Premier League soccer club Arsenal F.C. has partnered with sports blockchain provider Chiliz to launch the club’s fan tokens on Chiliz’s Socios.com app. Arsenal joins a growing list of sports entities on the platform, including Barcelona, Juventus, Paris Saint Germain and AC Milan.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, sports clubs had to look for other revenue streams to compensate for the lack of ticketing on game days. Sorare, a fantasy football game, is often the go-to example in the sports blockchain space of a platform that thrived during the pandemic by offering an innovative and lucrative way for football clubs to entertain and engage with fans. But Chiliz’ Socios.com does not fall far behind.
According to Socios.com management team, the app has had almost 1.2 million downloads since its launch in 2019. Of those, almost 70% took place in 2021.
The platform enables fans to purchase club fan tokens, an area of the blockchain industry that generated over $200 million in revenue in the first half of 2021 alone. Fan tokens can be exchanged for rewards such as merchandise, the ability to participate in polls, access exclusive content, and play interactive games. They can also lead to experiences like meeting players or attending home games.
Besides generating revenue, fan tokens also enable clubs to collect data about their fans, which is a key aspect to conduct an appropriate and efficient marketing strategy. Tokens give an outlet for clubs to reward loyal fans and those who invest more in the club through in-app purchases. It is an innovative way to commercialize engagement.
As a company, Chiliz has allocated $50 million to expand into U.S top sports leagues. It has also become an official sponsor of La Liga’s football club Valencia CF, which will showcase a token logo in the front of the players’ jerseys this coming season. It’s also sponsoring Argentina’s top football league, which will officially be called Torneo Socios.com for the 2021/2022 season.
Meanwhile, Arsenal is not new to the blockchain space. The club has partnerships for three mainstream applications of blockchain in sports: Sorare for fantasy football, Fantastec for digital collectibles, and now Chiliz for fan tokens. In 2018 Arsenal also signed a sponsorship deal with cryptocurrency application CashBet. The deal with CashBet was the first time a major global club partnered with a cryptocurrency firm.
“We are committed to finding new and innovative ways for all our supporters – whether local or international – to get closer to the club,” said Arsenal’s commercial director Peter Silverstone.
Outside of football, Socios.com also has a partnership with UFC. In the U.S, Socios.com signed a partnership with NHL team New Jersey Devils and last year inked a deal with Lagardère Sports to expand its team network.