The COVID-19 pandemic is undoubtedly a massive event in all of our lives. It’s hugely disruptive for all aspects of life and the impact its having on the sporting world is unprecedented. But, we have to use this crisis as an opportunity – a chance to bring something new, something fresh to the sports space and that’s what we’re very much focused on.
COVID-19 – Sports Industry – Vision
The sports industry is currently very fragile. Matches/events have been delayed, revenues from sponsorship are either down, deferred, or lost altogether, there’s no revenue from ticketing and there are big concerns over money from broadcasting rights.
These issues are driving the clubs to engage with their fans through new means and not just the usual tools (Twitter/Facebook etc). They are looking to us to create a new bridge between them and their fans.
Our partner clubs are coming to us and asking how they can use our platform to engage with their fans. They want their players to be able to engage with their fans and they are very open minded about giving access to players in order to create exclusive content/unique experiences for the next 2 months.
I say the next 2 months, because all the feedback I’ve been getting from the different clubs in each league seems to point to the fact that the seasons will be resumed and completed, but not until mid- June.
This is an opportunity for us.
The fact is, the seasons were originally scheduled to end around May, leaving the summer free for Euro 2020 and other sporting events such as the Olympics. This would have been a period of relative downtime for us in terms of activity.
So, it’s a strange twist of fate, certainly a very sad and disruptive one, that domestic and Champions League football will most likely now take place during the summer.
But, we have to adapt, and we have to be responsive to potential opportunities and there ARE clear advantages for us.
We now have the next few months to focus on creating the kind of features the sports industry is going to need in the future , while working with our clubs to create unique engagement opportunities.
In the summer, football will return and when it does, it inevitably have changed.
It’s very likely that games will be played behind closed doors, or, if the stadiums are open they won’t be as full due to fear and regulation. So, the clubs are going to be looking to us once again to provide engagement opportunities with their fans.
Since we launched the iOS version of our app on December 6th last year, we have 180k downloads – which is decent – but, we have to remember this is before we’ve started hard core acquisition campaigns. The exciting thing looking forward is we now have real numbers to work with, so our highly talented marketing team can fine tune how, when and where we spend our money and increase acquisition.
We’ve held all our initial FTO’s of course, but our biggest announcement of 2020 was Barcelona. This was a big standalone announcement – that generated over 800 pieces of coverage worldwide and highlights why we can’t always announce everything in these keynotes; we need to ensure the media gets the press release at the right time, so we generate as much coverage as possible – if we reveal everything in the AMA there’s always the danger that our biggest news won’t generate the coverage it deserves.
I’d just like to touch on a couple of key partnerships in Turkey, which is a very big market for us. In truth, it could be our biggest market, combining a big trading community with a very passionate fanbase. First of all we’ve partnered with Paribu, who are the biggest trading platform in Turkey, and I’m pleased to say things are looking very good on that front. We’ve also integrated Paratica with Chiliz.net. Paratica is copy and paste trading model, that allows novice traders to get a head start in the trading world and is going to be very useful for us.
We’ve also sealed new partnerships with other big players in the crypto space like Enjin & Chainlink – proving that when we say we’re going to do something, or when we tease something, it always happens.
And, we’ve partnered with Lagardère Sports – a global sports marketing agency with connections to rights holders around the world, who are going to help us seal new partnerships with lots of teams/IP’s in countries including France/Germany and the US.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we launched our #homewithsocios campaign, to support fans and reward them for staying home. We actually adapted our Token Hunt feature for this, too, transforming it into Home Hunt, so, rather than sending fans outside to hunt Tokens they can now hunt them down from home. Users have been hunting our new Socios United Fan Tokens $SSU all weekend long (more on these later!!).
Oh, and how’s this for a fun fact: We spoke with giant Japanese games developer Konami recently and when we asked if they were aware of us they told us ‘very much so’. As it turns out they actually had to create an updated version of the latest iteration of Pro Evolution Soccer 2 as a result of our fan poll with Juventus which changed the goal celebration song to Blur’s Song 2. I think this is a pretty cool example of the kind of ripple effect our Fan Token holders are already having.
Still lots to cover and I’ll be returning to a lot of the above in more detail later!
VISA Socios.com Card
Ok. This one is a very big baby for us and a major project for 2020. We’re working with a VISA member who has provided us with the tools to launch our own Socios.com card.
It’s important to make it clear right from the outset that our goal is not to launch a crypto card.
This is a regular contactless card, with an IBAN, you can use as you would pretty much any other card to complete online and real world transactions.
The difference is, when you use the card online, or in a store connecting to one of our partner clubs, their sponsors or other partner enterprises, you’ll be rewarded.
We’ve not finalised designs for the card yet, but you can check the mock-up below which provides a little more insight into how it will work:
In the image you’ll see a field titled Today, underneath it various ‘transactions’ that have been made using the Socios.com card are listed. For instance, there’s a transaction of €90 at an Adidas store in Turin. The ‘Juventus Fan Token holder’ who owns this card has been rewarded with 2 $JUV Fan Tokens for spending their money at a store owned by one of their ‘sponsors’.
Similar examples for other sponsors are included in the image with rewards for transactions including $CHZ and Fan Tokens shown.
It’s a loyalty card and it will be tailored so that each Fan Token holder receives awards appropriate to their favourite club/clubs. In the future, the cards will actually be club branded, featuring the team’s badge/crest and players. They’ll also include a Socios ID. You can think of this like a registration plate on a car, that will be printed on the card and will make it even easier for Fan Token holders to redeem rewards with our IP partners.
There are a lot of vested interests working together with absolute determination to make this succeed. The fact is, every major sponsor spends millions to promote their brand, but they lack the last link to their retail outlets. The VISA Socios.com card will complete the chain, connecting fans to sponsors, driving them to their stores and rewarding them for making purchases. This will be a massive step forward for us in terms of establishing ourselves as a leading fintech company in the sports space.
The VISA Socios.com card will initially be available on a limited basis in the late Spring/Summer to around 1000 users who apply in advance. We’ll then expand, starting in the EEA, before heading into South East Asia/Singapore and other markets/territories.
Chiliz.net – The World’s First Exchange Platform For Sports & Entertainment
There’s a couple of key updates here:
First of all, I can reveal that as of April 8th, the ‘Withdrawal’ feature will be available on Socios.com/Chiliz.net, allowing $CHZ and Fan Tokens to be moved between both platforms.
Trading on Chiliz.net will now begin on April 15th with the $JUV Fan Token. Originally, we were scheduled to go out a little earlier than this, but, the fact is, with the way things are in the world – especially in the north of Italy, which is where Juventus are from – it’s just not the right moment.
So, April 15th it is. This will give us a little bit more time to prepare and allow us to get ready for the launch of the other Fan Tokens on the platform – it’s also potentially a more viable moment to use this launch as a PR opportunity.
One very important thing to mention is that fees will be $CHZ only and on one side only – this means when you buy Fan Tokens you don’t pay a fee, but when you sell them, you do.
CoinMarketCap & CoinGecko are already listing our Fan Tokens, which is really cool and shows that the big trading platforms are already talking about us. But, as I mentioned earlier, it’s very important we launch at the right time.
$CHZ Token Economics 2.0
The more fans, the less $CHZ
It’s our motto and we stand by it. In fact, we’ve decided to be even more aggressive with our token economics and 100% of early FTO $CHZ collected in Q4 (2019) and Q1 (2020) equalling 21 million $CHZ are to be ‘burnt’ (sent to a blackhole address).
And, after originally stating that we will review the 10% FTOs/20% trading fees/ 10% Ntfs policy in July, we’ll actually wait until the end of the year in order to continue building momentum in 2020.
New clubs, new sports & expansion
Again, with everything that’s happening right now, we are constantly gauging the most suitable times to make new announcements, while also working on guidance from the clubs and other new partners.
Timing is everything. And, as I mentioned earlier, the Barcelona partnership, which generated a huge amount of coverage worldwide, highlighted the importance of waiting for the right moment. We want to generate similar levels of exposure for all our major announcements.
I can reveal that we do have a new major strategic partner, but for business reasons primarily, we will be holding off on revealing the nature of the partnerships until April.
I spoke briefly about Lagardère Sports earlier and how they will be very important to our growth plans.
We need to multiply our ability to engage with rights holders – we have a Brand Partnerships Team of four people; Lagardère Sports have 1300 employees – so we will be using them to increase our reach. We’ll also be partnering with other agencies in key markets to help us grow.
Still, we’re not in a hurry. We want to become the leading fintech fan transactional platform in the sports industry and we realise that this will take time. It’s a marathon not a sprint.
In terms of individual markets, I can say that we’ll be making some key moves in North America soon. We’re also very focused on South Korea, speaking to sports rights holders, entertainment (including K-Pop), as well as potential blockchain & mainstream partners. We’re confident that the very active conversations we’re having now will help elevate us to another level in Q2. The same goes for Japan – home to our biggest market/community – you can expect a lot more in terms of announcements soon. It’s also very much worth mentioning that Barca are very strong in Japan and we’ll be looking to leverage our combined strengths in this market for sure.
Socios United $SSU
Socios United has been created to bring us closer to our users, clients and partners by increasing engagement and gamification on Socios.com. It’s a loyalty token and we’ve given almost 280k away already – with every existing user receiving 1 $SSU – and many more being collected through Home Hunt.
The initial response has been really positive and the long-term potential for this as a loyalty programme that can be seen on the blockchain, not only to be leveraged by us, but by partners and sponsors, is very big.
There’s no doubting this is a major crisis, so follow the guidelines and take care of yourselves.
It’s probably the first time in history, apart from during world wars, that sport has come to such a dramatic halt. But, there will always be fans, and fans will always crave sport and as a company we are going to continue to invest to support fans all over the world.
I assure you there’s a lot of hard work going on behind the scenes to connect fans, clubs and partners together, increase engagement with an app that’s going to be ready to meet the needs of the sporting world in a few months time.
Keep telling your friends about us, sharing our news, collecting tokens with Home Hunt – and, when you do, share it on my Twitter feed!
Stay safe and see you guys.