West Ham has become the first Premier League club to partner with fan engagement and tokenization platform Socios.com.
The Socios.com mobile app allows football fans to acquire a voting stake in their club by purchasing, earning or hunting for ‘fan tokens’. These enable them to have their say in club decisions, earn club rewards and compete for premium experiences.
A spokesperson for Socios.com told SportBusiness that West Ham fans will be able to buy tokens through the Socios app at the start of the 2019-20 season and trade them as they go up and down in value based on market demand. The club and platform will each derive a small percentage from each sale and then an ongoing transaction fee when tokens are traded. The tokens will be in value of Socios’ native cryptocurrency Chilliz which fans can convert back into regular currency.
While the partnership is in its infancy, West Ham is likely to offer fans the opportunity to vote on soft polls, such as man-of-the match awards and has the option to make business-critical votes non-binding. It is at the club’s discretion whether Fan Token holders will be allowed to vote on more radical decisions such as player selection or commercial strategy further down the line.
“We’re a big believer in digital here at West Ham United and in particular utilising the opportunities that digital presents to us to engage with our fans around the world in new and innovative ways,” Karim Virani, digital and commercial director, West Ham United, told SportBusiness.
“The vision and plan Socios.com have for their platform is extremely impressive and all stems from wanting to create ways for fans to feel closer to their club than ever before – something all football clubs are trying to get better at. We already interact and listen to fans globally through a number of ways online and absolutely see this as another way for us to build further engagement with those communities around the world, whether they are here in East London or somewhere further afield.”
West Ham is the third football club to partner with Socios, joining Ligue 1 side Paris Saint-Germain and Serie A’s Juventus.
Alexandre Dreyfus, chief executive and founder of Socios.com said: “Having a club like West Ham United adopt fan voting is a big step in realising our goal of building the world’s biggest global football community and marketplace for football fans, alongside demonstrating that blockchain and cryptocurrency is the trusted technology of the mainstream. We will be announcing more European partners very soon, with more Premier League clubs set to follow West Ham’s lead in creating the best-in-class fan engagement.”