Manchester City has signed South Korea’s Superbloke, a sports games developer, to become the Club’s official blockchain-based gacha gaming partner in Korea, Japan and South-East Asia. Gacha games involve virtual currency.
The English Premier League champions will now be featured in Superbloke’s online game FC Superstar. This enables fans to own player tokens and to create digital football teams.
“Superbloke has a vision to use blockchain technology to help football fans so that they can permanently own players’ tokens they have collected,” said Superbloke chief strategy officer Nak-Hyoung Kim.
FC Superstars allows fans to collect, train and grow their player cards using real-life match stats and in-game training.
“This new partnership with Superbloke marks another exciting milestone in City’s growing relationship with gaming and will create unique experiences for fans to engage with the Club through digital platforms,” said Damian Willoughby, SVP of partnerships for City Football Group.
Most sports associations earn their income from broadcast rights and merchandise sales, among other things. What fans want is memorabilia to show off, but the authenticity of such objects is difficult to prove. Blockchain paves the way for the digital ownership of player cards to attract the young fans and collectors.
Blockchain technology provides individual pieces of memorabilia with their own identities, tracking each one throughout its existence, and confirming its authenticity for all interested parties.
Using blockchain games, sports clubs can also incentivize the level of engagement and fans can have their favorite players in their digital teams. What is different here compared to a game like Fantasy Football, is that fans own the player cards and can develop them as they want. It is possible that someone may field a David Luiz instead of a Lionel Messi or a Sergio Aguero.
Meanwhile, Man City is just in time to watch blockchain disrupt the sporting business. There are two other organizations targeting collectibles and sports fan engagement that have signed up multiple partnerships with European soccer teams. Fantastec’s SWAP has signed Real Madrid, Arsenal and Borussia Dortmund. Sports marketing veterans founded the company. And Socios.com has deals with four soccer teams Juventus, Paris Saint Germain, West Ham and AS Roma.