The Spanish sports powerhouse Football Club (FC) Barcelona has announced plans to launch their own NFTs, cryptocurrency, and increase their involvement with the metaverse.
FC Barcelona President Joan Laporta explained how the football organization (soccer for you Americans) plans to leverage technologies like blockchain, NFTs, and the metaverse to spur growth and ensure long-term company stability and viability.
FC BARCELONA WILL USE NFTS TO EXPAND HORIZONS
FC Barcelona is one of the next major corporations to get their feet wet in the digital world of crypto and blockchain. The sporting institution, which has existed for over 120 years, is hoping to “get with the times” and adapt itself to the digital world.
According to mobileworldlive.com, Joan Laporta mentioned that they had plans to launch an NFT project, but didn’t give any more details than that.
“We are innovative in the use and adaptation of technologies and we will continue to be so,” Laporta said. “In recent times there has been a lot of attention to blockchain products and services such as NFTs and metaverse … We should be able to offer digital products to our members and fans that will align with the value of the club and generate a very interesting emotional experience.”
FC Barcelona is hoping to revamp its Camp Nou stadium by embracing this new technology, in order to enhance sustainability and diversify their assets.
“We want to generate new opportunities for growth,” Laporta mentioned, “Our goal is to win titles and to make our fans happy, but we also have to profit from opportunities in the sports industry. It is a matter of survival”.
The use of the word “survival” seems particularly important in analyzing their decision to enter into the blockchain world.
INITIALLY SKEPTICS, NOW PROSPECTIVE INVESTORS
FC Barcelona’s decision to integrate blockchain and crypto technologies with their business model may come as a surprise to those who have been following the company for a while.
According to ledgerinsights.com, FC Barcelona initially had a deal with Ownix, a cryptocurrency and NFT auction house company. However, in November of last year, they canceled the deal, due to crypto fraud allegations of individuals who were involved with setting up the deal.
Afterwards, FC Barcelona decided to distance itself from the crypto space for a little while to allow things to cool down.
Shortly after ending the deal, Laporta commented, “It is a speculative, risky, highly variable and unethical sector”. It would seem that he wanted fans to know that he was wary of fraud, and that FC Barcelona would not become a bad example.
However, as time passed, it seemed like FC Barcelona thought it was safe to dip their toes into crypto and the blockchain again. After all, the potential for profiting from crypto and blockchain-related businesses was growing bigger and bigger, and they might’ve felt as if they were missing out.
It may also have been possible that they wanted full ownership of any kind of project they’d use to explore the blockchain, rather than take a deal with another firm and split profits. This could also be another reason why they walked out on the crypto partnership with Ownix, in addition to avoiding fraud accusations.
As Laporta said, “We do not have big corporations or shareholders behind us. That forces us to be imaginative, innovative, brave and be a step ahead in many areas that surround the sports industry”.
This statement brings similar sentiments to their previous statement about “survival”, so walking out on the Ownix deal may have been a necessary decision to stay afloat.
BLOCKCHAIN OPPORTUNITIES: TOO GOOD TO PASS UP
The practice of using blockchains, crypto, and NFTs to promote sports and increase fan participation is quickly growing in popularity, although it’s still a very new concept. Even some of the biggest names in sports, like the NBA and the NFL, have started to use them to increase revenue.
As reported by techmonitor.ai, Lapota explained, “We want to develop our metaverse, our NFTs and all of these new business [opportunities] that appear in our world,” during his Mobile World Congress 2022 keynote. “There has been a lot of attention [on] blockchain products and services such as NFTs and metaverse. We all know that the digital world will play a very important role in the coming year. We will soon be able to offer digital products to our members, to our fans [and] the fans of e-sports.”
FC Barcelona will leverage the metaverse to boost its esports teams’ accessibility to fans and improve their online video experiences. According to Laporta, the club’s audio-visual team, Barca Studios, is building the club’s metaverse, as well as producing materials to sell later. FC Barcelona players will also be in the metaverse, though it is unclear what the club’s plans are for them at this time.
While the metaverse and NFTs are both getting a lot of press right now, can they truly become a long-term revenue stream for football clubs like FC Barcelona?
“At the moment, this is an unknown,” says Conrad Wiacek, GlobalData’s head of sport analysis. “We’ve seen a few examples of NFTs being utilized in sport, but we haven’t scratched the surface of what it can accomplish from a tech standpoint.”
Only time will tell if these experiments will be worth it for FC Barcelona.