FC Barcelona, one of Europe’s most prestigious football clubs, has announced a multimillion-euro partnership with Socios.com, the blockchain-based sports fan engagement platform.
Socios.com owner and technology provider Chiliz will invest €100m (~$102m) to acquire nearly a quarter of Barca Studios, which handles the club’s audiovisual productions and digital business offerings.
The investment comes after Socios.com began working with the club in February 2020 with the launch of FC Barcelona’s “fan token” called BAR.
According to a Press release from Socios.com, the investment will enable the club to better build NFT and metaverse projects, while also being able to refine its approach to interacting with fans and building community through the use of digital assets.
The partnership aims to create opportunities for the use of BAR tokens that extend beyond the Socios.com platform.
“We are passionate about the role technology can play in creating communities that bring fans closer to their teams and to each other,” said Alexandre Dreyfus, CEO of Socios.com and Chiliz. “Barça Studios can now leverage our technology, expertise and global reach.”
Shortly after Socios.com revealed the deal, FC Barcelona confirmed the news on Twitterstating that this will help the club advance its “audiovisual, blockchain, NFT and Web.3 strategy”.
FC Barcelona and crypto
Fans have already purchased more than 39 million euros ($40.07 million) of Socios.com BAR tokens, according to the company, which provide access to an engage-to-earn platform. Participating in the community can lead to VIP tickets for fans, merchandise and other opportunities, such as the chance to play on the grounds of FC Barcelona’s home stadium, Camp Nou.
In August of last year, club president Joan Laporta disclosed that FC Barcelona had a debt of 1.3 billion euros (1.34 million dollars), which led to the team giving up star player lionel messi because they couldn’t afford to keep it and look for funding.
This took a €595 million ($611 million) loan from investment bank Goldman Sachs that month and achieved a new sponsorship deal with Spotify in March.
The sports world has increasingly become a ripe landscape for Web3 companies to strike favorable deals and promote blockchain-based products through exposure. A survey this year found that sports enthusiasts are twice as likely to own NFTs or cryptocurrencies, and Manchester City FC recently added cryptocurrency platform OKX as training kit partner.
Socios.com, founded in 2018, has partnerships with more than 100 sports organizations in many countries, including 20 NBA teams and 13 NFL teams, and individuals fighting in the UFC.
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