How Crypto Has Scored Big in the World of Soccer

How Crypto Has Scored Big in the World of Soccer

Cryptocurrencies and related digital assets were big news in 2021 and that trend looks set to continue throughout 2022. Unsurprisingly, Bitcoin grabbed most of the headlines, breaking new all-time highs, becoming legal tender in El Salvador, and sparking debate amongst the likes of SpaceX entrepreneur Elon Musk and Twitter’s Jack Dorsey.

If you were in any doubt that the digital trading world was here to stay, you must only look at the world of sport to see how this branch of technology and finance is making its mark. The growing love affair between soccer and cryptocurrency is plain to see. Across Europe’s top leagues, crypto or digital token-related sponsorship deals have been popping up all over the place.

As old revenue streams have plateaued, clubs are looking for new, dynamic ways to generate cash. A quick glance at the shirts of some Italian top-flight teams reveals some big names in the digital asset world. Reigning champions Internazionale ditched their decades-long partnership with Pirelli to hook up with, a new fan token concept. Lazio of Rome are backed by trading platform Binance, while city compatriots Roma wear the name Digitalbits across their chests. In fact, the whole Italian Serie A league is sponsored by  In Spain, also has a presence through deals with Atletico Madrid, Valencia, and Barcelona.

In the Premier League, (Wolverhamtpton Wandererers) and Dogecoin (Watford) are both sleeve sponsors, while a couple of major bitcoin casino and sports betting companies can be seen on the front of the shirts of Southampton and Watford. The top online casinos have been a major force in the soccer sponsorship arena for many years. Big names such as LeoVegas and Betway have had sponsorship deals with football teams in the past, with the former backing Brentford and Norwich City and the latter appearing on the shirts of West Ham United and four different Spanish teams. Now, many crypto firms are now getting in on the action.

Fan tokens offer clubs a new way to extract extra revenue from individual fans. When a supporter buys a token, they get perks in return such as a vote on what song is played after a goal or entry into a lot to win exclusive prizes like signed shirts or boots. The scope for the use of fan tokens is only just being explored in full, but it follows on from the trend of soccer and sports-related NFTs (non-fungible tokens) which offer fans the right to exclusive digital artwork. These are minted to ensure authenticity and are the digital equivalent of a first edition book or an original painting.

The idea is that the fans feel more involved with their club by owning the tokens and the clubs make more money. This is a big step into the future but one that has an unclear path at this stage. The tokens have been likened to the modern-day Panini cards, which have a level of collectability and investment potential.

What is clear, is that while cryptocurrency is still viewed by many as a niche, almost nerdy concept, the amount of money involved means the companies involved can already compete with established global corporations to buy some of the most expensive advertising space in sports.