Why it matters: Soccer has some of the most dedicated fans on the planet, many of which will go to any length to show their support. Twenty-four soccer teams across several European leagues are working with Socios, a crypto-based fan engagement and rewards company, to sell team-specific tokens and NFTs to fans around the world. The tokens and NFTs have since raked in hundreds of millions in sales, providing fans with exclusive artwork, loyalty perks, and voting participation.
How much are exclusive pieces of digital artwork and team-branded digital tokens worth to soccer fans? The answer, according to a recent BBC news report, is more than $300 million.
The club-specific cryptocurrency tokens, available through Socios, are currently offered for 24 different teams across the Premier League and other European leagues. The tokens allow fans to claim various perks specified by the participating teams, which can play a direct role in their determined value. This fluctuation has led to the tokens often being exchanged for profit like many other popular cryptocurrencies.
According to Socios Chief Strategy Officer Max Robinovich, the tokens were designed to be held and used for fan rewards rather than trading for profit. These perks include anything from the ability to vote on music pumped through the stadium to 5-percent discounts on items in digital team shops to free ticket giveaways. Some teams have also branched out into non fungible tokens (NFTs), unique digital images on the blockchain that fans can own.
Some skeptics have raised concerns about the safety and use of these tokens, citing everything from lack of buyer protections and regulation to what some have deemed insignificant rewards. The fact that each club holds the majority of its issued tokens has also become a point of contention. Despite these concerns, Socios claims to have sold more than $300 million dollars’ worth of tokens through its app, which provides users with the ability to buy or win them as prizes through the app’s virtual game, Token Hunt.
While many teams have latched onto what some see as a money grab, not everyone is taking the opportunity to cash in on the virtual assets. A spokesperson from Brighton and Hove Albion clearly stated that their organization has not, and has no intention to, enter the token market.
Image credit: Soccer ball by jarmoluk, Socios United by Socios.com