Fan Tokens: What the BBC Got Wrong


George Hammick

The BBC recently published an article ‘Clubs promoting NFTs pose 'risk' to fans, MPs warn’.

The article primarily criticises fan tokens, which are actually not NFTs but rather a fungible token product offered by @Socios, a single company.

Fan tokens have generally been unsuccessful in engaging fans in a meaningful way.

This is not a technological issue, but an execution problem.

Negative experiences and underperforming tokens have alienated fan bases and created a negative perception of the technology.

Some clubs view partnering with Socios as an opportunity for quick financial gain. Clearly, this is the incorrect way to leverage the technology.

We believe that providing fans with tokens can be highly beneficial for both parties. Tokens enable Clubs to easily identify and engage true fans through token-gated experiences and can be a tool to reward fans for their loyalty.

However, the fact that over 100 teams have partnered with Socios is not a wasted opportunity to engage fans using web3 technology.

Teams can still identify their loyal fans based on their fan token holdings and take a more personalised approach to designing loyalty schemes tailored to their specific fan bases.

We advocate for an approach similar to Starbucks, where fans do not need to buy into the loyalty program (P2P), but instead benefit from engaging with their favourite teams in ways they were already doing (F2P), with additional engaging experiences designed by the teams themselves rather than by a third party.

In this way, your status and fandom are a product of your engagement with your favourite team and fellow fans, as opposed to the amount of money you spent buying tokens.