Cryptocurrencies and soccer (football) might not be a pairing you would naturally put together, but that hasn’t stopped French club Paris Saint-Germain. It is the first football team in the world to have a cryptocurrency strategy, thanks to a new pairing with new blockchain platform Socios.com.
While we have seen the sport partner with gambling outlets and banks, this is the first to involve cryptocurrency.
— Paris Saint-Germain (@PSG_inside) September 11, 2018
Of course, it’s more than just a logo on a shirt. This partnership is said to be “strategic,” which means that the yet-to-launch Socios will work to develop the club’s technology and boost fan engagement.
Over the next few years, Paris Saint-Germain will work with the company to produce a Fan Token Offering, a new type of online currency. Yes, you read that correctly.
In another world first, this fan token will be listed on the Socios.com platform and will allow fans to vote and poll using the cryptocurrency, as well as granting access to exclusive fan rewards, content, and experiences.
Changing relationships in football
The chief partnerships officer at Paris Saint-Germain, Marc Armstrong, described why the club wanted to disrupt the football industry and engage the new technology to enhance the club’s relationship with the fans.
Armstrong said: “Always at the forefront of digital innovation, Paris Saint-Germain is determined to leverage the opportunities that cryptocurrency can provide. This revolutionary technology will have an important impact on the Club’s overall business strategy and the way we engage with our fan base. We are very pleased to welcome Socios.com to the Paris Saint-Germain family.”
What impact will this have on the relationship with the fans? The club hopes that the tokens will enable a more dynamic opportunity. Cosmetic decisions, such as choosing the club’s new jersey or stadium music, will be up for grabs. But there are also sporting decisions to be made such as player of the match, whom the club plays in a friendly, or where it should go on a summer tour.
It is an additional layer that fans can choose to engage in, almost like buying ‘in-app” options on a video game.
As “Official Branded Cryptocurrency Partner” of Paris Saint-Germain, Socios.com can expect a wide range of marketing rights including in-stadium, TV, and digital exposure, bespoke content, and fan experience opportunities.
The company has pledged that transactions made through Socios.com will be fully digital, secure, transparent, and entirely connected to the real fan experience. While available to trade against the native ChilliZ token ($CHZ), no start date has yet been announced.
Because football is a completely new concept to the cryptocurrency market, it will be interesting to see how fans respond.
Alexandre Dreyfus, founder and CEO of Socios.com, said: “We are delighted and very proud to have signed Paris Saint-Germain as our first club to work on the evolution of its fan engagement strategy through the Socios.com blockchain platform. As well as being a leader on the football pitch, Paris Saint-Germain is also a digital pioneer, and this demonstrates its leadership in innovation. We admire the Club’s vision in being the first club in world football to adopt this new technology and set a new standard in fan engagement.”
It now remains to be seen if any other clubs will follow suit, both in France and the world beyond. Essentially, this move by Paris Saint-German could open up the world of cryptocurrency to a whole new user base, a demographic who may previously have had no need to learn about this brave new world, but will now have an interest in it.
The biggest winner here is Socios.com, which would be the natural choice for other high-profile clubs to follow suit and potentially engage the hundreds of millions of soccer and football fans worldwide. Tellingly, the website says, “more football clubs will be announced soon.” So get ready, football fans, you might soon be opening a cryptocurrency wallet.