Manchester City Football Club has announced a partnership with Superbloke, a South Korean blockbuster and publisher of the FC Superstars game.
According to the English club, as part of the collaboration, Superbloke will integrate Manchester City’s players into FC Superstars, a decentralised application that uses real match statistics to create and manage a team in the form of digital cards corresponding to players. “This new partnership with Superbloke marks another important milestone in the growing relationship between City and the game and will create unique experiences for fans wishing to engage with the game via digital platforms,” said Damian Willoughby, vice president of partnerships at City Football Group, Manchester City’s relationship company.
According to Superbloke’s Chief Strategy Officer, Nak-Hyoung Kim, blockchain technology allows football fans to digitally own the cards of their favourite players. More and more major football clubs are getting involved in blockchaining and encryption. Juve, PSG, West Ham and AS Roma plan to launch their fan token in collaboration with Maltese blockchain startup Socios. Several major English clubs, including Everton this month, have signed a partnership with the eToro investment platform. Most recently, Benfica Lisbon announced that it will support cryptomonic payment for its tickets and other derivative products.
Will the cryptocurrencies infiltrate the football clubs?
Cryptocurrencies have only recently become known and are beginning to affect football clubs, especially the big names in Europe. One amateur club in Turkey has already used them to transfer a player. PSG and Juventus have announced that they will use Bitcoin in 2019. We can’t really be sure of what cryptocurrency is in the football industry today or what it will become in the future, but we know that it is growing in importance as months go by and football clubs start noticing this : like Juventus Turin or Paris-Saint-Germain, many European top players are interested in these virtual currencies. Although their use is not yet widespread, it could become increasingly important in the years to come.
A transfer in bitcoins
On 30 January 2017, the Turkish amateur club Harunustaspor boasted that it was the first club in the world to use cryptocurrency to buy a player. In order to sign Omer Faruk Kiroglu (22) Harunustaspor spent 0.0524 bitcoin or €431 on the day of the transfer. This amount in bitcoins is now only €184.73. That’s the risk of this system.
As on the stock market, prices are constantly changing and can fall as well as soar. For the moment, this club is the only one to have declared a transfer negotiated with Bitcoins but in the near future others could quickly follow suit.
A way to build loyalty
Some teams are using this technology to retain their fans by involving them as much as possible in the life of the club. Juventus Turin and PSG are forerunners in this field, as from 2019 they will be offering to buy Token fans (the Parisian club has already signed a five-year contract with Socios.com, which should bring in more than 2 million euros a year). These bitcoins grant “property rights” over a small part of the company.
In reality this confers only minimal powers and, in the case of Juventus, the tifosi will not be given executive power at the club. Far from it. The tifosi will, for example, allow fans of the Old Lady to choose the color of the third jersey or the venue for the summer’s friendly matches. It’s nothing fancy, but it’s a way for clubs to build loyalty and bring together their fans, who are scattered all over the world.
What place will take the cryptocurrency and what is its future in the football world ? The answer will probably come in a close future…