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Hong Kong Rugby Union and NuArca Labs Unveil Digital Collectible Marketplace for Hong Kong 7s Tournament Return

Hong Kong Sevens rugby fans can receive a free NFT of Wei Bai, the league tournament mascot.

Rugby fans can collect Hong Kong Sevens team NFTs in the new digital marketplace.

Hong Kong Sevens Team NFTs will become covetable digital collectibles.

makes it exciting, simple, safe, and fun for rugby fans to own a piece of the action.

NuArca Labs makes it exciting, simple, safe, and fun for rugby fans to own a piece of the action.

From real life to the metaverse; fans can snag a commemorative Wai Bei mascot NFT and join a treasure hunt in-stadium to win VIP experiences.

Rugby fans are some of the most enthusiastic on the planet -- our tournament is a festival -- and we aim to harness and reciprocate that energy in web3 community channels.”
— Bryan Rennie, General Manager, Hong Kong Sevens

HONG KONG, WOBURN, MASSACHUSSETTS, UNITED STATES, October 28, 2022 / -- To celebrate the return of the storied Hong Kong 7s tournament, Hong Kong Rugby Union opened its new digital collectible marketplace today to connect passionate global rugby fans to the long-awaited games. The marketplace is the start of the organization’s aim to give fans more ways to indulge in their fandom and own a piece of the action.

There are four types of digital collectibles for fans of the jewel of the HSBC Sevens series to enjoy.

To get the fun started, the first collectibles feature the league’s flying red dragon mascot, Wai Bei, who “went missing”* during the covid lockdown and found his way into the metaverse. Until November 3, every fan who logs into the new platform will receive a free commemorative NFT featuring Wai Bei. Fans attending the tournament can also participate in a “Where’s Wai Bei?” treasure hunt, searching for 5 QR codes hidden throughout the stadium to unlock more free Wai Bei collectibles. Intrepid fans who find them all will be entered to win a Golden Ticket upgrade to a VIP experience at the tournament.

“These first free collectibles and the “Where’s Wai Bei?” game are designed to playfully engage with our fans in novel ways and introduce them to the exciting and innovative digital experiences we’re planning. Rugby fans are some of the most enthusiastic on the planet -- our tournament is a festival -- and we aim to harness and reciprocate that energy in web3 community channels,” Bryan Rennie, General Manager, Hong Kong Sevens.

Other collectibles dropping include team cards, which will be sold ahead of the tournament start. During the tournament, a game ball and jersey NFTs will be auctioned, and the winners can redeem the NFT for the ball that was used in the tournament and jerseys. In addition, attendees at Hong Kong FinTech Week and Golf Day can also receive unique free commemorative NFTs which makes them eligible to win free tickets to the November games, and a Golden Ticket for exclusive access to VIP areas in the stadium.

The new platform will give fans many opportunities to engage in their favorite sport year-round, in the run-up to the April games. It will feature the greatest moments in HK7’s history, iconic art, imagery, and unique collectibles, giving fans a chance to own a piece of the game’s past, present, and future. It is powered by NuArca Labs, a leading NFT innovator that powers experiences for everyday fans.

“We are excited to partner with Hong Kong Rugby Union to guide fans into the world of digital collectibles, show their team spirit, and make web3 safe, accessible and simple to enjoy. Rugby fans are a tight community worldwide, and now they have a new way to indulge their fandom together,” says Todd Cooper, CEO, NuArca Labs.

NuArca Labs' white-label platform makes it easy to enjoy NFTs through simple transactions. The NFTs can be purchased with a credit card; no digital wallet setup is required. It’s a technology that everyone can understand, based on robust, unique blockchain technology that runs in the background. The company makes it exciting, simple, safe, and fun for fans to own a piece of the action.

In addition to the Hong Kong Rugby League, NuArca Labs is the official NFT partner for Major League Rugby, Rugby League World Cup 2021, Hull FC, and numerous other sports rights holders.

The first digital collectible drop is one of several fan-focused special activities planned around the tournament. Intense rugby encounters, talented teams, and players, living rivalry and competition, national pride as well as international flair and luster come together, alongside fan camaraderie, creating an exceptional festival experience.

“The collectibles will encourage fans old and new to engage more deeply with the tournament, helping to make the league and athletes more recognizable, driving value across the organization,” says HKRU’s Renny. “We are choosing this moment to super-charge our much-revered tournament, through the power of web3 digital and the associated technology. We believe in digital evolution, and delivering access to digital brand engagement to attract a new, wider & more diverse fan base.”

“We believe this new era of web3 will allow us to create not only innovative, exciting & engaging experiences for our audiences, but also more value for those charitable and sustainable organizations and groups HKRU supports through channels such as the HKRU Community Foundation as well as reinvesting proceeds back into the game,” added Rennie.

*News of Wai Bei’s ‘disappearance’ was shared earlier this week on Twitter in a marketing campaign by Digital Moon, a specialist Sports & Lifestyle web3 agency.

About Hong Kong Rugby Union:
The HKRU is the governing body for rugby union in Hong Kong. Founded in 1952 and since 1988 an affiliate of World Rugby (formerly the International Rugby Board), the union organizes the world-renowned Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens as well as its own domestic leagues across all age groups, genders and standards of play.

About Cathay Pacific / HSBC Hong Kong Sevens:
Firmly established as the world’s premier rugby event of its kind and one of the most popular annual sporting events in Asia, the Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens attracts some of the world’s greatest rugby players and thousands of fans from every corner of the globe to the magnificent Hong Kong Stadium. Combining fast and furious rugby action with a carnival atmosphere, it is a truly unforgettable 3 days.
The most anticipated stop on the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series circuit, the #HK7s is often described as a ‘bucket list’, must-attend event for sport lovers and revelers from around the world.

About Nuarca Labs:
The Nuarca Labs platform enables brands, players and artists in sports and entertainment to engage directly and safely with their entire fanbase in the digital economy using blockchain technology and NFTs. Established in 2017, Nuarca Labs is the NFT platform, creation, and management unit of Nuarca and has established itself as a global leader in delivering blockchain and AI-based solutions for the fintech and consumer identity security industries.

Bonnie Rothman
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