English Premier League side Arsenal have partnered with sports blockchain provider Chiliz to launch the club’s custom fan tokens on Chiliz’s Socios.com app.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, sports clubs have had to look for other revenue streams to compensate for the lack of ticketing on game days. Arsenal joins a growing list of sports entities on the platform, including Barcelona, Juventus, Paris Saint Germain and AC Milan.
The platform enables fans to purchase club fan tokens, an area of the blockchain industry that generated over $200 million in revenue in the first half of 2021 alone. According to the Socios.com management team, the app has had almost 1.2 million downloads since its launch in 2019. Of those, almost 70% took place in 2021.
Fan tokens can be exchanged for rewards such as merchandise, the ability to participate in polls, access exclusive content, and play interactive games. They can also lead to experiences like meeting players or attending home games. The Arsenal-specific digital collectibles can be bought and sold through the marketplace as a cryptocurrency.
“We are committed to finding new and innovative ways for all our supporters – whether local or international – to get closer to the club,” Arsenal Commercial Director Peter Silverstone said.
Chiliz has allocated over $50 million to expand into the top sporting leagues in the United States, whilst also becoming an official sponsor of LaLiga football club Valencia CF. The sponsorship will showcase a token logo in the front of the players’ jerseys this coming season.
In addition, Chiliz is also sponsoring Argentina’s top football league, which will officially be called Torneo Socios.com for the 2021/2022 season.
As a club, Arsenal is not new to the blockchain space. The club has partnerships for three mainstream applications of blockchain in sports – Sorare for fantasy football, Fantastec for digital collectibles, and now Chiliz for fan tokens.
In 2018, Arsenal also signed a sponsorship deal with cryptocurrency application CashBet. This deal was the first time a major global club has partnered with a cryptocurrency firm.