In this second instalment of a two-part series covering the ins-and-outs of NFTs in football, we look at what benefits fans can acquire through digital collectibles and their utilities.
Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are all the rage these days, and it is perhaps no surprise that the football world has collided head-on with it in recent times.
Whether it is former Chelsea captain John Terry trying to sell you on some football apes, or Liverpool depicting their players as superheroes, fans can be forgiven if they’re feeling a little overwhelmed.
So what’s the big deal with NFTs, and how can you actually benefit as a fan?
Benefits to fans
Current trends show that NFTs are replacing how traditional, physical collectibles are preserved and valued. Compared to traditional collectibles (be it the latest season’s jersey or a mug from the club store) that have relatively fixed prices, an NFT collection is more dynamic because they could increase in value depending on rarity and popularity.
For fans, the best NFTs or digital tokens to buy are those that provide benefits aside from simply being digital assets. Discounts in online shops, chances to win tickets, access to locker room information, and exclusive merchandise are some of the benefits that NFT owners should look out for.
If you wish to collect loyalty points for your team and show support as a fan, then NFTs and digital tokens should be buy-and-hold assets. Keeping these tokens for future use could possible fetch you a higher selling price in the long run.
When it comes to non-NFT tokens, look out for clubs that offer meaningful benefits to token holders. Some provide more rewarding benefits than others, so the decision to buy expensive or cheap NFTs is not based solely on the monetary value of the assets. But with the technology of blockchain being more user-driven, fans are demanding football clubs to offer better perks than just being able to vote on minor issues like what song to play or outfit to wear during events.
Football clubs (and former players) are slowly adopting the technology as a new channel to reach their fans and expand market reach. NFTs have presented a golden opportunity for fans to get closer to their favourite teams and players through digital offerings and their attached utilities.
Just like with any investment, there might be downsides to just putting your money into any random NFT or fan token. The aforementioned John Terry Ape Kids FC NFTs saw a 90% plunge in value recently, possibly due to legal issues stemming from potential trademark violations.
Socios, the fan token platform that promises to give fans a say in their club, launched to great fanfare too, but a report by the Athletic revealed that most of the chatter around the club coins came from groups of investors rather than real fans.
Indeed, while fans might have hoped to be heard regarding genuine club issues they care about like match tactics and transfer deals, they have only been asked to contribute on trivial matters like match-day song choices and social media designs so far.
Football fans are spoilt for choice when it comes to NFTs and fan tokens these days, with potentially more to come given the English Premier League are currently exploring ways to launch their own NFTs.
We would recommend a modicum of caution and ample research before diving head first into NFTs and digital tokens. Be selective over what you purchase, and be sure to understand how those digital tokens can benefit you down the road. But of course, making a purchase for the pure sake of fandom is fine too, as long as you understand beforehand what you’re getting into.