New research also reveals which fan tokens are the most popular — and identifies two tokens that have witnessed even bigger gains than Bitcoin over the past year.
Football fans have spent more than $350 million on crypto tokens issued by their favorite clubs, according to new figures.
Analysis by Protos and BBC News
sheds new light on demand for this new type of cryptocurrency — with dozens of top-flight clubs launching their own, including eight teams from England's Premier League.
It's fair to say these digital assets have proven controversial. While the tokens have been touted as a way of giving fans access to exclusive perks, critics argue that these benefits are pretty poor — such as the chance to vote on which songs are played in stadiums.
Clubs have also been accused of using these tokens to generate even more revenue from their devoted fans. The price volatility seen in these assets has also caused alarm.
The research reveals that fan tokens linked to Manchester City and Lazios have generated the most sales to date — but at the same time, both have suffered the sharpest drop in value, down 70% since their launch.
But in a sign that the markets can be exceedingly unpredictable, two fan tokens — one for Inter Milan and another for the Turkish team Trabzonspor — have actually seen their values surge more than Bitcoin this year.
Protos director of news David Canellis went on to allege that clubs typically control 80% of the supply of their fan tokens — and this has the potential to distort the market.
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The relationship between the crypto industry and the sporting world has grown ever closer over recent years.
Beyond fan tokens, a number of sporting organizations — including the NBA
— have launched marketplaces for non-fungible tokens. The NFTs offer memorable "moments" from past games, with some selling for hundreds of thousands of dollars. Other sports, including the NFL
, are planning to launch their own platforms.
Sponsorship has also become a growing opportunity, with Crypto.com recently entering into
a multi-year deal that will see the Staples Center rebranded as the Crypto.com Arena later this month. It's been reported this deal was worth a cool $700 million
And as 2022 comes into focus, it seems inevitable that sports organizations will take a particular interest in the business opportunities presented by the metaverse, too.
Deloitte recently revealed that it expects the sales of sports NFTs to double
next year, with transaction volumes exceeding $2 billion.
A number of top athletes
are now receiving their salaries in Bitcoin too. Some are also promoting exchanges, offering BTC giveaways