Top Spanish Side Join Fan Token Revolution
Top La Liga side Real Sociedad have become the latest team to release a fan token, seeking to connect with their supporters.
Fan tokens are a method of engaging with supporters via a digital asset, which can be bought and sold. They’ve proven popular across Europe, with big clubs such as AC Milan releasing fan tokens and raising significant funds. As well as benefitting the clubs, fan tokens offer supporters unique opportunities to vote on club matters, engage with their team and even compete for special prizes.
Jokin Aperribay, president of Real Sociedad, told Marca about the decision: “We continue to be competitive thanks to partnerships like this one with Socios.com. It is important for Real Sociedad to be present on a platform where the big clubs are already present, both at European and world level.
“We continue to advance in our constant process of digitalisation, trying to be a reference and reaching new markets. It is a reality that technology is changing our lives and at Real Sociedad we do not want to be oblivious to this.”
Other La Liga clubs, such as Barcelona, have already released their Socios fan token and seen the financial benefits. Other major European heavyweights, such as Paris St Germain, Manchester City and Juventus, have also put out a token, meaning Real Sociedad are joining an elite list of clubs.
Backed by the cryptocurrency Chiliz, fan tokens can rise and fall in value, but they’re not marketed as an investment. Unlike other digital assets such as NFTs, fan tokens have real-world benefits and are fungible, meaning others have the same value. They’re becoming increasingly popular in football and other sports; eSports teams have adopted fan tokens, and the MMA company the UFC also has a fan token. By getting on board now, Sociedad have joined a growing list of sports to embrace the new technology.
Sociedad, who are bracing themselves for an Arsenal bid for Alexander Isak, often live in the shadow of their famous La Liga rivals Barcelona and Madrid, but they’re a strong force in Spain and Europe. They were promoted to La Liga in 2010 after three seasons in the second tier, the only three years they’ve not played in the top flight. They were champions of Spain in 1982, and they’ve only finished outside the top ten once since 2016.
Last season, they finished sixth in the table, meaning qualification for the Europa League group stages, the third time they competed in as many seasons. In 2020/21, they qualified for the round of 32, losing 4-0 on aggregate against Manchester United, whilst they lost the knockout playoff last season 5-3 on aggregate to RB Leipzig. Their best European performance came in the 1982/93 European Cup; after winning La Liga in 81/82, they went to the semi-finals, losing 3-2 against eventual champions Hamburg.
They’ll be hoping that their recent resurgence is part of them establishing themselves not as a force in Spain, which many feel they’ve always been, but as a significant player on the European stage. They join Barcelona, Valencia, Atletico Madrid, Sevilla and Levante as Spanish teams with fan tokens, and they’ll hope the move helps raise their profile further across the world.