Utah Jazz jump into the NFT world with a first-of-its-kind virtual locker room

Have you ever wanted to see what it’s like inside an NBA locker room? Have you ever wanted to talk freely with a Jazz icon and ask them questions?

Those opportunities are now possible thanks to Utah and its groundbreaking Jazz NFT program.

Announced on Thursday, September 2, Utah will be the first professional sports program in the world to pair a digitally designed Non-Fungible Token (NFT) with premiere access into a virtual locker room. It also includes a once-in-a-lifetime experience that will give the owner the opportunity to interact with Jazz legends.

"I am ecstatic to be able to offer such a unique and groundbreaking experience for the Utah Jazz fan base and beyond,” Utah Jazz owner Ryan Smith said. "This NFT program is our opportunity to show the world that technology is thriving in our state, and we intend to be on the forefront of innovation as we move forward."

Before diving into the experience, a lot of people may be wondering what NFTs are.

In Layman’s terms, an NFT is best described as a digital asset used to determine ownership of unique items, such as art, music and videos.

Those who purchase Tier 1 of the NFT will be given the opportunity to virtually tour a direct representation of the Jazz locker room as they will be mailed an Oculus virtual headset. Upon completion of the tour, they will be greeted by Smith, where a 30-minute Q&A will follow.

For those looking for a slightly less expensive option, Tier 2 is available. It has all of the benefits of Tier 1 except that it will not include an Oculus virtual headset.

According to Riley Demps, lead NFT Project Manager for the Utah Jazz, this will not be a one-time only opportunity. The Jazz plan on selling multiple NFTs throughout the year, each ideally with a different Jazz icon represented whether it be a player, coach, owner, part-owner or former player.

“When I was hired in April, Ryan Smith asked me to push the limits of technology to create something special in the NFT and Cryptocurrency space: in all, we have reached that goal with JAZZXR,” Demps said. “We have created an experience to connect with our fans in a fresh and innovative way. We have allowed people who are in and out of the Utah market to feel part of a team in the most intimate and realistic way possible. I am so excited for this opportunity to show people worldwide not just what it means to be a Jazz fan, but to be a part of the Jazz family.”

Helping Smith and Demps push those limits of technology was Krista Kim, a contemporary artist and founder of the Techism movement since 2014. Kim, referred to as the “GOAT of NFTs” by Demps, created the ‘Mars House,’ the first-ever digital home that sold on the NFT platform.

Combining the brains of Demps and Kim with virtual reality artist Michael Potts, Utah is now able to give fans from anywhere in the world a personal and intimate look into the organization. This is a way to continually engage fans in the future moving forward, providing them the opportunity for less physical contact while still possessing the same level of intimacy.

“The metaverse will be an extension of community engagement for all sports teams, brands, and organizations,” Kim said. “It’s exciting to collaborate with metaverse architect Michael Potts and his team to create the new Utah Jazz metaverse locker room, and we are the first to add metaverse community engagement that is unlocked through Jazz genesis NFTs. Community engagement in the metaverse is our new reality and this new generation of NFTs makes it possible.”

The first Jazz NFT collectible will be made available to the public beginning at 10 a.m. MST on Tuesday, Sept. 7 and run through Wednesday, Sept. 15 unless sold out earlier. It can be purchased on the rarible.com marketplace and will be secured through the Ethereum blockchain. Only 30 NFTs will be made available for this opportunity.


The scheduled date for the tour with Ryan Smith is set for Friday, Oct. 8. A portion of the proceeds from the Jazz NFT program will benefit Utah non-profits.
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