Portuguese side Benfica have become the latest major European club to release the digital asset, a fan token.
Benfica are the most successful club from Portugal, with 37 Primeira Liga titles to their name. They’re also one of just 13 clubs to have won the European Cup twice, picking up back-to-back victories in 1961 and 1962. They’ve only finished outside the top three in their domestic league twice since the turn of the century and only once outside the top five in 2001.
By adopting a fan token, they feel they are bringing their worldwide fanbase closer to the team. “At Benfica, we are committed to offering our supporters around the world, both members and fans, the best possible experience,” said Domingos Soares de Oliveira, the club’s CEO.
“We have been closely monitoring the digital asset space for a long time, and we have decided that Socios.com is the best partner to develop the Benfica Fan Token, with which we hope to bring our large global community of supporters a little closer to the team.”
The Eagles, who have recently sold striker Darwin Nunez to Liverpool, join a host of other major teams by partnering with Socios and releasing a fan token. The product is gaining traction worldwide, with teams in Mexico even joining the crypto-backed project recently.
Alexandre Dreyfus, CEO of Chiliz and Socios.com, said of the Benfica news: “We are happy to welcome Benfica, the biggest club in the history of Portuguese football. We can’t wait to start offering their millions of fans new opportunities to interact with the team and new ways to experience their passion for Benfica”.
Fan tokens are a method clubs use to drive engagement with supporters who may otherwise not feel connected to the club. Backed by the cryptocurrency Chiliz, they are a digital asset that gives owners a chance to have a say on club matters and feel closer to decisions. Examples include Paris St Germain letting fans choose a message on the captain’s armband and Juventus giving them a chance to vote on the new goal celebration song.
A fan token also rises (or falls) in value depending on how your team is doing. PSG saw the value of their token increase when they signed Lionel Messi, not least because he was partly paid in the cryptocurrency. AC Milan fans also saw their tokens increase in value when they won Serie A this season, and that came after a successful launch just weeks earlier.
Of course, there’s a financial benefit for those clubs selling fan tokens; Milan initially raised $6m when their fan token dropped earlier in the year, which is around £4.9m and clubs like Barcelona and Manchester City have seen their finances improve by the token’s release. Technically, a fan token is a digital asset, so owners could buy and sell it if desired in the same way they do with other cryptocurrencies. However, they are not marketed as an investment opportunity but as unique pieces of digital memorabilia that help unite global fans with the clubs they love.
Whilst Benfica are the latest major European team to release a token, Socios are targeting the American market. Chivas and Atlas in Mexico have recently released their tokens, whilst the company have set up a New York office, seemingly hoping to break into US sports. Whether that means Major League Soccer clubs or football of the egg-shaped kind remains to be seen, but one thing is certain; fan tokens go from strength to strength.
Sports journalist, content writer and passionate football lover.