Crawley Town FC release NFT-only football strip and mull giving token owners say over transfers
League two division Crawley Town is to become the first English football club to launch an NFT-only football strip, while the club’s own new NFT will also act as a season ticket for all overseas fans.
The Sussex-based team was acquired by US crypto currency investors WAGMI United in April which has announced that it wants to ‘shake up the status quo’ and showcase a modern approach to ownership, experimenting with Web3, crypto and NFTs, to generate new revenue streams for the club.
The club will make a third kit available exclusively to those who invest in the club’s NFT (or non fungible token) and have said that for overseas owners they will act as a virtual season ticket.
Crawley co-owner Preston Johnson told i this weekend that the move to launch a third virtual kit “hits the spot where we think it will be extremely profitable for the club”.
The club plans to ‘drop’ the NFT next month and says that the tokens may also offer owners the opportunity to play a part in how the club is run.
One of the ideas the group is mooting is having NFT owners decide how part of the transfer budget is spent.
“An example is in January if we have £200,000 to spend in the transfer window,” Johnson told i.
He added: “We’ve seen us playing for a couple of months, we have an idea of where our strengths and weaknesses lie and we have season ticket holders and NFT holders and we give them a vote on how we distribute those funds in the transfer window.”
While the thought of fans having a real life say in transfer windows may scare some people, Johnson argued that fans needed some kind of genuine ‘buy in’ if they were going to spent their money on tokens “rather than just voting on whether it’s Pepsi or Coke being served in the stands like [fan token platform] Socios”.
Johnson was also critical of Liverpool FC’s much maligned foray into NFTs in April, with the Reds selling only 10,000 out of a potential 171,000 NFTs.
While total sales reached £1.125m (with over £280,000 going to its LFC Foundation charity) if they had sold every single token they would have made £8m.
Many fans were also not happy with the move and accused the club of trying to exploit them. Johnson said that he was very mindful of recent football club NFT failures.
“The exploitative nature of, say Liverpool, trying to sell 175,000 NFTs to their fans who don’t want NFTs and don’t really know what they are and are already asking for money from them for other things is not lost on me,” he said.
“For us it’s almost the reverse strategy. We’re trying to take a professional club to an audience that already loves NFTs. Our NFTs are more like virtual season tickets. They’re not items we’re trying to sell to local fans. As you saw with Liverpool, it’s not an efficient way to go about it,” Johnson added.
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