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Thirteen National Football League teams are making arrangements with blockchain company Socios to boost fan engagement.
Shortly after the New England Patriots dabbled into crypto affairs, other NFL clubs took to similar pursuits. Thirteen clubs are lined up to enter a partnership deal with Socios. This includes the Los Angeles Chargers, Miami Dolphins, San Francisco 49ers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, New York Giants, and others.
In Europe, Socios has developed a reputation in sports as a fan token provider. Back in February, they entered into a contract with the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA). Besides UEFA, they have partnered with many big European clubs like Manchester United, Arsenal, Barcelona, and Paris St. Germain.
Regardless of its history of providing fan tokens native to sports outfits, Socios will not be providing any in the new deals. This is due to clear prohibitions by the National Football League body itself. Socios is however suggesting this might change soon.
Friction with US Crypto-Sports Deals
While Socios has had a deal of success in Europe, its presence in the United States has been limited. Stringent regulations against crypto in the US discourage the type of partnerships it would like to have, which is mainly providing fan tokens to clubs. As a result, the blockchain company has often resolved to offer other services like fan engagements and club publicity to American outfits.
However, a recent statement by Socios CEO, Alexandre Dreyfus, shows Socios’s determination to face the difficult regulatory situation. According to Dreyfus, the regulations in the United States aren’t as clear as those in other world regions. Many enterprises have started figuring out how to work around these policies to release products. In the same vein, Socio looks to develop solutions for NFL teams.
Though the United States is generally a tough market, NFL specifically has one of the most conflicting relationships with crypto. In September 2021, the league prohibited club partnerships involving crypto and non-fungible tokens (NFTs). However, it later eased the ban in March, allowing only sponsorship deals. Even within the sponsorship deal pass, a caveat existed, the league disallowed the promotion of certain crypto platforms.
Despite the regulations, some entities under the league are still involved in NFTs in one form or another. In November, the league experimented with the tokenization of tickets. Additionally, some NFL stars have explored personal NFT projects.
Besides soccer and football, Socios also have their eyes on other opportunities in sports. In October, they announced partnership deals with 24 National Basketball Association teams. Since then, 4 more basketball clubs have joined the list.
Removing Bias with Crypto Awareness
Socios Chief Strategy Officer Max Rabinovitch also has similar viewpoints to Dreyfus. Rabinovitch believes many sports bodies are enthusiastic about integrating cryptocurrency into their administration. However, most are hesitant to be the first to take it up. On the other hand, he mentioned that education was key to getting others to follow.
We have all these amazing partnerships,” says Rabinovitch, “and the promise and the plan is we’re going to leverage all of these to educate mainstream U.S. sports fans and North American sports fans on what we do, so that’s what we have to do now.”