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Peak crypto? NFTs? Italian football teams up with blockchain group


Italian football club, S.S. Lazio, of the Italian league (Series A), has found itself with a new sponsor after signing a partnership agreement with cryptocurrency exchange, Binance. An unusual partnership it may be, nonetheless the deal was done and as stated on the club website, “SS Lazio SpA is pleased to announce a partnership agreement with Binance, which becomes the Club’s new Main Jersey Sponsor. Binance is a leading blockchain ecosystem and cryptocurrency infrastructure provider, with millions of users worldwide.”

The agreement will last for two years, with the option of a third year, and is worth over €30 million (US$34.8 million). Binance looks to be walking in the same footsteps of FTX and CryptoCom both of which have signed partnerships with several sports clubs in the last few months.

But why a football team?

The move by Binance appears to be a strategic move. Besides, the Binance logo appearing on Lazio’s tops, the team will also have the opportunity of becoming the first sports team to launch a fan token on Binance’s new fan token platform. The Binance Fan Token platform opens up a whole new world of interaction between sports crazy fans that can engage with their football heroes.

You may have heard of ‘Non-fungible tokens’ or NFTs. These are digital assets that use blockchain technology to record who owns a digital object such as an image. In the same way, Binance has developed a platform for ‘Fan tokens’ which are similar to cryptocurrencies and usually provide some ‘utility’ such as fan engagement in votes and the like.

As with Lazio, other sports teams can launch their fan tokens and do initial issuance through the Binance Launchpad. Fans can then trade fan tokens on the Binance exchange or use them to collect NFTs. They can even use the tokens to vote on certain decisions. The fan tokens could also give fans a chance of a one-on-one meeting with their favorite teams.

The main attraction for Binance is the rising interest in fan tokens. They are heavily traded, with levels much higher than seen in NFTs. According to CryptoSlam, the turnover of all NFTs for the last 30 days was $2.6 billion compared to $4.4 billion for all fan tokens. At the moment fan tokens are primarily based on football clubs and the sector is dominated by the crypto football app Socios. It  has also struck deals with NBA and NHL clubs.

According to the Binance website, it says its platform can be used to: “support the teams you love with Fan Tokens. Influence team decisions through Fan Voting Polls. Unlock Fan Badges to win special rewards and privileges. Be first to buy limited edition NFTs from your favorite teams and score experiences that money can’t buy with Fan Tokens.”

The partnership is a brilliant way for Binance to expand their digital offering and presence among the general public by connecting fans, followers and super stars from all over the world. While Lazio is the first sports team to launch its fan token on the fan token platform, Binance is expected to net in more teams to create a larger network for fans. So, from a competition point of view, Binance coming to the table will help promote Fan tokens on a much larger scale and has the money to support its ambitions.

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