New York NBA team Brooklyn Nets has partnered with blockchain-based fan engagement platform Socios.com. The Nets became the third team to join Socios’ network in three days, following deals with top Brazilian football club São Paulo, and Argentinian soccer team Racing Club.
Socios.com is a major competitor in the market for fan tokens. The group has launched tokens with leading European clubs, including Barcelona, Manchester City, and Paris-Saint Germain (PSG). It even managed to get the latter to pay part of Messi’s compensation package in fan tokens, which made Socios newsworthy beyond the blockchain community.
However, with the Brooklyn Nets, it does not seem that a fan token offering is in the works. The same applies to the majority of deals that Socios has announced with American-based teams, especially amongst teams in the NBA and NHL.
The reason might be that fan tokens, unlike non-fungible tokens (NFTs), are pure cryptocurrencies. And the SEC considers most cryptocurrencies as securities. As Socios is looking to expand in the American market, it needs to be careful with regulatory compliance. In contrast, in most of Europe, cryptocurrencies are relatively unregulated beyond anti-money laundering compliance. At least for now, clubs might be apprehensive about launching these digital assets in the United States.
In the meantime, Socios is looking to get recognized and establish its brand before launching some kind of official fan engagement product with American clubs.
The partnership with the Brooklyn Nets is closer to a sponsorship deal. Socios will have a presence on the club’s social media networks, which will expose the brand to a wider audience of sports fans. It will receive digital signage at all Nets home games and manage a fan-focused experience hub titled SociosSuite at the Nets’ stadium Barclays Center.
While it has not yet been announced, there might be plans between Socios and the Nets to launch more fan-engagement-focused products through blockchain.
“The Nets organization strives to align with innovative, disruptive brands and we found that in Socios.com,” said Michael Wandell, Chief Commercial Officer at BSE Global. “We are looking forward to joining forces this year to develop new and unique ways to engage with our fans worldwide.”
Meanwhile, Socios, which is headquartered in Malta, has been expanding globally this year. The company allocated $50 million to expand its business into the United States, has a naming rights sponsorship with the top Argentinian football league, and opened regional headquarters in Madrid, Istanbul, São Paulo, and Buenos Aires.
Besides Socios, another competitor in the fan token space is Turkey’s Bitci, which recently signed a deal with the International Basketball Association. The group also has a partnership with the Brazilian National Football Association.