How blockchain could revolutionise the football industry.
Welcome to the new weekly blog on all things football. I’m Tom Long, a football marketing consultant and business development executive with 8 years experience of everything football. I’ll share my experiences, tips and my thoughts on developing topics in football. Please, please, please remember to like, comment, share and subscribe.
I’ll start by saying I’m neither a tech expert or futurist, but, I am deeply intrigued about the possibilities of blockchain and its application in sports.
First of all we need to understand the purpose of the blockchain model and why it was created…
In brief, there are 3 fundamental aspects to blockchain.
1) to de-centralize information or data,
2) to offer complete transparency,
How does it work?
Let’s try and use a simple explanation. Take for example a piece of paper, on the paper is important information. The text is sensitive and needs to be kept secure. The document contains personal health data or transaction information. You could store the piece of paper in an office safe or larger organisations may even use an off-site storage centre. Even after taking all the steps to secure the document it is not entirely secure. A number of outcomes could still lead to your information being lost, stolen or destroyed. But, what if there was a way of shredding this piece of paper into millions of tiny pieces and spread each piece out across the world digitally. Accessible at any time through the click of a button. Well, in a nutshell that’s basically what blockchain is. Technology that allows information to be de-centralized and stored across the internet. Furthermore, there’s no more need to worry about hackers and expensive data centres. Information or data can be accessed by your personal devices through apps or dedicated software.
How can this be applied to the football industry.
A number of creative start-ups have been playing around with concepts from e-ticketing, fan tokens, copyright management and voting rights. Let’s take a deeper look at some of the products and services available right now.
socios.com (based upon the Spanish socio football concept of fan ownership) is blockchain deck providing a fan app where fans can earn or buy digital currency which can be exchanged for their favourite teams merchandise. The more fans interact through the platform the more access they have to privileges such as voting on clubs matters. Similar to the pokemon game in which fans can visit different location such as club stores or stadiums and collect digital tokens which can later be exchange on the socios platform.
UEFA used a blockchain system combined with bluetooth to provide an e-ticketing service for the 2018 Europa Cup final. UEFA stated that 100% of e-tickets were allocated correctly and are currently developing the system further to increase the distribution system for future events.
vSport Chain provide a number of products ranging from payment services, copyright management and predication markets. vSport Chain also bagged themselves ex professional footballer Wesley Sneijder as a director.
Blockchain Football though not a fully completed product, though, still worth a mention. Where fantasy football/Football Manager meets Cryptocurrency. A decentralised football ecosystem where virtual football teams play one another based on the stats of real players.
Where is this leading us to?
Difficult to predict the impact blockchain may have on the industry. Football is traditionally resistant to technology (think VAR/goal line cameras) and a complete overhaul of tradition functions such as the transfer market and player registrations may take time and serious backing in order to develop. Though, blockchain will have more effect in the short term with fan engagement allowing distant supporters more input and participation in clubs matters and access to content.
Please contact me for more information about what blockchain services or products are available for your club or organisation.