip in a few more details about his plan for a UTS circuit in 2023, “side by side with the ATP” on dates that do not clash with the current calendar. Describing the project as “sportainment”, he announced a circuit of ten annual stages, in major cities usually deprived of top-level tennis.

The Champions League of tennis

“90% of the fans do not know 90% of the players,” he said in front of the portraits of Alexander Zverev and Daniil Medvedev, who have already participated in UTS, and suggested that the kind of players who might bring in new spectators are Nick Kyrgios or Frances Tiafoe, who could not participate in 2020 and 2021, notably because of restrictions linked to COVID. The new catchline of UTS, made public in Paris, is “the Champions League of tennis”.

Mouratoglou said that most of the events would be held in ad hoc, iconic venues in the major cities visited: “we can play everywhere, on the ocean, on the roof of a building, at the bottom of the Eiffel Tower or at the pyramids in Cairo,” he illustrated, without formally announcing that stages would be held in any of these cities.

Among the innovations he is working on for 2023 is the publication of live data on the physical condition of players and live betting facilities.

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