Global design firm Populous has delved into the NFT space by creating what is claimed to be a first of its kind venture with esports organisation Kansas City Pioneers.

Populous, with its Americas headquarters in Kansas City, first formed a partnership with the Pioneers over a year ago, with a shared commitment to strengthening and sustaining the esports industry, in their home communities and throughout the world.

Under the new initiative, dubbed The Arena, a five-part NFT collection has been launched with world-class digital art that aims to allow the viewer to join a fan community on a journey through a prototypical future esports experience.

The Arena is the first NFT collection created through an esports team and design firm partnership. The collection is designed by Populous and follows a character along the path to a Pioneers-influenced virtual esports arena. This journey provides fans access into a theoretical futuristic ‘road to the venue,’ the arena competition seating bowl and a behind-the-scenes Pioneers elite team training area.

“Throughout our history at Populous, the mission behind the places we design has always been to bring people together for unforgettable experiences,” said Brian Mirakian, Populous senior principal and esports director for the Americas.

“The Arena NFT collection moves beyond the boundaries of physical space and experiments with the possibilities of how new digital mediums unlock access to powerful shared social experiences capable of building communities in a virtual world.

“The Arena is just a glimpse into the future innovation to come, and ultimately, another valuable fan platform to connect people to their favourite teams.”

The Arena’s first three tokens were released on Wednesday, with the remaining two to follow in the coming weeks. “We couldn’t be more excited to launch our first-ever NFT collection, The Arena,” said Mark Josey, CEO and co-founder of the Kansas City Pioneers.

“Partnering with Populous, a global design firm which connects people to places in powerful, transformative ways, was instrumental in helping bring that exact vision in esport and gaming to life.

“As leaders of the next generation of consumers, we know that we must meet our fans and communities where they are today and in the future. This incredible collection will do just that in providing access to authentic, personalised experiences, and build connections to a community here and beyond.”

Earlier this month, Manchester United appointed Legends International and Populous to lead a team that will be tasked with creating a masterplan for the redevelopment of Old Trafford.

The Premier League football club said that work will begin “immediately” on developing options for the stadium and studying their feasibility, with the aim of significantly enhancing the fan experience at the 74,000-capacity venue.

Images: Populous