Sports teams like Juventus are now using the power of the blockchain technology to connect with fans.
On Dec. 2, Italian soccer giant Juventus revealed that the long wait for its much-hyped fan token had finally come to an end. In regard to the matter, news of the deal first came to light back in 2018, when it was revealed that the token would allow holders to take part in a host of voting and polling-related decisions.
It has been reported that the $JUV coin took nearly a year and a half of full-time development and was created by the club in conjunction with Socios, a tokenized fan-voting platform for sports.
Fans who possess the token will have the ability to vote on a wide range of club-related decisions. For example, they can vote on which song should be played anytime the club scores a goal.
The token has been released to interested investors at a base price of 2 euros ($2.22). Additionally, there is a limited amount of free $JUV coins that will be made available through the Socios app, which has an augmented reality feature called “Token Hunt.”
As per a number of reports, Juventus was initially planning to release its blockchain token during the first few months of the year. However, due to certain unforeseen circumstances, the release date was pushed back to the fourth quarter of 2019.
Also, Juventus’s blockchain initiative follows in the footsteps of the partnership between Paris Saint-Germain, or PSG, and Socios, which is also meant to enable fans to vote on a number of club-related matters as well as confer VIP status to token holders.
Soccer clubs see a lot of potential in blockchain
To get a clearer picture of why so many soccer clubs are gravitating toward the use of blockchain technology, Cointelegraph reached out to Alexandre Dreyfus, the CEO of Socios. He pointed out that over the last couple of years, Socios has been able to rope in a number of established soccer clubs from all over the world.
When asked about what makes his company’s blockchain offerings unique, Dreyfus told Cointelegraph that Socios is able to offer sports teams the opportunity “to create Fan Tokens that give a voice/influencer to their fans globally.”
On the subject of how Juventus stands to benefit from this latest partnership, Cointelegraph reached out to Arjun Pradeep, a self-professed “Juventino,” a sports commentator and a contributor to the publication Soccer Laduma.
In his opinion, Juventus's collaboration with Socios should be viewed as a symbiotic relationship that will most likely benefit both parties. Pradeep added:
“Certainly the popularity of Juventus as a gigantic club with superstars like Cristiano Ronaldo who have a big fan following increases the visibility of blockchain technology in the footballing world.”
He further added that the soccer club most likely believes in the future of the technology and its ability to attract new followers of the club:
“At the moment, I am not sure if crypto technology is something that excites South American Juventini or even Italian Juventini. However, I am inclined to believe that Juve's fan following in East Asia and USA/Canada, are well educated about crypto technology.”
Over the past few years, Juventus has been making a concerted effort to increase its online visibility across a host of social media platforms, as soccer’s popularity over the past decade has skyrocketed dramatically thanks to the power of satellite television and the internet.
To put things into perspective, Dreyfus pointed out that Juventus currently has more fans in Asia than in Italy — thus, Socios seeks to help international fans get closer to their clubs by offering them an enhanced experience that they can participate in. He further added:
"The purpose of this launch is to get clubs close to their fans globally. 99.9% of Juventus fans are NOT in Turin, but everywhere in Italy and in the world.”
Fan tokens to connect with their teams
According to Pradeep, Juventus’s recent move to adopt blockchain tokens is a step in the right direction. He believes that because of the club’s conscious decision to stay abreast with all of the latest technological advancements taking place around the world, the soccer giant has been able to increase its overall social media presence exponentially. He further added that distributing VIP tickets and free merchandise helps the club achieve its goal of connecting with fans:
“As time passes by, there's a sense of feeling in the football community, in general, that the clubs are operating as businesses now and there's a lack of feeling that once existed between fans and their clubs. They feel like customers, not fans. I think crypto tokens can diminish this feeling and help in restoring the rapport between fans and their clubs by involving them in many decisions.”
On the subject of whether soccer fans are really educated about blockchain and its immense potential, Dreyfus told Cointelegraph that an average fan may not be well informed about the economic and social potential of this technology. However, he believes that the point of such an exercise is primarily to offer a set of novel utilities as well as build a bridge between clubs and their fans. In Dreyfus’s own words:
“Blockchain is just the medium of the utility and not the service itself.”
When asked about the core differences between Socios’s token offerings and other blockchain projects, such as those initiated by Germany’s Bayern Munich and the NBA’s Sacramento Kings, Dreyfus highlighted that:
“Bayern Munich is launching collectibles (like Panini stickers) and there is NOTHING related to native tokens to vote or connect their fans with. It is completely different. Same with Kings, it is a token for a betting game.”
To further his point, Dreyfus revealed that Socios has already sold more than $150,000 worth of $JUV tokens — the details of which can be checked online.
Is this a trend that will carry forward into the future?
A number of sports analysts are of the opinion that by adopting decentralized technologies such as blockchain, sporting organizations are paving the way for increased fan participation all over the world — which, in the long run, will translate into increased financial revenue for all the parties involved.
For example, by allowing their fans to buy crypto collectibles that are backed by nonfungible tokens or enabling fan participation in various club-related decisions, forward-thinking teams like Juventus and PSG are laying a foundation for something that will possibly help their fan bases grow exponentially. On the subject, Dreyfus opined:
“Blockchain can be used for influencing and giving fans a real opportunity to become 'super-fans' instead of being 'just a fan.’”