NFTs conquer football | WIRED UKFGN News


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Since fan tokens are usually pegged to Bitcoin, their value has fluctuated wildly, and in the race for money, clubs haven’t always done a good job of educating their supporters about the risks. Arsenal, whose fan token has lost more than 80% of its value since its launch, was censored by the UK’s Advertising Standards Authority, which found that the club was “trivializing investing in crypto-assets and took advantage of consumers’ inexperience or credulity”.

That all changed after the success of “profile picture projects” like the Bored Ape Yacht Club. “When you actually look at the projects that have been launched in football, most of them are just these PFP images with nothing really behind them,” says Tim Mangnall, CEO of sports-focused NFT agency Capital Block, who worked with Turkish clubs Galatasaray and Trabzonspor, as well as AS Monaco and Legia Warsaw. “Last year is when it really started to kick off,” he says. “It was just money pumped in, and it was unrealistic growth that we saw. Now we’ve come back to reality and a lot of these projects are cutting budgets and laying people off.”

Initially, football-based NFT projects claimed to at least offer something tangible: meetings with players, match tickets, access to exclusive content. As the market exploded, it became a world of vaporware and carpet grips. “When you were buying trading cards or baseball cards back then, you didn’t know it was going to go up as much as it did, but you bought it out of love,” says Mangnall. “Too many people now try to build their entire campaign around speculative pricing, and obviously the world doesn’t really work that way.”

When approaching clubs across Europe looking to launch NFTs, their main concern is money. “The number one thing is, ‘Oh, we want to make millions of pounds overnight,’” Mangnall says. “There’s a real problem in the industry because there’s poor education, and there’s a misunderstanding in the market of what an NFT is. It can be memberships, it can be rewards, it can be something as simple as a ticket, it’s not about those big earnings.

Everything is upside down. NFTs and blockchain are infrastructure, not investments. Buying an expensive digital asset because it’s an NFT is like rushing to buy your team’s new kit because you can pay by Visa or because it’s delivered by DHL. “I think a big misunderstanding has been to define NFTs as a space or a market or a category, and it’s not. It’s just a technology,” says Julia. “When you have booming technology like this attracts people who are here for the wrong reasons, who don’t think long term. It’s bad for the fans.

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