A cryptocurrency company has bought an 80% stake in a major Australian soccer team, and has plans to tokenize everything from ticket sales to fan engagement through its token. It also wants to buy more soccer clubs.
Subject to due diligence and approval from Football Federation Australia, the London Football Exchange, a UK-based crypto company that raised $70 million in a token sale back in 2018, will soon be the main owner of Perth Glory Football Club, which plays in Australia’s foremost football league, the A-League.
Perth Glory is the first football club owned by LFE, and its CEO, Jim Aylward, is interested in buying up more. “Our plan is to build out a full group [...] where you’ve got a stake in multi-club ownership in various leagues, globally,” Aylward told Decrypt.
The club wasn’t bought with money raised in the $70 million token sale, said Aylward, but with sports loans (where money’s paid back with things like season ticket revenue). The chairman of Perth Glory, Tony Sage, has also joined LFE as its chairman.
Sage just made a big bet: Nothing like this has been done before. Since the company’s conception in 2016, and its 2018 token raise, nothing is live apart from LFE’s token, LFECash, which trades a few thousand dollars each day on the StellarX crypto exchange. Aylward doesn’t have prior experience in the sector (though he hardly has had time).
What is the London Football Exchange?
Underlying the LFE ecosystem is a marketplace for football fans to buy items such as tickets or licensed apparel using the LFE cash token. Once the deal with Perth City has gone through, the club’s social media might, for instance, encourage fans to buy the new token to get discounts on products, and access other products in the LFE ecosystem.
“Imagine you go to a funfair, you buy tokens at the front, and then you use those tokens to go on all of the rides; it’s exactly the same with our token,” said Aylward. “So it’s an alternative to fiat currency, but you get a discount.”
Clubs also save money due to crypto’s low transaction fees. “If the fans are paying using our wallet, and scanning QR codes at the merchants around the stadium, the club aren't paying payment processing fees to Visa and MasterCard,” he said.
LFE takes a cut of those transaction fees, and also holds a large amount of tokens. Aylward expects the value of the tokens to rise as they’re used more.