The McLaren Racing Formula 1 team has partnered with the Turkish cryptocurrency exchange Bitci.com to launch the team’s official fan tokens. This will be the first fan token initiative in Formula 1, although there is already a nonfungible token (NFT) deal.
The tokens will be available on Bitci Chain. Since the project has not yet launched, the benefits of owning McLaren fan tokens or what fans can exchange them for have not yet been announced.
We can expect similar perks to those observed in other sports where fan tokens are more prevalent, such as soccer. Manchester City recently signed a deal with Socios.com for $CITY fan tokens, enabling token owners to collect rewards, access promotions, play mobile games, and vote on the club’s polls.
For Bitci.com, the partnership will mean their logo will appear on race cars and drivers’ helmets.
Formula 1, like many sports, was significantly affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, having to postpone and even cancel races, limit ticket sales for the upcoming season, and operate in a recovering economy with constrained advertising spend. Blockchain solutions such as collectibles and fan tokens are a way to bring in new sources of revenue and explore different ways to keep fans engaged.
The sport already has a blockchain game called F1 Delta Time developed by Animoca. Last year Animoca announced it was auctioning nonfungible tokens for official team cars as collectibles. F1 Delta is licensed by Formula 1, similar to NBA Top Shot, which is run by Dapper Labs under license from the whole NBA league as opposed to individual teams. Another collectibles firm is Sorare which has been particularly successful in signing up soccer teams for nonfungible tokens that can be used in fantasy games.
The difference with a fan token is it is fungible, so all the tokens are the same. In contrast, nonfungible tokens (NFTs) represent an interest in a specific object, often a collectible. Both NFTs and fan tokens are tradable.
Following the McLaren fan token announcement, it will be interesting to see if more racing teams sign individual blockchain deals.