Liverpool rejects sponsorship deal worth millions of USD
English Premier League, EPL side has rejected a sponsorship deal valued at millions
Liverpool is reported to have rejected potentially tens of millions worth of sponsorship from fan token firms, the ECHO reports.
The Reds have made a move into the NFT market with their link up with famous auction house Sotheby’s, in collaboration with Nike, where collectible digital artwork will be able to be purchased by fans over a three-day period with a price point of around £56.
It is a move that has been controversial among some elements of the Reds fan base due to the polarising views that exist around NFTs in the football marketplace.
The move into NFTs (non-fungible tokens) was done after canvassing fan opinion via questionnaires as well as engaging with the Spirit of Shankly supporters group and assessing how football and NFTs had come together over the past 12 to 18 months.
Many of the top sports leagues in world sport have either gone into NFT partnerships or are set to, the same applied to major clubs across sport.
The nature of potential price volatility in NFTs has been in the spotlight, where values can surge and plummet like the value of stocks.
The impact on the environment has also been scrutinised due to the amount of energy used to mint NFTs on the blockchain, and club have linked up with an what is claimed to be an energy efficient blockchain in Polygon and believe that the long history of Sotheby’s sees them partner with a market leader that they believe is a sustainable platform for the longer term.
But one of the things that was made clear to the Reds during consultations around NFTs was that of fan tokens, something that has flooded the football market place since the onset of the pandemic two years ago through firms such as Socios.
Fan token firms offer supporters the chance to buy tokens to have a say on non-key club issues and events, such as what music could be played during the pre-match build up.
Firms such as Socios have been able to fill a gap in commercial revenue for clubs during the pandemic and clubs such as Inter Milan went in heavily into the blockchain technology.
Other clubs in the Premier League, Serie A, La Liga and Ligue 1 have fan token schemes in place, albeit at differing levels.
Last year West Ham United supporters forced their club into a U-turn over a Socios partnership.
The criticisms of firms such as Socios in football has focused on the monetisation of fan engagement and what is seen as the trivialisation of cryptocurrency investments. Socios, for example, is propped up by Chiliz crypto, and with fan tokens having previously been accused of ‘pump and dump’ methods, where their value is artificially inflated before crashing, there have been concerns around the increase in clubs looking to fan tokens.
The ECHO understands that Liverpool have been approached over the last 18 months by fan token firms wishing to enter into an agreement with the club.
The club’s stance has remained that it does not wish to enter the fan token market, nor does it have any intention to in its current guise. Such a decision means that Liverpool have had to leave several million pounds on the table in potential commercial revenue.
Spirit of Shankly had previously told the ECHO : “The Socios model attempts to monetise fan engagement which the leagues and clubs have committed to doing for free.
“There should be no financial barriers to engaging with your football club. SOS oppose anything which is a clear attempt to monetise football’s responsibility to properly engage with representative fans’ groups and their concerns.”