Many of the top European clubs have seen their revenue impacted severely thanks to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and the decision not to allow fans into the stadium on match days. According to a report by Reuters, the sales at the top-20 European clubs declined 12%, falling to €8.2 Billion for the 2020 fiscal year. 

Exploring Other Options To Generate Revenue 

As a result, football clubs have resorted to exploring other avenues and unconventional methods of increasing their revenue to meet the shortfall caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. One such avenue that has attracted the interest of clubs is the Socios Cryptocurrencies. 

Alexandre Dreyfus, the CEO of Socios.com, describes Socios as “a new way of generating revenue from a different fanbase than the traditional matchday ticket holder. 

Top Clubs Increasing Their Revenue Through Fan Tokens

According to a report by The Telegraph, European clubs such as Barcelona, Arsenal, Juventus, Manchester City, and PSG have generated revenue totaling £150 Million through the Socios cryptocurrencies. Some of the clubs have managed to raise more than £20 Million each. 

Giving Supporters A Chance To Influence Key Decisions 

Socios borrows its name and concept from the Spanish word for members of supporter-run clubs in La-Liga such as Real Madrid and Barcelona. Supporters can buy the fan tokens for £2, and after downloading the app, they can participate in decisions such as the naming of a training ground, songs to play after goals, etc. The Socios app has over 1.2 Million downloads, with over 900,000 active users. 

A Busy “Transfer Market” 

During the transfer window, it looks like Socios has been the busiest of the lot. Socios has already signed deals with a clutch of top clubs around Europe. The Socios roster includes the likes of Manchester City, Barcelona, Juventus, and Paris Saint-Germain. 

It has also announced the launch of the Arsenal token and a deal with Italian Champions Inter Milan which will see the fan token advertised on the Inter jersey for the upcoming season. Socios has also boosted its presence in South America, signing a sponsorship agreement with Argentina’s top football division, renamed the Torneo Socios. 

Such agreements have undoubtedly brought significant focus on the platform, which has been billed as a means for better fan engagement when it comes to sports. However, the platform has also come under criticism and also forced out by one club supporter group. 

Fan Reactions 

Socios is an example of cryptocurrencies making their way into the sporting field. We have already seen NFTs and the massive impact they have had on sports, with digital collectibles and key moments in games being packaged as NFTs that fans can own. Fans who buy the tokens can benefit from exclusive experiences. 

However, fan reception has been divided, with Socios’ focus on overseas fans not going down well with domestic supporters. The Football Supporters’ Association has been fairly critical about Socios, stating,

“Socios attempts to monetize fan engagement which the leagues and clubs have committed to doing for free. There should be no financial barrier to engaging with your football club.”

West Ham United supporters went a step ahead when the club announced that it had become the first club in the Premier League to partner with Socios. West Ham United supporter groups vehemently opposed the partnership, launching the “Don’t Pay To Have Your Say” campaign. As a result of the campaign, West Ham United and Socios abandoned their plans for the West Ham token. 

While also not fully on board with the London club’s plans on joining the platform, the Arsenal supporters gave a more measured response, stating, “It is a concern that the club is trying to monetize fan opinion and engagement.” It also added that the club had not consulted about the decision. 

Disclaimer: This article is provided for informational purposes only. It is not offered or intended to be used as legal, tax, investment, financial, or other advice.

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