FC Barcelona has launched a crypto-token in partnership with blockchain firm Chiliz. Called Barça Fan Tokens ($BAR), they will offer fans enhanced engagement with the main team and with the club as a whole. Essentially, it is a way for casual supporters to become ‘Superfans’, if you will. What does added engagement mean? Well, it means the fan will be allowed to vote in certain special polls and surveys on Chiliz’ mobile app, Socios.com, and get first preference when it comes to access to the players, VIP treatment during games, special lounge, access, to name but a few of them.
Priced at 2 Euros per token, it was assumed that it would take at least 48 hours for them to be sold out. So, it came as a massive surprise to everyone involved – and to others who weren’t – when they were not only sold out globally within 2 hours, but also when fans began trading each other for tokens. For those who may have thought of owning the shares of a football club but couldn’t because they were too pricey, the fan tokens provide another avenue of ‘ownership’ or perhaps oneness with the club.
Barcelona received $1.3 million in revenue. For the layman, this is over a million raised out of the ether, since the club have only had to offer certain intangibles to fans, beyond lounge access and hospitality.
Demand has far outstripped supply, and with that in mind, it’s a good bet that Barcelona will increase prices for future tokens and raise even more funding. In the time of a pandemic, prolonged lockdowns and facing the threat of an oncoming recession, Barcelona is one of the few clubs which has managed to pull through strongly and keep their position relatively unaffected. Fans from Columbia to Spain, fans have been trading tokens with each other, creating a market of their own.
The tokens went on auction globally and were sold out in less than 2 hours, bringing in $ 1.3 million in revenue. Expected to take around 48 hours to sell out, the demand far outstripped supply as ravenous fans purchased the tokens priced at 2 euros per $BAR.
Indeed, the tokens had gone on sale on the 22nd of June at around 11:00 UTC, and over 600,000 tokens were sold each at around $2.26 per token. The second auction on the 24th saw prices shoot up to around €6 (close to $6.72), and just under $2.5 million was traded in a span of 24 hours. We wouldn’t be surprised to see Barcelona capitalise on this revenue stream and generate more such tokens – and auctions – in the future. Not only does the club continue to play some beautiful football on field, they are scoring goals off-field as well.
To top it off, Barcelona has offered fans 3 options when it comes to the season tickets and the games they have missed out on. The first, and most obvious one, remains to refund the number of lost games to the fans. This itself will generate some goodwill for the club. The second, of course, is to reciprocate fans with future tickets, whenever stadiums reopen. And the last, perhaps most audacious one, appeals to the fans emotions, calling on them to forgo the money to help the club out for future transfer and to keep them competitive in the market. An appeal to the emotions while also ensuring that it is a choice – someone in the Barca management and PR team is doing a very good job indeed.
This, coupled with their crypto-token, has been a masterstroke of revenue generation and fan-engagement by FC Barcelona.