Fan tokens could well be on their way to the US in 2022. The non-fungible tokens (NFTs) have mainly been adopted so far by soccer fans in Europe, with fans from clubs in La Liga in Spain, the Premier League in the UK, France and Italy all seeing vast sales of the unique blockchain-based assets. But now, the NFT is growing to new levels over into America.
This growth is best demonstrated by the sheer depth of choice when it comes to the digital offerings available for supporters to purchase on the other side of the Atlantic. From video clips of players in action, to digital representations of collectible player cards, these have been among the most common choices and they’re proving to be very popular indeed. The increasing interest has since led to research from Deloitte estimating that the sales will generate over $2 billion in 2022.
However, the options are looking likely to expand further should the most popular of sports NFTs in Europe and South America get the greenlight to be distributed in the US too. These NFTs, namely fan tokens, are not only being utilized to raise money for the clubs, but they’re also being used as a tool to increase interaction and engagement with supporters. Socios fan tokens are club branded NFTs, which not only allows the purchaser the opportunity to show off their support, but provides access to loyalty programs directly connected to the club. These range from reduced ticket prices, VIP experiences, dependent on what each organisation wants to give their fans as a reward for their purchase.
In Brazil, Palmeiras have become the fifth and arguably most prominent football team to introduce the tokens to their fans. The club, from São Paolo, is the most successful on the continent when it comes to domestic success It proudly boasts a worldwide fanbase of over 16 million supporters and is delighted to offer their fans the NFT. “This is a potentially wide and powerful partnership, which is able to promote an active behaviour and help us to increase our fan engagement in Brazil and around the world,” said Maurício Galiotte, who is the club president.
Heading up into North America, Socios have already signed agreements with teams across many of the biggest leagues in the country. 24 NBA clubs including the Milwaukee Bucks who are the reigning champions, Tampa Bay Lightning, who are the Stanley Cup holders in the NHL, and the New England Patriots in NFL, are also partnering with the company too.
But these are only deals that will see in-stadium branding for the company being prominent across the board. Fan engagement opportunities are being accessed via smartphone apps and club websites with prediction games available with prizes for correct answers. The fan token has yet to be offered; this is likely due to the current regulations not allowing franchisees to partner with companies linked to cryptocurrencies. However, it is notable that authorities have permitted Socios to step onto the field, figuratively speaking.
It could be said that this has been allowed due to them not dealing in currency directly; that is the responsibility of their parent company, Chiliz. However, with the pair intrinsically linked, it is arguable that it’s only a matter of time before the NFT does come to sports fans in North America, too, opening up a whole new world of opportunity for sports fans and investors alike.