Yesterday blockchain fan token platform Socios announced a deal as an Official Partner of Major League Soccer (MLS) as well as deals with 26 of its 28 clubs. Socios is known for its club fan tokens in Europe, but it has not issued tokens as part of its United States deals because of regulatory uncertainty. Socios has already partnered with numerous other U.S. sports clubs, including 24 NBA and 14 NFL teams.
Unlike non-fungible tokens (NFTs), which are individually unique and considered collectibles, a club’s fan tokens are identical to each other and classed as a type of cryptocurrency. Hence the question of whether U.S. regulators might consider them securities. Like other cryptocurrencies, the prices can fluctuate significantly.
For now, the MLS partnership will enable MLS fans to participate in polls and get rewards. These types of features are usually available to fan token holders, with polls typically on topics such as the color of a sports jersey or the selection of a club anthem.
We asked whether there was a business model for Socios in the absence of fan tokens, which are planned for the future.
“There’s obviously interest in our Fan Token model, but we have work to do together before that can become a reality,” a Socios spokesperson told Ledger Insights via email.
“The goal is to educate U.S. fans on who we are and what we do, explaining why they should care if we take the next step with MLS in the future into fully tokenised capped membership programs.”
He continued, “We won’t come in with a revenue model active for MLS, this is an investment into partnership and education, as both we + the MLS are interested in the future revenue models possible together.”
The two teams that have not partnered with Socios are DC United FC and Charlotte FC. DC United is historically the second most successful club in the MLS in terms of championships won during the early days of the MLS. However, its current standing is at the bottom of the Eastern division. We asked the club for comment on why it wasn’t participating but didn’t receive a response in time for publication.
In March, MLS partnered with Sorare, the blockchain fantasy football firm where games use player non-fungible tokens (NFTs).
Meanwhile, football icon Lionel Messi became an ambassador for Socios in March. He previously received some Socios PSG tokens when he moved from FC Barcelona to the French club. Socios also has a partnership with UEFA. When that deal was announced, the Football Supporters Europe (FSE) organization was strongly critical, saying that Socios “monetises fan engagement at the expense of match-going fans”.