RLWC2021 has announced a partnership with NuArca Labs ©RLWC2021

Rugby League World Cup 2021 (RLWC2021) has announced it will launch a non-fungible token (NFT) fan experience and marketplace for the tournament after reaching a commercial partnership with NuArca.

NuArca has become the 13th official partner of the RLWC2021 prior to the rescheduled men’s, women’s and wheelchair rugby league tournaments.

The United States-based company has been billed as a leader in delivering "marketplace defining solutions including blockchain, AI and emerging technologies."

The company will help to establish the tournament’s official NFT marketplace.

NFTs are used to certify that digital assets are unique.

"Becoming the official NFT partner for RLWC2021 is a great opportunity for NuArca to bring Rugby League fans from all over the world together, and we are looking forward to introducing our NFT fan engagement programme to them," NuArca chief executive and co-founder Todd Cooper has said.

"NuArca Labs’ white label NFT fan engagement platform is a unique and low-friction way for brands to bring their full fan base into NFT participation ensuring maximum impact.

"We are bringing NFTs out of the world of crypto and into the mainstream on a global basis."

Fans will be able to participate in quests and earn experiences through the NFT platform, it is claimed. 

Organisers say fans will be able to collect a range of NFT drops with digital collectables celebrating the history, heroes, nations, milestones and achievements of the event.

The collections are designed to herald the inclusivity and diversity of the tournament, which will feature over 600 players from 21 nations, competing over 61 matches.

"NFTs has been a fast-developing sector for the sports industry in 2021 and our announcement with NuArca aligns with our desire to embrace innovation alongside the opportunity to bring RLWC2021 to the widest possible audience," said Jon Dutton, RLWC2021 chief executive.

"We believe the launch of our NFT partnership is a first for the sport of Rugby League," added Jonathan Neill, RLWC2021 commercial director.

"RLWC2021 NFTs will provide fans with an opportunity to show their passion and loyalty for the sport, and alongside collectors, give them the chance to own a piece of Rugby League history."

The RLWC2021 said launch timings and NFT pack price points for the marketplace are still to be confirmed.

The tournaments were scheduled to take place this autumn but were postponed after reigning champions men's and women's champions Australia, as well as New Zealand, pulled out due to COVID-19 restrictions, meaning they would not travel to England.

The event was rescheduled last month, with competitions due to take place from October 15 to November 19.

Competition will now fall between the 2022 Commonwealth Games and the football World Cup in Qatar.

The FIFA World Cup begins two days after RLWC2021 is set to conclude.