If you happen to be watching the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs take on the Manly Sea Eagles in round 25 of the NRL, you might notice something a bit different about the Dogs’ kit. And that’s because it’ll be a custom, Illuvium-themed jersey.
Been investing/dabbling in crypto for a while? Then you may already know what Illuvium is. But we’ll tell you anyway.
Founded by three Sydney brothers in 2020, the Ethereum-blockchain-based crypto project (ticker: ILV) is an open-world, collectible NFT RPG/auto battler mash-up. And it’s one of the hottest tickets in the industry’s still-buzzy, still-building, NFT-gaming space – also known as GameFi.
The last time we wrote about the game and its ecosystem in some depth, it was making headlines during the beginnings of the Terra LUNA mayhem and crypto-crash/contagion drama.
In the middle of that market negativity, Illuvium was still able to pull off one of the most successful NFT sales yet, selling 20,000 digital land plots valued at a total of US$72 million. It was a gas-war-free, three-day event with the help of fellow Aussie-founded crypto project Immutable X.
But back to this Bulldogs jersey and partnership…
What do Illuvium, Star Wars and Avatar have in common? The Bulldogs
The custom Illuvium/Bulldogs jersey will feature imagery of Illuvium armour and the game’s trademark obelisks on the shoulder pads.
A free, non-NRL-sponsored NFT will also be issued on the game day to celebrate the jersey as part of a bundle package that will additionally include the physical jersey (of which 19 will be signed by Bulldogs players, randomly issued) and a Bulldogs membership.
Following the deal’s announcement, Illuvium co-founder Kieran Warwick said: “Being able to mark the first-ever Illuvium merchandise sale with a partnership involving an established 87-year-old sporting brand like the Bulldogs is very special. This partnership is the next step in establishing Illuvium as the industry leader in the blockchain gaming space.”
And Aaron Warburton, CEO of the Bulldogs, also had something to say about it all…
“When our partnership commenced in early 2022, we knew we had the opportunity to add immense value to Bulldogs and Illuvium fans alike. Launching this jersey with a Bulldogs membership is fantastic and will undoubtedly grow our supporter base across the USA, Europe and Asia.
“The Bulldogs have a strong history of producing unique, fan-driven special jerseys, with our Star Wars and Avatar jerseys generating global exposure in the past. This jersey will expose millions of fans worldwide to the Bulldogs and the NRL.”
For fans keen on grabbing a pretty damn unique piece of NRL and NFT history, the jersey is currently available via presale and is scheduled to run until August 14. Some of the jerseys will also apparently be available to buy via the Bulldogs official website, however that stock is expected to be pretty limited.
To find out a little more, Stockhead caught up with Kieran Warwick via a Telegram chat…
It’s all about ‘exposure and legitimacy’
How’s it going, Kieran? Considering Illuvium’s signature purple colour scheme, I would’ve thought the obvious choice for an NRL promotional deal would be the Melbourne Storm. But I’m guessing you’re a diehard Bulldogs fan and are having none of that?
We’d probably sponsor an AFL team before it came to that! And yeah, I’ve supported the Dogs since I was six.
Your fellow co-founding brothers support different NRL teams, right? What do they think of this deal?
Yeah, Aaron goes for the Raiders and Grant the Knights. To be honest, they don’t follow it much any more. I think Aaron would instead sponsor a soccer team, and Grant a Rocket League team. 😂
You’re obviously a bit of a sports head, having played pro tennis yourself and also initiating an Illuvium sleeve sponsorship for British tennis star Cam Norrie. Is this sporting foray all about gaining mainstream exposure for the game?
Exposure and legitimacy. The last two brands that did promotions with the Bulldogs were Star Wars and Avatar, so being grouped with those two is definitely a positive. And as for the sports sponsorships – it’s just a good fit. There’s a ton of crossover between sports and gaming due to the similarities in demographic.
Did Cam Norrie making the Wimbledon semis gain some decent attention for Illuvium?
Yep, we got some good exposure from it. We’re trying to work out something similar for The Australian Open next year, actually.
And what about the Bulldogs players themselves? Are any of them crypto heads? Do they know what Illuvium is?
Yeah, a few of them hold crypto, including Illuvium. A former player reached out to me when we first launched, and when he found out I was a Dogs supporter, he put me in touch with the broader team.
When you buy one of the jerseys, do you get the full bundle? Is that how it works?
So we’re only selling the bundle on our site, which includes the physical jersey, NFT and membership till the end of 2023. The bundle is AUD $199, but you can also pay in ETH – the first time, you can buy an NRL jersey with crypto!
Last question… is the claimable NFT a dog-themed Illuvitar by any chance?
Nah, it’s Monkier. It’s one of our three monkey characters, but it’s wearing the Bulldogs jersey.
The Bulldogs will don the custom Illuvium jersey when they take on the Sea Eagles at Stadium Australia in round 25 of the National Rugby League, on September 2.
None of the content and views expressed in this article and interview should be taken as financial advice.
At the time of writing the author holds several cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin, Ethereum, Illuvium and, frankly, a pretty weird collection of NFTs.