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Australian Grand Prix uses CENNZnet blockchain for fan experience

CENNZnet, New Zealand's largest public blockchain and decentralised applications platform was employed by Power'd Digital to deliver the Formula 1 Heineken Australian Grand Prix's 2022 AusGP Access program.

This is the first time the CENNZnet platform, specifically the NFT runtime module, has been applied in a live event experience environment.

Australian-based Power'd Digital, a leader in sports tokens and collectibles, delivered a blockchain-based fan portal that provided fans with tradeable tokens and enabled a program of unique experiences. As specialists in applying blockchain technology to sports and entertainment, Power'd chose the CENNZnet platform to enable a more customised fan experience.

The AusGP Access programme was designed with simplicity as a key principle. Fans purchased token packs (5 tokens per pack) that functioned like a digital lanyard to unlock unique benefits and experiences, such as discounted merchandise, pre-sale access, pit lane walks, photos with the trophy and more. Thousands of token packs were purchased, with a significant number subsequently gifted to friends and family, taking full advantage of the utility provided by blockchain technology.

Historically, certain on-track experiences have been the sole domain of corporate sponsors or partners, or linked to the purchase of a particular tier of ticket. The new AusGP Access program democratised access so that all fans had a chance to participate in unique experiences. Tokens also enabled fans to bid in an online auction for Track Hot Laps, sitting shotgun in a lap around the Grand Prix Circuit, in full GP mode, at speeds of up to 250km/hr.

CENNZnet CEO Nicole Upchurch says the F1 Australian Grand Prix 2022 Access programme was a fan-serving initiative that found a great use-case for CENNZnet's blockchain technology.

"Although this powerful technology sat behind the fan tokens, from the fan perspective they simply interacted, transacted, traded and purchased with an easy-to-use website (or phone app). It was hard to tell blockchain was involved at all! This represents a shift of power to the fans, and hints at the future of fandom," she says.

Power'd Digital CEO Scott Dinsdale says the company could not have invented better partners in Arthur, the fan-first team at the Australian Grand Prix Corporation, and CENNZnet.

"We eagerly look forward to next year, and to amplifying fan engagement, value and experience across live sport around the world," he says.

Australian Grand Prix Corporation general manager of marketing and experience Arthur Gillion says AusGP Access was a first for Australian sport.

"Utilising the power of the blockchain to deliver innovative and exciting experiences that lets fans get closer to the action and event than ever before. It unlocked a range of thrilling experiences like early access to presales, exclusive viewing areas, exclusive content, helicopter tours of the Albert Park Grand Prix Circuit and even hot laps," he says.

Benefits of fan tokens

Power to the fans: AusGP Access moved away from linking experiences to ticket purchase to a more customised engagement with the fan. Fans could decide from the list of experiences and rewards which were of more appeal, leading to a choose-your-own adventure style of experience.

Authenticity: The transfer of fan tokens is immutably stored on the CENNZnet blockchain so that all parties can prove the token's authenticity.

Deeper fan understanding: Through using the CENNZnet blockchain, AusGP gained a more intimate understanding of who its fans are. Through the gifting of tokens, for example, they could see which fans were championing the sport, and the next layer of fans (the recipient of
the token via gifting), which will help AusGP to broaden the pool of directly engaged fans in the future.

Sustainability: The AusGP Access program was a valuable contributor to the Australian Grand Prix's sustainability program, with a donation towards carbon offset from each token pack sold.

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