FC Barcelona, one of Europe’s most prestigious football clubs, announced a multi-million euro partnership with Socios.com, the blockchain-based engagement platform for sports fans.
Socios.com’s owner and technology provider, Chiliz, will invest €100 million (~$102 million) to acquire nearly a quarter of Barça Studios, which manages the club’s audiovisual productions and digital business offerings.
The investment comes after Socios.com began working with the club back 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 build better NFT and metaverse projects, while being able to refine their approach to engaging with fans and building community through the use of digital assets.
The partnership intends to create opportunities for the use of BAR tokens that extend beyond Socios.com’s platform.
“We are passionate about the role technology can play in building communities that bring fans closer to their teams and each other,” said Alexandre Dreyfus, CEO of Socios.com and Chiliz. “Barça Studios can now leverage our technology, expertise and global scale.”
Shortly after Socios.com revealed the deal, FC Barcelona confirmed the news Twitterwhich says it will help the club advance its “audiovisual, blockchain, NFT and Web.3 strategy.”
FC Barcelona and crypto
Fans have already bought over €39 million ($40.07 million) worth of BAR tokens from Socios.com, according to company, which provides access to an engage-to-earn platform. Participating in the community can lead to VIP tickets for fans, merchandise and other opportunities, such as being able to play on the pitch at FC Barcelona’s home stadium, Camp Nou.
Last August, the club’s president, Joan Laporta, revealed that FC Barcelona was €1.3 billion ($1.34 million) in debt, which led the team to let go of star player Lionel Messi because they could not afford to keep him and seek financing.
It took a 595 million euro ($611 million) loan from investment bank Goldman Sachs that month and reached a new sponsorship agreement with Spotify in March.
The world of sports has increasingly become a ripe landscape for Web3 companies to find favorable deals and promote blockchain-based products through exposure. A poll this year found that avid sports fans are twice as likely to own NFTs or cryptocurrencies, and Manchester City FC recently added cryptocurrency platform OKX as training set cohabitant.
Socios.com, founded in 2018, has established partnerships with over 100 sports organizations in a number of countries, including 20 NBA teams and 13 NFL teams, and individuals who fight in the UFC.
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