FC Barcelona, one of Europe’s most prestigious football clubs, announced a multi-million euro partnership with Socios.com, the blockchain-based sports fan engagement platform.
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 collaborating with the club back in February of 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 its 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 that 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 disclosed the deal, FC Barcelona confirmed the news on Twitter, stating it will help the club advance its “audiovisual, blockchain, NFT and Web.3 strategy.”
FC Barcelona announces the sale of 24.5% of Barça Studios to the company https://t.co/SkC8g62KY4 for 100 million euros to accelerate the club’s audiovisual, blockchain, NFT and Web.3 strategy.
More details https://t.co/0sM9grct3L pic.twitter.com/5xcLWYg440
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) August 1, 2022
FC Barcelona and crypto
Fans have already purchased over €39 million ($40.07 million) worth of BAR tokens from Socios.com, according to the company, which yield access to an engage-to-earn platform. Participating in the community can lead to VIP tickets for fans, merchandise, and other opportunities, like being able to play on the pitch at FC Barcelona’s home stadium, Camp Nou.
In August of last year, the club’s president, Joan Laporta, disclosed that FC Barcelona was €1.3 billion ($1.34 million) in debt, leading the team to let go of star player Lionel Messi because they could not afford to keep him and seek out funding.
It took a €595 million ($611 million) loan from investment bank Goldman Sachs that month and reached a new sponsorship deal with Spotify in March.
The world of sports has increasingly become a ripe landscape for Web3 companies to find favorable agreements 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 F.C. recently added cryptocurrency platform OKX as training kit partner.
Socios.com, founded in 2018, has established partnerships with over 100 sports organizations throughout numerous countries, including 20 NBA teams and 13 NFL teams, and individuals fighting in the UFC.