English Premier League football club, the London-based West Ham United, announced on 30thApril that it is to partner up with blockchain platform, Socios.com, to launch a fan token ecosystem. West Ham United is the first Premier League Club announcing a partnership with Socios.com, joining other top European clubs, Paris Saint-Germain and Juventus, in offering fan tokens to their supporters worldwide.
Socios.com is a tokenised voting platform and blockchain based mobile app operated by sports blockchain venture, chiliZ. It has the backing of high profile crypto industry participants, including the crypto exchange, Binance, and OK Blockchain Capital. With more than 40 million supporters across the world and a global, digital fan base exceeding 5 million across social media platforms, Socios.com will be offering West Ham United supporters the chance to buy Fan Tokens through their Fan Token Offering.
Fan Tokens are a finite digital asset that gives the holder a voting right and can also be used to offer opinions on polls on the mobile app. In addition to this, Fan Tokens will also give fans access to rewards, exclusive merchandise, games, leaderboards and “exceptional experiences”.
ChiliZ gives sports and esports fans the ability to crowd-manage their favourite teams, games, leagues and events. This facilitates the activating and monetising of an audience, allowing the teams to attract fans by giving their fan-base a place in the driving seat, in other words, activating radical fan engagement. The ChiliZ blockchain platform offers fans voting rights through their fan tokens in order to be able to guide their chosen teams’management and strategy decisions.
The platform is powered by ChiliZ’ own cryptocurrency, $CHZ, an ERC20 token on the Ethereum blockchain. $CHZ can be purchased through a cryptocurrency exchange or directly on the app, and then the Fan Tokens can be purchased through the Fan Token Offering process.
The West Ham Fan Token will be available to fans at the start of the 2019/2020 football season. The greater the number of tokens held, the greater the fan’s influence they will hold. The Fan Tokens can be traded between fans on the Socios.com platform, with the value based on market demand.
The launch of the West Ham Fan Token will expand the club’s global audience and provide greater engagement for their millions of fans in the UK and across the world. With major sports clubs having increasing numbers of fans spread out around the globe, blockchain technology has provided an effective way of creating a digital link between fan and club and creating fan engagement. The press release cites a CoinMarketCap survey, which says that 46% of users said they are likely to buy Fan Token from major sports teams. The club is currently ranked 11thin the English Premier League and has over 2.3 million likes on its official Facebook page.
In the press release of 30thApril 2019, Alexandre Dreyfus, CEO and Founder of Socios.com said: “We’re proud and excited to have West Ham United as our first announced Premier League partner. West Ham United is a digital-first club, and one that can really maximise the potential of Socios.com’s blockchain technology to build a higher level of fan engagement. We’re building a strong eco-system of top-tier clubs from the best and most exciting leagues across the world and are very excited to partner with our first Premier League club, to drive the adoption of blockchain within football and mainstream sport. Working with West Ham United is a big step in realising our goal of building the world’s biggest global football community and marketplace for football fans on blockchain, alongside demonstrating that our platform and cryptocurrency is the trusted technology of the mainstream sports fan. We will be announcing more European partners very soon, with more Premier League clubs set to follow West Ham’s lead in creating the best-in-class fan engagement.”
Karim Virani, Digital & Commercial Director of West Ham Unitedsaid: “Our fans are what make West Ham United a unique and special club and we’re excited to partner with Socios.com to give fans a new way to engage with the club. We recognise that many fans are now digital users first, with many looking at and using new technologies in their day-to-day lives. As a result, West Ham United’s presence on Socios.com’s state of the art platform will further give us the ability to interact and get direct feedback in real-time from our global fanbase, which will be important to our future fan engagement strategy. We’re very excited about the possibilities Socios.com offers us to give fans the best experience possible, whether they live within a mile of the stadium or thousands of miles away.”