Several years ago, before the onset of the epic bull run of 2017 and the onset of the crypto winter in the following year, the so-called tokenization was a real phenomenon. It showcased the instances of many different organizations exploring the possibility and potential of their brands or some other aspect going crypto. This meant that some aspect of their operation would be moved to blockchain or another brand new element invented and then tokenized.
The potential for such a process was self-evident. After all, the world of the 20th century loved royalty programs and similar mechanisms of rewarding loyal participants of some process, no matter if they are customers or club members. But, with the crash of 2018, the interest in the same potential waned drastically, but apparently, never completely went away, especially in the domain of sports. Now, it might be the time for many sports organizations to examine the potential that blockchain and the distribution of crypto tokens might provide them and their supporters.
Case of Atlético de Madrid
Unofficially, the third biggest team in the Spanish football league, Atlético de Madrid, is a big voice in the sports world. Now, the same team made a partnership with Chiliz. This is a sports blockchain and the purpose of the partnership is to create a team’s Fan Tokens. This platform allows the team to provide special access to information, merchandise and overall experience that Atlético de Madrid provides.
With the team finishing on the 4th place of the UEFA’s Club Coefficient rankings for 2019, there will be plenty of interests from likely millions of global fans. It has also joined other famous names from the world of football, including West Ham United and Juventus. With the addition of the Spanish team, it is clear that there is a trend here and that other teams, especially from the big football leagues of Europe will likely soon join in or at least examine their possibilities.
In the case of Atlético de Madrid, their token will be priced at €2 and sold exclusively on Socios.com. The sale will begin in Autumn of 2019 and with the start of 19/20 season. But, there is also a big element of gamification of the token as well. The fans will be able to hunt tokens for free using the app’s augmented reality and geo-location feature.
This means that the game will roughly resemble titles like Pokemon Go. The token holders will also have exclusive rights on the same platform that will cover things like access to unique experiences, polls, draws, and promotions. Furthermore, the fans will have the option of using tokens to get different merchandising and even exchange the tokens between each other through the same app.
The Fan Token app will also come with a specialized digital wallet. All this means that the tokens will be inside of a unique but not closed ecosystem. It is almost certain that the fans will not be able to exchange tokens back into fiat money, but they will be able to indirectly sell them to other users once they transfer them.
As already stated, Atlético de Madrid is the latest team in a string of similar decision by an equally big and important sports team. Under pressure from esports and the changing viewership trends of the social media generations, traditional sports clubs have to change and evolve as well. Paris Saint-Germain, the top team from the French league issued its crypto tokens using Socios last year.
There is also a strong outreach from the crypto platforms to the sports team. Socios plans to add many more clubs to its sports rooster. The platforms CEO and founder Alexandre Dreyfus stated that the company has ambitions to create the biggest football community in the world. It would also offer its services as a marketplace for all football fans and with this, show to the wider audience that cryptocurrency and blockchain that runs it are a trusted tech for the mainstream.
There is another side to the Socios.com story – the platform is completely avoiding any established cryptocurrencies in its business dealings. This means that for example, the upcoming Atlético de Madrid tokens will be accessible only through fiat payments and not, for example, payments in bitcoin.
Instead of a hybrid crypto-fiat trading platform, the same company sets itself as a provider of fan setup that uses fan coins. The same fans can also earn tokens through taking part in polls and doing other activities related to their team of choice and amass their fan tokens. But, any other crypto element is out of the question, including the use of mining. Instead, the platform is the one and only gatekeeper.
Betting and Gambling Aspect
While the Socios tokens are clear of many aspects of existing cryptocurrencies, there is another interesting element to the same fan coins – gambling and betting. Because the tokens represent some type of value, both financial and symbolic (to the football fans of a particular club) they could be used as stakes for online betting.
The most logical alternative here is the use of coins to make sports bets, but there are also many other possibilities as well. In that sense, the tokens would serve a similar purpose like the skins in shooter games, for example. With that possibility, in a roundabout way, the clubs themselves would be able to get a foothold in the gambling industry not through sponsorships, but a direct influence on the tokens that people use for betting purposes.
Of course, there would be a nightmare of regulatory issues and most if not all teams would pass up on this opportunity. Yet, there is little doubt that token users will find ways to employ them in a gambling context. Even with that element, however, it is clear that fan tokens are here to stay. The number of teams that will employ them will grow in the months to come and so will the whole ecosystem of sports fans owning these crypto tokens.