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Crypto fever reaches football: this is how the ‘fan tokens’ that more and more clubs are adopting work

The recent regulation on the advertising of gambling games has caused several changes, such as that football clubs, already used to sporting bookmakers’ sponsorships, have had to look for alternative sectors to make their shirt profitable. Valencia chose Socios.com, whose name should not be confusing: it is an international, not Spanish, platform for the sale of fan tokens, a kind of digital tokens based on Blockchain that allow their owners to have a certain power of decision over their club. Like the chips in a casino or a fair, which serve as a financial asset but only within a specific environment. Each club has its fan token based on the Chiliz cryptocurrency.

If the clubs have historically had shareholders whose number of shares could allow them (depending on whether they are corporations or limited companies) to vote on certain decisions or for candidates for the presidency, the fan tokens They follow a very similar structure, but on a small scale, using the blockchain and with decisions on a lower plane.

For instance, a user who owns fan tokens of a club (they are purchased through the app of the chosen platform) can vote in surveys on the content that the club will publish on social networks, the mural that will decorate the changing rooms or other minor issues, as well as participate in raffles much smaller than if they were open to the public to meet the players or attend guided tours of the stadium only for owners of tokens.

A practical example can be seen in Barça, one of the pioneers in adopting fan tokens with the previous board of directors and being its top manager Dídac Lee, whom we interviewed in Engadget, as manager of the digital area until the end of 2020. Atlético de Madrid, also with its fan token, conducted a poll for its users to vote for the club’s mask design that would be put on sale in official stores.

Fcb Survey
Fcb Survey

A recent poll for Barça fan token owners: which player should be the next to appear on the club’s Instagram stories.

In Spanish football, FC Barcelona, ​​Levante UD, Atlético de Madrid and Valencia CF are the clubs whose sponsor is the Socios.com platform and have their own fan token, being the Mestalla the only one that exhibits it as the main sponsor on its shirt. Outside of Spain, clubs such as Juventus, PSG, Roma, Manchester City, Inter Milan or the Portuguese national team also have this type of sponsorship.

On the left, Alexandre Dreyfus, CEO of Chiliz and Socios.com.  On the right, Anil Murthy, president of Valencia.  Both displaying the 'che' club shirt with the new sponsorship for the 2021/2022 season.
On the left, Alexandre Dreyfus, CEO of Chiliz and Socios.com.  On the right, Anil Murthy, president of Valencia.  Both displaying the 'che' club shirt with the new sponsorship for the 2021/2022 season.

On the left, Alexandre Dreyfus, CEO of Chiliz and Socios.com. On the right, Anil Murthy, president of Valencia. Both displaying the ‘che’ club shirt with the new sponsorship for the 2021/2022 season. Image: Valencia CF

Cabinet
Cabinet

Skriniar, Inter Milan player, in one of the promotional images of this season’s jersey. On the chest, the sponsorship of Socios.com with its ‘fan token’. Image: Inter Milan.

There are platforms that have bet on the union of Blockchain and soccer beyond team sponsorships, fan tokens through. For example, Shirtum, which in addition to launching the token from Galatasaray, is also geared towards the players themselves selling collector’s items in the form of NFTs. Rakitic, the ‘Papu’ Gómez, Ocampos or De Paul are some of the first who have joined it.

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I came for the t-shirt draw and I stayed for the speculation

The fan tokens, in addition to a limited issue (no new issues may be issued tokens indefinitely), they have an economic value, a price at which to buy them … or sell them. And that price fluctuates based on supply and demand, like a stock, so they can also be purchased with the intention of doing business with themRegardless of whether you are a fan of the club or have never been interested in it.

Apart from the profits towards the club, the fan tokens can also function as investment products, since their value fluctuates

Like someone who buys a cryptocurrency, a stock or any other type of asset, You may make or lose money from when you buy it to when you sell it.. Let’s see a couple of practical examples.

On the one hand, Barça, who had a good career during the first of 2021. The value of his fan token it grew accordingly, going from 7 dollars in January to over 50 in March. A more than considerable increase that could also be boosted by the tour of the asset itself as a novelty.

In any case, in March he was eliminated from the Champions League by PSG, and the value began to fall. It had a rebound when winning the Copa del Rey against Athletic, but the poor performance in the final of the league, when it lost the options to win it due to its own results, ended up making the value fall to ten dollars. A roller coaster.

Fcb Token
Fcb Token

CoinMarketCap chart.

Let’s go with the other example: Paris Saint Germain. Premiered on fan token with the season over, so the ups and downs of its value have more to do with the transfer market than with any trophy. As anyone can imagine, this market has a name of its own: Leo messi. The value skyrocketed from the same moment in which the Catalan team announced that its franchise player, with the contract finalized and making financial juggling to be able to renew it, would not finally continue to be linked to the club.

Football and petrodollar intuition suggested that only PSG could face the signing of the Argentine, so the token he started climbing from 22 to over 50 dollars. Once the signing was made official, the maximum of almost sixty dollars was touched by token.

Psg Token
Psg Token

CoinMarketCap chart.

Speculation on the sidelines, beyond offering a way to interact with the club, having the power to vote in some of its decisions (even if it is choosing the motivating phrase that will illustrate the local dressing room) and feeling a slightly more tangible connection with the team, This phenomenon is framed in a very specific context of football: the need to seek alternative forms of income and strengthen (and monetize) ties with followers around the world, even if they live thousands of kilometers away and cannot buy tickets to watch the games. Before they did stages preseason in Asia or America, now they sell tokens.

Atletico Madrid
Atletico Madrid

Vitolo, Koke and Adán, Atlético de Madrid players, holding shirts to announce the sponsorship of Socios.com and the Chiliz cryptocurrency at the start of the 2019/2020 season.

This was an upward trend for a few years (the Super League began to take shape in 2018) motivated, among other causes, by the appearance of club-states such as PSG itself or investments via petrodollars unattainable for the rest, such as Manchester City. The pandemic, which has emptied stadiums and deflated football, has only accelerated this process.

Whether it be for recruitment marketing or strategic conviction, we can expect more movements around the intersection of Blockchain and football in the near future. Messi, for example, will collect a part of his salary in tokens.