NEAR has been lauded as ‘one of the best technologies’ in the blockchain space by CEO Marieke Flament following the launch of the multi-year partnership between SailGP and the carbon-neutral, community-driven blockchain development platform.

Announced on Thursday morning, the groundbreaking partnership includes NFTs and global community activation at SailGP events, as well as the sale of a new team to a DAO launched on the NEAR Protocol – a first-of-its-kind community engagement and activation platform in professional sports.

In addition to the DAO, this new partnership will enable NEAR to leverage SailGP events worldwide and educate its rapidly growing community of developers, technologists and platform companies on the capabilities of NEAR, and also educate millions of fans on-site and across SailGP platforms globally on the potential of web3.

Speaking at a partnership launch event in San Francisco ahead of this weekend’s Mubadala United States Sail Grand Prix, Marieke, CEO of the NEAR Foundation - the non-for profit entity that oversees development on the NEAR blockchain - said: “If there is one thing to remember, it is that the future is NEAR.

“In the world of blockchain we are probably one of the best technologies, and we are extremely thrilled to be partnering with SailGP.”

The DAO team is a first-of-its-kind activation in professional sports, and proves SailGP’s commitment to staying at the cutting-edge of the industry.

“We don’t do things differently just for the sake of doing things differently,” said Sir Russell Coutts, SailGP co-founder and CEO. “When I look at this I am really excited because it is going to allow engagement on a whole new level with the fans. The fans will be driving us, rather than us thinking we know what the fans want. That is fantastic.

“I’m convinced the fans will come up with ideas that we haven't thought of - and they will probably be better!”

The DAO team is scheduled to join the SailGP starting line-up as early as Season 4 in 2023, with the DAO community members determining athlete selection, team management, commercialization options, operations and team strategy.

“What is really exciting is what we can do with blockchain and NEAR is extremely powerful,” continued Marieke.

“Imagine a group of people who don’t know each other, but who can trust each other because they are linked by technology. That group comes together around something they have a shared passion for. The beauty of a DAO is enabling people who don’t know each other but trust each other to be behind one shared common passion.

“In the sports industry, nothing has been done yet, but I think fans want to be involved. They want participation in a team, and to be part of the decision-making: ‘Can I choose the team members? Could I train the team? Could I enter different commercial partnerships?

“That has never been done in the sports industry, because very few times has there been the opportunity where a new league is emerging, and this has enabled that.

“It is reshaping the way people will work in the future, and there is no reason it cannot also reshape how the sports industry works.”