The journey of new technology to mass adoption is always bumpy. Blockchain seems to be the new word on the lips of tech-savvy entrepreneurs, but how can it be applied in a way that is beneficial to the world of communication and marketing?
Many people are comparing the current evolution of blockchain technology in the mid-1990s, when the world was wary of Internet development. It was then an unknown concept, difficult to explain. People were skeptical about how this new computer network would have impacted their lives and whether the Internet would ever offer enough benefits to overcome all the privacy issues it presented.
In 1995 Newsweek published an infamous article stating: "The truth is that no online database will replace your daily, no CD-ROM can take the place of a competent teacher and no computer network will change the way the government works." Oh, how can we laugh now, but ahead of 23 years we will see the same skepticism about the blockchain as a "fashion".
Here, Lucy Mart, director of sports and lifestyle of the PR agency of sports networks PrettyGreen and Alex Dreyfus, CEO and founder of the fan voting platform, Socios.com explains how they believe the tokenization of the blockchain is going to stages of sports marketing.
At a basic level, blockchain technology and tokenization (currently a term reserved for cryptographic space), can be applied virtually to any sector in which there is a transfer of resources. The creation of digital tokens can be used to represent participation in any imaginable business and the benefits of doing so include lower transaction costs, transparency, more liquidity and shared ownership models.
Tokenization has already been embraced by a wide range of industrial sectors, from agriculture to photography, mainly due to the innovative and transparent nature of technology, but how can blockchain be applied to sports marketing?
2018 saw the football world begin a serious experimentation with blockchain. Clubs and football institutions are committed to understanding and embracing blockchain technology, through changes to ticketing systems, partnership and sponsorship agreements and even the purchase of clubs and players.
UEFA has recently confirmed that it has implemented a blockchain-based ticketing system as part of a phased implementation. Tickets for the UEFA Super Cup match between Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid have been successfully distributed to mobile phones via blockchain technology, with the aim of simplifying and making the process of selling games more secure.
The advantages of tokenization
Blockchain brings an unprecedented level of transparency to sports marketing that can benefit rights holders, sponsors, fans, players and other stakeholders, with potential benefits such as the elimination of illegal ticket sales practices and the sale of sporting goods counterfeit as a real possibility.
And a symbolic economy is certainly in line with UEFA's anti-counterfeiting initiatives in 2017 to combat corruption, fraud and money laundering, and blockchain can undoubtedly help (and ensure accuracy) with their directive to European clubs to disclose information on how many teams are spending the salaries of the players and the commissions to the agents.
How a symbolic economy can increase fan engagement
Socios.com has recently announced that it will collaborate with the best French and Italian football teams, Paris Saint-Germain and Juventus, to develop a mobile blockchain voting platform as part of their fan engagement strategies.
Socios.com is taking advantage of blockchain technology with the specific goal of increasing the engagement between a football team and its fans, in particular building global rather than regional fan bases, which will inevitably increase marketing opportunities for the club and his partners.
The tokenisation of the football industry via blockchain will create an ecosystem whereby fans can buy a branded token in order to enter a network of fans on a par with shared passions and beliefs. Every fan who holds a club token will have access to exclusive services, ensuring that their voices are heard by the clubs they love, through voting rights on certain club decisions, through the Socos.com mobile voting platform.
Although the ownership of tokens provides fans with access to exclusive content and experiences, rights holders and sponsors can also benefit from tokenization as a revolutionary new model of investment and capital generation; a model that provides a decentralized but short-regulated system for the propagation of funds.
What is clear, is that blockchain and the token economy provides solutions to many marketing problems that arise today in the sports industry. Through the creation of a blockchain path to football, organizations such as Socios.com can collectively educate and inform the millions of fans around the world that this technology will bring them closer to their favorite clubs and teams, while at the same time relevant blockchain for rights holders and sponsors as a valuable traditional digital tool for engagement, just as the internet is today.
Written by Lucy Mart, director of sports and lifestyle, PrettyGreen and Alex Dreyfus, CEO and founder of Socios.com