French Football Club Looks to Blockchain to Engage its Fanbase
One of France’s most well-known football clubs, Paris Saint-Germain (PSG), has announced a plan to increase fan engagement by partnering with Socios.com, a blockchain platform that allows for tokenized voting.
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A ‘Fan Token Offering’ in the Works
The new system, announced in a blog post by Socios.com will give fans of PSG access to exclusive experiences, rewards, and content through blockchain-based voting and polling platforms. To use the system, fans will need to buy digital tokens through an upcoming “Fan Token Offering” (FTO) that is currently under development. No details on prices or timing have yet been released.
Marc Armstrong, Chief Partnerships Officer for Paris Saint Germain, stated:
“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 fanbase. We are very pleased to welcome Socios.com to the Paris Saint-Germain family.”
The club said on its official Twitter account that, “PSG becomes the first football club in the world to announce a long-term cryptocurrency strategy with the blockchain platform Socios.com.”
— Paris Saint-Germain (@PSG_inside) September 11, 2018
Not the First Tie-up Between a Sports Club and a Blockchain Startup
The multi-year partnership will see Socios.com named an “Official Branded Cryptocurrency Partner” of PSG. The club is not, however, the first to get involved with cryptocurrencies or blockchain.
In August, seven English Premier League teams signed a partnership with Israel-based investment firm eToro in a deal that will see EPL players paid in bitcoin. And in January, English Premier League team Arsenal announced a partnership with US-based Cashbet Coin, which began an ICO after the partnership was publicly announced.
Malta-Based Mediarex Group Behind Both Socios.com and chiliZ
Socios.com was founded in June by Mediarex Group, a Maltese blockchain firm. Socios.com described itself as a “scalable, tokenized voting platform where football fans can buy, trade and execute voting or ‘crowd-manager’ rights for their favorite football teams,” in the blog post announcing its founding. It appears that the PSG deal is the first between Socios.com and a professional sports club.
Mediarex is also behind chiliZ, another tokenized voting platform designed for the Esports industry. On June 5th, chiliZ announced that crypto exchange Binance had invested an undisclosed amount in the company and claimed a few days later that it had raised $65 million USD though a “private placement” of its CHZ tokens.
PSG Tokens Don’t Appear to Confer Ownership Rights
PSG and Socios.com’s new program, however, doesn’t appear to confer any ownership rights, despite the term socios suggesting otherwise. Socios is the word that the storied Spanish club Real Madrid uses to describe their members, who are all part-owners of the club, which is a non-profit sports organization. Socios, who pay a membership fee of around €150 EUR, have full control of the team, including voting for the President and Board of Directors of the club.
PSG, by contrast, is owned by Qatar Sports Investments, who reportedly paid $130 million USD for the club at the time of the sale in 2012. It appears the tokens purchased by fans will have provide much more limited rights and may not even be resalable.
Have your say. Will PSG and Socios.com’s new blockchain platform be popular with fans? Or will technical challenges reduce its effectiveness?
Images via Pixabay