Kohli joins a number of other cricketers in entering the collectibles space – Rohit Sharma, Hardik Pandya, Suryakumar Yadav, Ravindra Jadeja, Shikhar Dhawan, Ravichandran Ashwin, Yuzvendra Chahal and Shreyas Iyer are among the others who have partnered with FanCraze.
FanCraze CEO Anshum Bhambri said signing Kohli was a massive step in their effort to build a direct connect between fans and cricketers. “We view marquee athletes as artists who create their art on the field of play. We are very excited to partner with Virat Kohli, one of the biggest stars cricket has ever produced, to build the new paradigm of engagement between cricketers and their fans,” he said.
Bhambri has said one of the driving forces of FanCraze is to create a route for the money fans spend to reach cricketers directly rather than go to boards and rights holders. He also sees player collectibles eventually leading to access for their owners to the players. “You may be able to get on a Zoom call with a player whose collectibles you own, go to a nets session with them, interview them, or have access to signed merchandise.”
There are also several gaming applications for player cards and moments. “We have video games where the gameplay is based on the player cards and player moments you own,” Bhambri said. “So let’s say you have a Virat Kohli moment from the early part of his career, where he was predominantly a leg-side player, that’s going to be less valuable than a 2018 Kohli moment, where he was playing his cover drive and was a 360-degree player.”
FanCraze is ESPNcricinfo’s digital collectibles partner