In 2021, Spanish striker David Barral, became the first ever professional footballer to have his transfer fee paid in cryptocurrency, in Bitcoin. Whilst this may have been the first transfer fee to ever do this, commercial relationships between the football clubs and various cryptocurrencies are becoming increasingly common.
In 2018, multiple English Premier League sides including Tottenham Hotspur and more partnered with the trading platform eToro. According to UEFA, the cryptocurrency sector has partly helped clubs to fill lost revenue streams – estimated at around € 9 billion – that have been caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
As football and crypto-currencies both grow and reach more people in all corners of the world, corporations around the world have projected at least a 20x increase in the global market-cap by 2027. Similar crazy values have been placed on footballers, with the most recent confirmation by Paris Saint-Germain forward, on their re-signing of Kylian Mbappe. The French star’s new contract makes him football’s highest earner now earning just under € 1million / week in wages, as well as him receiving with an enormous signing-on fee said to be worth € 100million. One can only be glad they do not have to make these payments personally.
Platforms such as Socios have taken over the “fan token” ecosystem, with a number of clubs such as Man City, Barcelona and more releasing their own fan token. Fans and enthusiasts globally have traded these like any asset, with real-world perks attached such as discounts in club shops – taking the fan experience up a notch. Clubs like Juventus have also allowed token holders to choose a song when a goal is scored!
Questions remain if fan-tokens, trading assets and million dollar sponsorships is as far as the Web3 market goes? Projects like So-Rare, RealFevr and Metasoccer are helping change that – giving fans and users utility through the ever trending NFTs, play to earn games and metaverse. With their latest player onboarding, Metasoccer announced Ronaldinho, a true legend of the game to become their exclusive and licensed player within their football manager game on the metaverse. Initiatives like these have given users the opportunity to not just buy and trade, but actually meet, win signed merchandise, own exclusive player assets and earn by playing in the games.
Through the use of Web3.0, and partnering with projects such as Metasoccer, there is the possibility to allow football fans for direct ownership of players in the game, through non-fungible tokens (NFTs). No one, not even the game’s creators, have the power to take away this ownership of the NFTs. And, if the fan decides to stop playing the game, they have the option to simply sell or trade their in-game NFT’s on open markets and recoup their value.
MetaSoccer ($ MSU) have partnered with Aston Villa and Argentina National Team goalkeeper Emiliano Martínez, Arsenal FC midfielder Thomas Partey, and of course Ballon D’Or, World Cup and the Champions League winner, Ronaldinho – A true legend of the game. Players of the game actually get the chance to use these NFTs within the game and win rewards by simply playing. These players become more than just an NFT, but part of the actual game. You as a player now have the ability to manage these superstars. This is exactly how a club can move beyond simply having a token, but rather create an immersive experience for their fans and players, not only generating additional income for players and club, but giving back to the fans and bringing them closer than ever before.
Looking at the opportunities that Web3.0 and Metaverse are able to provide, it is clear that multiple stakeholders are set to benefit. From the clubs to the players, avid investors to those who are simply football fans. They have the opportunity to not only get closer to the players and clubs they love, but have the opportunity to capitalize on a multi-billion dollar industry, as well as one that is ready to do a nearly 20X.
The wise words of Jock Stein ring ever more true… Football Without Fans is nothing. The question is will your club take the leap and embrace web 3.0 or will they simply get left behind?