Cryptocurrency and football sponsorships

Virtual currencies are very real forms of currency. The advance of cryptocurrencies, which are defined as a digital representation of value used as an investment or a means of exchange, has spread across the whole planet, including the world of football.

  • Crypto enters football with Arsenal
  • The problems with crypto
  • NFTs and fan tokens
  • Players’ investments in Sorare

Crypto enters football with Arsenal

Over the last few years, the companies in the sector have invested a lot in football, obviously starting from the most flourishing market, the English one. The first club to link to a cryptocurrency was Arsenal, which signed a partnership with Cashbet Coin in 2018, but many other types of agreements have since arrived.

At the moment, half of the Premier League clubs, including the ones at the top of the sports betting table, have partnerships with cryptocurrency companies. Some are main sponsors, some use sleeve space, and others are just corporate sponsors.

As a result, the English Premier League has seen a nearly 300% increase in the value of cryptocurrency sponsorships, from 27 million pounds in 2021 to 104 million pounds in 2021.

Yet, strange to say, the paradise for cryptocurrency sponsorships is Serie A. The Italian championship has been practically invaded by offers from companies in the sector. After all, given the squeeze on sponsorships by betting companies, made impossible by the state, the clubs definitely needed a new type of income, especially in light of the crisis that has hit the entire planet in the last two years.

And therefore, despite more than a few doubts on the part of the authorities (and of the Premier League itself, which at the end of 2021 decided that any similar agreement would be checked with particular attention), cryptocurrencies have become important, indeed, fundamental, in terms of revenue for top-flight club advertisers. The numbers, after all, speak for themselves.

The problems with crypto

But because of the fall of cryptocurrencies in the past few months, there have been problems that have especially affected Inter.

The agreement with Digitalbits has already been criticized for late payments, which led the team to remove the sponsor’s logo from the scoreboards at the sports center and then from the uniforms of the women’s team in the summer. They also threatened to sue and end the contract on their own for Lukaku and his teammates’ shirts, which did not happen, for the record.

NFTs and fan tokens

Also because the agreements are not limited to the presence of logos on the uniforms. Indeed, many teams also exploit the cryptocurrency system in other systems, primarily that of non-fungible tokens, more commonly called NFTs.

As the name suggests, these are (obviously digital) tokens that can be bought. In reality, they are real, non-exchangeable digital certificates that can be used to buy both digital and real assets.

Among these, the so-called “fan tokens” are the most popular in football. They function as small shares of the club and allow those who own them to have their say regarding corporate decisions or access exclusive content.

Players investments in Sorare

Without forgetting that the applications of the blockchain technology on which cryptocurrencies are based can be even more imaginative. This is the case of Sorare, a mix between fantasy football and video games, in which players’ “virtual cards” are purchased, which give away points depending on how the player behaved on the pitch.

Among the investors in the project are great champions like Griezmann and Piquè, with the Catalan putting up a good 3 million euros in 2020. As often happens to him, the Barça defender seems to have hit the mark in business: the second round of investments has garnered the adhesion of Masayoshi Son, the second richest man in all of Japan, who some time ago invested “just” $580 million in the company’s assets, which according to the latest estimates have recently reached a value of more than 3 billion euros.

Of course, this is a market that, as recent developments have confirmed, is particularly volatile and not without risks.

In any case, before dismissing cryptocurrencies and blockchains as nonsense with nothing to do with football, let’s do some math!