In a world of rapidly evolving technology, you either have to catch up or stay ahead to maintain relevance in the space. Socios.com is aiming to be the latter.
Their goal, since the platform was announced back in June 2018, is to tap into two newer markets that, they feel, have a lot of potential for growth and can be paired with one another: sports/esports and cryptocurrency.
Most people can agree that increasing fan engagement and investment within esport is paramount to industry growth, but how do you actually make that happen? Socios.com (powered by Chiliz) is going for the most obvious method -- give fans financial methods to support.
How they plan to achieve that is by creating a gamified fan token economy where fans, both hardcore and casual, can influence the team’s decision-making process, over certain decisions in which the team choose to have fan input.
Socios.com have started by partnering with high-profile football clubs, like Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain, and according to founder and CEO , Alexandre Dreyfus, the potential is huge:
"Our long-term aim is to onboard more than 50 football clubs and we hope to inject an additional $300 million into the sports economy over the next few years. We have started at the very top, with some of the biggest names in football, and our ambition is to build the world's biggest global football community and marketplace for football fans alongside demonstrating that blockchain and cryptocurrency is the trusted technology of the mainstream."
Through fans purchasing “Fan Tokens,” Socios.com aims to allow teams and fans to grow together through their platform.
“Fan Tokens are specific to a team or a club, and are a finite, digital asset that provides access to an encrypted, immutable ledger of voting and membership rights ownership. The tokenized fan-voting platform uses Fan Tokens, which operate on a separate permissioned side chain. The Fan Tokens are limited in number, and are fungible, meaning their ownership can be traded, and their price is driven by the market. The platform is being developed to help sports teams increase fan engagement and achieve essential investment from fan-monetization. The venture was inspired by the fan-led management frameworks or 'socios' of some major football clubs. Dubbed 'Socios 2.0', the platform simply represents the digitization of this model of management,” said Dreyfus.
However, Socios.com isn’t limited to strictly traditional sports - their sights are set bigger.and their advisory board of esports experts include names just as big as their football partners.
A few individuals guiding Socios.com into the world of gaming are Wouter Sleijffers (CEO, Fnatic), Nicolas Maurer (CEO, Team Vitality) and Guy “Dr.Disrespect” Beahm (Twitch streamer).
Back in November, Socios.com launched a Battle Royale Sponsorship Program where nine esports teams were selected and fans voted on which team should receive sponsorship based on 60-second 'pitch' videos.
After rounds of fan voting, Conquer Gaming took home first place and a prize of €25,000, followed by the Copenhagen Flames and 3DMax. Second and third places were awarded €20,000, and €15,000, respectively.
Within esports, the concept of a "popularity contest" has traditionally been avoided. Naturally, it shouldn't matter how popular a team or player is, all that should matter is game skill and winning tournaments. However, with the ever-increasing value of top streamers, gaming influencers, and esports organizations with iconic brands, things seem to be changing.
Perhaps giving fans clear ways to impact their teams is the future of creating engagement where there is none.
Helping The Middle Guy
We spoke to Tom Pickering, Esports Manager at Socios.com and asked him to explain how the app will adapt to the reality of modern esports organizations and their bottom line:
"Esports itself has never been a massive money earner. We have always been aware of that and most esports organizations are as well. Any esports organization can be dissected into three big pieces - they have their brand, they have their players, and they have their influencers."
He then went on to describe how the "middle-sized" esports orgs can benefit the most when they give their fans ways to engage.
"The most important part of Socios.com is to give organizations with an established fanbase a platform through which to engage with their fans whilst being able to create another source of income. Subsequently, the organizations will be able to use the platform as a tool to win over potential sponsors by demonstrating that they have a fanbase that is already engaged with their brand, giving middle-sized teams a chance to shine."
When questioned about why he thinks streamers or esports organizations need to focus more on engagement, Pickering had a simple answer:
"When you take your fans on a journey, they are more likely to be invested in the end result."
Socios.com is set to launch in the second fiscal quarter of 2019.