FC Barcelona has announced the launch of its first standalone NFT. Collaborating with BCN Visuals, the audiovisual digital art will be auctioned off at Sotheby’s and depicts Johan Cruyff’s iconic flying kick and goal. In addition to the animated NFT, four more NFTs portraying a still image from the 1973 goal will also be auctioned. Bidding begins on July 29th.
Strictly speaking, the team already has NFTs as it was part of a deal between La Liga and Sorare for player cards used in fantasy football games.
The new NFT is titled “In a way, Immortal”, and the buyer of this NFT will also receive the title of Barça Digital Ambassador. The NFT’s smart contract includes access to privileges like Meet and Greets, hospitality rights for five years, amongst others.
This NFT is the first of ten artworks that FC Barcelona plans to release. Each piece will feature historic moments and players from the club’s history. All this is part of FC Barcelona’s efforts to engage with its younger fanbase, using NFTs as an experiential product to develop its brand.
It previously launched its own cryptocurrency in association with Socios, but its value is currently less than 10% of its peak price in March 2021. Much of the price drop was before Messi’s departure. The club has rejected crypto sponsors, citing disapproval of the sector’s speculative nature. A previous NFT deal with crypto startup Ownix was canceled after issues around due diligence.
These actions point to a fear of reputational damage that established brands like FC Barcelona face when partnering with crypto startups that do not have a track record. It does not help that the use of tokens is relatively new, leaving it prone to controversy. Yet, the club’s debt struggles mean it has to innovate if it wants to be financially competitive.
Ultimately, FC Barcelona’s decision to launch its own cryptocurrency, NFTs and metaverse show its intention to capitalize on the emerging trend and aid its finances. “We believe that with the Club’s new NFT strategy we found a unique opportunity to continue growing and consolidating the Barça brand,” said FC Barcelona President Joan Laporta.