Last month Liverpool sent out one of their regular ‘Your Voice’ questionnaires to fans who register, canvassing their views on a number of topics.
The questionnaires cover many aspects of the fan experience at Anfield and are used to aid dialogue and shape the decision making process by taking the views of supporters on board.
Among the questions asked last month was how Liverpool fans would feel with regards to the club making moves into the cryptocurrency and NFT (non-fungible token) space through sponsorship deals in the future, with the answers ranging from very negative to very positive.
Crypto firms have flooded the sponsorship market in football over the past 12 months, filling the vacuum created by the pandemic and the stepping away from betting companies as a long term solution in English football due to the potential regulation that looms.
These firms, as happens with new technologies that burst onto the scene, have enormous capital at their disposal as investors pour in money hoping to ride the wave and gain huge returns.
But there are question marks that exist around them being so prevalent in the game, with the industry still largely unregulated and tremendously volatile.
Any move by Liverpool to enter into this space is something that will be discussed with the newly-formed Supporters Board, which was created after the fallout from the doomed European Super League plot of which Liverpool were a part.
The Spirit of Shankly supporters group, allied with a number of other Reds fan groups across a variety of demographics, will sit on the new board and engage with Liverpool owners Fenway Sports Group and both local and board level, periodically.
They hold the power to give consent to major decisions that impact traditions and supporter experience, such as ever entering into an ESL plot again and such things as moving Liverpool away from Anfield.
While the crypto space is something the ECHO understands SOS and the Supporters Board are willing to have further discussions around with the club, the idea of monetising fan engagement through fan token firms such as Socios is something they would be vehemently against.
A statement from SOS to the ECHO read: “The Socios model attempts to monetise fan engagement which the leagues and clubs have committed to doing for free.
“There should be no financial barriers to engaging with your football club.
“SOS oppose anything which is a clear attempt to monetise football’s responsibility to properly engage with representative fans’ groups and their concerns.”
Socios have made huge strides in permeating the sporting industry, filling the sponsorship void for clubs searching to claw back revenues after the financial disasters that have been caused by the pandemic.
From the Premier League to the NFL, Socios now has a global platform. Their model is one where fans can purchase fan tokens that can fluctuate in value, giving them the chance to vote on certain clubs polls such as what songs should appear on the stadium playlist.
One of the main criticisms of the platform has been the concern that the supporters’ passion will be hijacked by speculators seeking to make money from the trading of these fan tokens, which uses the Chiliz cryptocurrency to trade.
Premier League clubs including Arsenal, Everton and Leeds United have already entered into partnerships with Socios, while West Ham United’s attempts to do the same were ended after fans revolted against the proposed deal.
Get all the latest Liverpool breaking news, team news, transfer rumours, injury updates plus analysis of what’s next for the Reds.
You’ll also get the latest transfer talk and analysis every day for FREE!
But while Liverpool and others may be keeping it at arms length, UEFA, European football’s governing body, has entered into an agreement with the French firm that will see them have prominence across their competitions, most notably the Champions League.
As part of the deal, holders of Socios’ club tan tokens will be awarded add-on fan tokens for UEFA men’s club competitions, with UEFA rewarding fan token holders with VIP trips to season kick-off events, the chance to visit UEFA HQ, virtual meet-and-greets with UEFA legends, match tickets, merchandise and memorabilia.
Alexandre Dreyfus, chief executive of Socios.com, said: “Hundreds of millions of fans around the world will have the opportunity to become more than spectators and play active roles in the biggest club football competitions on the planet through fan tokens.”
The link up has been met with fierce criticism from fan groups including Football Supporters Europe (FSE), who took to social media to make their feelings known.
The FSE posted on Twitter: “We are appalled by UEFA’s decision to team up with Socios, a company that monetises fan engagement at the expense of match-going fans.
“This is an incomprehensible move at a time when football needs protection from crypto-mercenaries.
“UEFA’s entry into the unregulated ‘fan token’ market threatens the basic principles of fan engagement in Europe. It is a clear attempt to monetise football’s responsibility to properly engage with representative fans’ groups and their concerns.
“UEFA’s partnership with Socios legitimatises risky investments in highly volatile and largely unregulated financial assets.
“Governing bodies have a duty to protect the integrity and sustainability of football and everyone associated with it. There are countless ways to properly engage with fans. Encouraging fans to invest in ‘fan tokens’ isn’t one of them.
“They only serve the interests of those selling them.”
Source Link: Read more