Australia’s National Rugby League is looking to blockchain technology to tackle the prevalence of counterfeit goods on various online merchandise platforms.
Rugby League is considered to be one of the biggest sports in Australia, alongside the country’s top five favourites which include cricket, Australian Rules Footall (AFL), soccer and tennis. Given that it commands a major share of audiences in the broadcasting space, there’s a lot at stake financially.
Blockchain provides legitimacy to merchandise
The National Rugby League announced this week that it would be using a new digital application to help fans find legitimate merchandise of their favourite teams.
The NRL is working with the Australian government to tackle counterfeit goods through a pilot programme called the ‘Trust Badge’.
This will be used on two of its official merchandise stores online in collaboration with IP Australia’s Smart Trade Mark initiative. The team behind IP Australia has won a number of awards in the country for helping trade mark owners combat counterfeit goods in international marketplaces.
The Smart Trade Mark is essentially a digital fingerprint that helps brand owners ensure that their products are reaching the intended markets, while giving international consumers some piece of mind when buying products online that have originated from Australia.
Karen Andrews, Australia’s Minister for Industry, Science and Technology believes that the initiative is going to stamp out the prevalence of counterfeit Australian goods. She outlined the staggering value lost to counterfeit goods in the global economy, amounting to over $4 tln by 2022.
“This initiative has enormous potential to help Australian businesses protect their brands online and give consumers confidence that they are purchasing the real deal. Australian products are in demand around the world thanks to our reputation for quality and the Morrison Government will do everything we can to help our businesses protect themselves.”
The Australian government believes that the mobile app could be used across a number of industries that export to global markets.
The Smart Trade Mark is a digital stamp that is cryptographically registered which enables consumers to track and trace service providers in Australia.
The ‘digital fingerprints’ recorded by blockchain-powered systems gives an added measure of traceability and transparency from manufacturers, couriers to the consumer. Both trademark owners and local authorities will have far greater visibility of their products as they move down any given supply chain network.
A win for NRL, a win for sport and blockchain
NRL fans around the world that are looking to buy jerseys and other collectibles from their favourite Australian Rugby League teams will now know that they’re buying the genuine article thanks to this new initiative.
Shaun McMartin, the NRL General Manager for Consumer Business, hopes that the pilot project can make a meaningful difference in addressing the scourge of counterfeit goods.
This latest initiative coming out of Australia is just another way that the global sport industry is getting involved in blockchain technology. Just last week, Dapper Labs received the backing of a number of big name NBA basketball stars in its latest funding round.