The English Premier League is said to be considering a partnership with a cryptocurrency platform that provides non-fungible tokens (NFT), according to The Times.
Minutes of the most recent meeting between the Premier League and fan representatives reveal the league is considering getting involved in NFTs, with sources saying the League’s approach will be “slow and cautious,” and different from the fan engagement model provided by a platform such as Socios, The Times reported Monday.
Several Premier League teams have launched tokens on the Socios platform, which fans can purchase to receive prizes, access special experiences or vote on minor club decisions.
The Premier League may instead be looking to follow in the footsteps of Spain’s La Liga, which partnered with French digital soccer collectibles platform Sorare in September to offer NFTs of all players in the league for fans to trade and play in fantasy tournaments.
Across the pond in the U.S. , the National Basketball Association and National Football League both have deals to create officially licensed NFTs through Dapper Labs, while Major League Baseball has partnered with Topps.
Investigating crypto’s ties to the Premier League
The minutes of the recent meeting also reveal the Premier League will investigate the growing links between Premier League clubs and crypto companies, with Chief Executive Richard Masters “committed to looking into the issue.”
Watford’s official shirt sponsor is crypto betting firm Stake.com, which also includes the dogecoin logo adorning the players’ shirt sleeves. Meanwhile, Southampton’s training uniform is sponsored by educational side Learn Crypto, which itself is partly funded by Watford’s previous sponsor, crypto-friendly online betting platform Sportsbet.io. Crypto exchange CoinJar is also one of the sponsors of Brentford.
Fan representatives have expressed concern that the visibility of such companies around Premier League clubs will draw fans to invest in crypto and lead them to lose their money. The representatives say the industry is unregulated and therefore lacks consumer protection.
It is possible that crypto companies will fill the void following the pending ban on gambling companies sponsoring Premier League clubs’ shirts.
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