When he talks to clubs across Europe who want to launch NFTs, their primary concern is money. “The first thing is, ‘Oh, we want to make millions of pounds overnight,'” Mangnall says. It could be membership, it could be rewards, it could be something as simple as a ticket. It’s not about that much revenue.”
Everything is retarded. NFTs and blockchains are infrastructure, not investments – buying an expensive digital asset because it’s an NFT is like rushing into buying a new batch for your team because you can pay with Visa, or because it’s delivered by DHL. “I think one of the big misunderstandings is framing NFTs as a space or a market or a category, which it isn’t. It’s just technology,” Julia says. It’s bad for the fans.”
It’s the interest that counts, and that’s something that has unfortunately been forgotten in the scramble to speculate. “You don’t get that from football clubs because football clubs don’t realize the level of work they do,” says Mangnall. “It’s a product that, at the end of the day, you sell to your fans. Treat your fans like fans. Don’t treat them like consumers.”
Early blockchain-based sports projects like Sorare worked hard to decomplicate the crypto world: you could pay by credit card, without worrying about secure wallets and gas fees. Some new projects are putting in very little effort to do so – as if the only reason they exist is to draw the vast community of football fans into the cryptocurrency world, to keep liquidity flowing, and to prevent the bottom from falling.
Due to the complexity In the cryptocurrency market — the highly volatile cost of doing business on Ethereum, and the risk of being scammed either by hackers or by the people selling you NFTs in the first place — you have to wonder if it’s worth the headache. Ask the founders of blockchain-based sports projects why the utility they provide cannot be provided with a member area on a website, accessible via an email address and password, and the answers are predictable.
Jorge Urrutia del Pozo, head of football at Dapper Labs, which runs highly successful partnerships with the NBA and has signed deals with Spain’s La Liga, Germany’s Bundesliga, and Serie A to launch digital holdings. “It allows audiences to track and verify the authenticity and rarity of their digital holdings, unleashing experiences previously unattainable in other environments.”
Maybe we’ll get there. There is a world where blockchain enables higher levels of “fan engagement” – supporters happily exchanging digital assets that unlock real experiences that bring them closer to their clubs. There was a speculative phase. “We feel it is much more vibrant and healthy now,” says Michael Bohana, Sotheby’s Co-Head of Digital Art Sales, who helped launch the Barcelona NFT project, as well as a project for Liverpool FC.