The English soccer team, Crawley Town FC, a professional soccer team, signed a midfielder after an NFT vote which took place on the 15th of June through a verified discord channel.
Fan Based Decision Making
The June 15 vote was the first time a team decision was open to fans, and it was through a temporary Discord channel for verified NFT holders. Nearly 1,000 fans who buy season tickets also had their votes counted.
Preston Johnson, a co-owner of Crawley Town and a former gambling analyst for ESPN, told the Daily Mail on Thursday how important it is to be able to give fans a stake in the club through NFTs:
“A lot of NFT projects are just ideas that don’t have a real backbone or narrative. Have a team to cheer for each week? That’s a backbone that most fans hold on to.”
“If we can bring that to this crypto audience, especially if we can get promoted and move up in the English football league, then it’s an even bigger story that fans from all over the world can be a part of,” he said.
After the vote, Crawley Town announced last week that they had signed a new player. He is 20-year-old midfielder Jayden Davis for free after he had a good trial with the club.
Crawley Town FC and WAGMI Partnership Exploits.
Crawley Town plays in League Two, which is the fourth level of professional leagues. In April, the US crypto and Web3 company WAGMI United donated about $20 million to the team.
The long-term goal of the company is to get Crawley Town to the same level as Liverpool F.C. and Manchester City play in England’s top league, the English Premier League (EPL).
More than 30 investors own WAGMI. They include big names like entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuck and the president of basketball operations for the Philadelphia 76ers, Darly Moery.
In June, WAGMI United released new Crawley Town jerseys that users can buy through its NFTs. The tokens also gave fans key bonuses like voting for player transfers, getting free Adidas merchandise, and invitations to exclusive events in real life and online.
WAGMI United started with 10,000 NFTs, and the company’s website reports that there are still 1933 that you can “mint” for 0.35 Ether (ETH), which is worth about $600 at the time of writing.
Other Football Clubs adopting Fan-based Governance
Other companies, like Socios, have come up with their strategy to get fans involved by licensing fan tokens with professional teams that they’re in partnership with. The company gives fans who own fan tokens perks like VIP events, meet-and-greets, collectibles, and Socios merchandise. However, fans don’t get to vote on their favorite teams, which is a big downside.
The prices of Socios fan tokens are also very unstable and based on speculation. This has led to a lot of criticism from soccer fans, worried that fans will lose money while also making money off of their fandom.
UEFA’s decision in February to sign a three-year partnership with Socios appalled organized groups who cited the same reasons.