The beautiful game. Football, or soccer as the people of the “old world” call it. It’s a sport with many names, a sport that has a support base of around 4 billion people.
The power of football is undeniable. Its best players, the Ronaldos and the Messis, are some of the most famous personalities in the world. Its biggest teams have millions of fans around the world, and broadcasters reach more than half the world’s population. The European football industry alone generated sales of 25 billion euros in 2020, so Deloitte, an indicator of value in the greatest theater for sport.
Football’s popularity is due in large part to its simplicity as a game, and this has inevitably resulted in the major leagues and competitions attracting huge audiences and generating ample income for everyone involved. Whether through team sponsorship or marketing in broadcasts and ad space, the sheer size of its viewership makes football a prime way for brands and companies of all types to reach many consumers.
While the cryptocurrency and blockchain space is still in its infancy, it is an emerging industry that is rapidly redefining finance and remittances, individual wealth sovereignty, and a host of other use cases. A number of different firms and organizations have brought the world of crypto to the football arena in different ways, but they have quickly taken steps to be associated with some of the greatest players, teams and competitions.
So, cryptocurrencies have been introduced to a global soccer audience and blockchain technology has been applied to some of the most popular applications in the industry.
Address a huge audience
Football is the most watched sport in the world and has drawn the minds of billions over the course of its history. This audience is made up of fans of all kinds, from fanatics to casual viewers and impartialists.
The love of the game has created an environment that goes well beyond what is happening on the television screens, from the physical world of merchandise and memorabilia to the digital world of prediction games, fantasy sports and betting. Both areas are prime candidates that can be improved through the various use cases of blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies.
One such company hoping to disrupt the game is Skrill, a global payments company that has had a long relationship with European football. Rupinder Singh, Senior Vice President of Consumer and Digital Wallets Divisions at Skrill, shares the story of the company’s football sponsorship with Magazine dates back to 2013 in the UK Football Conference league, while Neteller, parent company Paysafe’s other digital wallet, also sponsored the Premier League team, Crystal Palace.
Part of the Skrill payment package is a cryptocurrency wallet that allows users to store and manage a range of tokens. The company’s presence in European football has grown significantly since its humble beginnings as a sponsorship of third division football eight years ago.
Who would have bet a few years ago that there would be tokens, digital assets on the front of jerseys? This is an investment we made to make a strong statement about digital assets worldwide. pic.twitter.com/WJ05PY2mIb
– Alexandre Dreyfus (@alex_dreyfus) September 26, 2021
In March 2021, Skrill, as the official partner of UK Premier League team Leeds United, signed its latest big name sponsorship deal in recent years. It had already partnered with Italian Serie A giant AC Milan last year. It has also gained a foothold in the United States as the front-of-jersey sponsor of Los Angeles-based club LA 10 FC, which plays in the growing United Premier Soccer League.
From the outside, one might wonder how cryptocurrency and blockchain firms can work synergistically with the soccer industry. The story has an answer, because marketing via advertising channels in the soccer industry has proven itself for decades with various brands.
Singh believes that “the soccer audience is one of the most digitally savvy audiences in the way they consume content, interact with their clubs or with each other in online communities, and engage in sports betting or fantasy sports.” the jump to cryptocurrencies is a natural extension for such a group of potential customers. Singh also believes that many more companies in the crypto space could benefit from participating in the soccer ecosystem:
“Football will likely always be of interest to crypto companies as long as they continue to see that their customers’ behavior mirrors that of football fans, as well as the obvious reach and impact the sport has in every market around the world.”
Crypto.com is another cryptocurrency company that appears on billboards in arenas and stadiums around the world. A partnership with the Italian Serie A has shown the branding feature of Crypto.com in on-field advertising. As Steven Kalifowitz, Chief Marketing Officer of Crypto.com told Cointelegraph, the decision to start advertising in the football field was made in late 2020 and there has been no delay.
French football giant Paris Saint-Germain F.C. welcomed the company again in 2021 as its “official cryptocurrency platform partner”. Part of the deal would be for PSG to issue exclusive non-fungible tokens and pay a “substantial” portion of the sponsorship fee in its native Crypto.com coin.
Borussia Dortmund, one of Germany’s leading football clubs, has also teamed up with a cryptocurrency company. The growing crypto derivatives exchange Bybit secured a sponsorship deal that revealed End of 2020, which was touted as a contribution to the growth of the Dortmund brand in Asia.
BitMEX cryptocurrency exchange Has His logo was emblazoned on the left sleeve of AC Milan men’s, women’s and esports team jerseys after the company signed a deal to become the Italian club’s official cryptocurrency trading partner.
Bringing digital scarcity to major brands
No other room is as dedicated to the NFT mania as sport. Look no further NBA top shot Ecosystem to see the perfect synergy between blockchain-based NFTs, tokens and sports fans.
Memorabilia, collectibles, valuable signatures, and player and team cards have been popular for decades, and fanatics take great pleasure in showing off their precious, rare possessions. The advent of blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies has facilitated the digital evolution of non-fungibility, where sports stars, teams and brands can create unique digital collectibles that are verifiable. They have proven to be very popular – and this has spread to the football field on a large scale.
In 2018, Nicolas Julia and his co-founder Adrien Montfort launched Sorare, an Ethereum-powered marketplace that facilitates the minting and trading of various NFTs and tokens, and turned their attention to the soccer space. Julia tells the magazine that you can do more with blockchain than just collect cards:
“As two big soccer fans, we decided to create rare digital cards mixed in with one of the most coveted intellectual property in the world, soccer players. Now we had scarce and branded digital collectibles. But since these collectibles are digital, we can give them a use. We have made this new class of collectibles usable in a captivating fantasy game. “
The platform is very popular with football fans in Europe and around the world. It has enabled over $ 170 million in trading volume since January 2021, and Julia expects that to nearly double by the end of the year. It sounds ambitious, but it’s understandable when you look at the caliber of clubs and players connected to the platform.
Barcelona and Spain’s loyal Gerard Piqué is a prime example of a player who has delved into cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology. The footballer founded the media and entertainment company Kosmos, which researches blockchain solutions to harness the commercial potential of teams and brands. According to Julia, he was also crucial to Sorare’s growth: “Gerard Piqué was one of the first to recognize the enormous potential of our new game thanks to NFT. As an investor, he helped us improve gameplay and open doors in the football ecosystem. “
We’re excited to announce an exclusive #NFT partnership with 50 Legends of the Beautiful Game 🔥
50 unforgettable seasons
50 reasons why we love the beautiful game
50 cards worthy of their legend ⚽
The Legend starts with our first #SorareLegendsXI 😍 pic.twitter.com/EV50A7awT2
– Sorare (@SorareHQ) September 23, 2021
While the platform’s aspirations are evident, the current state of Sorare calls for serious groundwork given the novelty of blockchain technology and NFTs. After the foundation was laid with a few first clubs, growth skyrocketed, as Julia explains:
“Since Sorare is a new game that uses a new technology like the ERC-721, we had to educate a lot, explain how it works and why it was interesting to them. But now, with more than 180 partner clubs, we have built trust and credibility with various sports organizations. “
Sorare’s CEO agreed that partnerships with the biggest clubs were critical in reaching more fans and building the platform’s credibility.
Skrills Singh got in on the NFT theme, highlighting the “inevitable” digitization of soccer collectibles given the success of NBA Top Shot. For him, the technology enables fans to check the scarcity of their assets and get involved in a secondary market to trade with other fans around the world: “Fintech startups still have direct interaction with the club for fans through the introduction made easier ‘fan tokens’, which are issued on the blockchain. “
Socios is the other major player in the world of European soccer NFTs, digital trading cards and collectibles. Singh highlights a specific use case of fan tokens from top European clubs such as Barcelona, Juventus and AC Milan, which use the Socios blockchain to issue corresponding fan tokens. With the tokens, fans can vote on club decisions such as jersey changes, access exclusive content and participate in other community activities.
Don’t you like the newly proposed yellow away kit for next season? Vote for the light blue option with your Barcelona tokens. Everything is recorded in a blockchain, creating a transparent, immutable ecosystem for fan participation and input. Want to pick your favorite song to play after Paulo Dybala scores a screamer on a derby day? Upload the app, grab some coins, and get started.
Alexandre Dreyfus, CEO of Socios, commented on his company’s journey in correspondence with the magazine, emphasizing his desire to create an ecosystem that would offer fans around the world unique experiences and influence on their favorite teams while also helping to create a digital To promote the economy: “Around 99% of the fans of the biggest teams in the world have never set foot in the stadium of their favorite teams.”
Ultimately, Dreyfus is concerned with “bringing these fans closer to their teams and at the same time enabling the football clubs to create a new source of income through global fan engagement”. Blockchain technology powers both Sorare and Socios, and Dreyfus underscores the importance and utility of technology that enables the ecosystem to function the way it works:
“Blockchain technology also protects the integrity of the fan voting in the app, as the results are transparent and immutable. The ability to create a limited amount of these assets that fans can own and hold is also important. It gives the fans a sense of ownership for their teams that they have never had before. “
Football drives crypto adoption
Football has started to drive the adoption and use of cryptocurrencies and digital assets through the influence of direct marketing and user exposure to blockchain-based platforms.
Opinions are divided on what drives more value and understanding between the two scenarios. Everyone who shared their views with the magazine provided specific reasons why their partnerships with soccer teams, brands and organizations have proven fruitful.
For Sorares Julia, it depends on combining the technology with an easy-to-use one, whereverrking solution: “The key lies in the specific use of the new technologies. Sorare brings benefits to the football fans without complexity. We eliminate all friction so that people can get involved. “
After an action-packed second half, everything ends square 💥 @ acmilan 🔴 3-3 🐺 @OfficialASRoma
Goals, penalties, controversies, it was all there! 😯
Maybe we should sponsor more games … 👀😄 # MilanWithMarco #MilanRoma pic.twitter.com/q4CQ0zz7xp
– Skrill (@skrill) October 26, 2020
Skrills Singh is committed to the mutual benefits that the soccer industry could share with cryptocurrency exchanges and service providers. Once again, part of the conflicting relationship between the two sectors has been to offer a solution of interest and value to a growing segment of the world’s football viewers:
“As the most popular sport in the world, football will continue to be the first option for new industries trying to gain influence, but there have been many that have not succeeded because they don’t have the right synergy with the sport or the audience.”
Dreyfus at Socios believes the world of blockchain-based NFTs, collectibles, and fantasy games has found a natural home in the football field. He suggests that this symbiotic environment could be more powerful than the advertising and sponsorship used by cryptocurrency exchanges, service providers, and corporations:
“It has always been inevitable that as the blockchain / crypto space grows, companies will seek partnerships with soccer teams to raise awareness. The difference is that we have a product specifically designed for soccer and sports fans in general. We belong in this area much more than stock exchanges or other blockchain-related projects. “
These companies add value to and from the football industry in different ways, but the combined efforts have made the most of the relationships that emerge. Whichever way you look at it, more and more people around the world are facing the cryptocurrency space while watching football.
The runaway moment
While the cryptocurrency ecosystem has harnessed the vast reach of the soccer industry in different ways, there is still a long way to go to integrate the two sectors. Despite the fact that various cryptocurrency platforms are promoting on the biggest stage, the cryptocurrency space is still under construction.
Related: Fan Token: Day Trading With Your Favorite Sports Team – .
Many users are still learning the basics of cryptocurrencies and NFTs, and this will continue to be a barrier to entry until more people are educated about the ins and outs of space. Liquidity in the NFT markets and volatility in the value of various fan tokens are other teething troubles that slowly improve as the space increases.
The cryptocurrency industry’s involvement in soccer will inevitably be responsible for introducing new users to the usefulness of cryptocurrencies and blockchain-based platforms. Over time, synergy between the sectors will address these issues as more and more users enter the room by watching an introduction to football.