Pirelli, an Italian tire company, served as Inter Milan’s shirt sponsor for 26 years. That deal ended last year as Pirelli was replaced by crypto fan token company Socios, which paid $16 million to have “$Inter Fan Token” on the front-center of the team’s jersey while “by Socios.com” appeared in smaller font beneath the fan token branding.
Socios creates crypto fan tokens for top European soccer clubs such as Juventus and FC Barcelona. Through fan loyalty and rewards sponsorships, Socios is also making inroads in the U.S. leagues, including the NFL, NBA and NHL. All leagues except the NFL are now adopting jersey patches. Sponsorship. While Socios branding can already be found in premier U.S. venues such as Madison Square Garden, Crypto.com Arena, and SoFi Stadium — CEO Alex Dreyfus is adamant that jersey sponsorships will not be part of the fan token company’s U.S. expansion.
“Absolutely not,” Dreyfus told SportTechie. “We don’t see value for us to sponsor jerseys, because when you do that, you do it for brand recognition. Brand recognition doesn’t matter to us. We want people to buy the token of the team that they’re supporting.”
Instead, Dreyfus plans to allow Socios to purchase luxury ticket boxes at U.S. stadiums such as the one the company purchased at Barclays Center. The company’s long-term goal is for U.S. fans to watch games from these boxes as a perk for being a fan token holder of that team.
“We’re going to pay for VIP boxes, here with the Nets we have a box [at Barclays Center]He replied. “With the token we are going to build one day, we’ll give [fan token holders] We’ll have 30 or more VIP boxes around the world. However, it is not about us spending money to buy a jersey. That will not bring in users. This is my four-year experience, and it’s something I can attest to. It’s not going to bring in users.”
Socios was Inter Milan’s kit sponsor for just one season. Instead, Inter Milan’s top-tier club had a jersey deal with digital currency brand DigitalBits for 2022-23. Inter Milan claims that they owe $17 million to DigitalBits, but hasn’t received any payments from DigitalBits. Former soccer star and Inter Miami owner David Beckham joined DigitalBits as a brand ambassador in March to promote NFTs for the company’s “metaverse.”
“DigitalBits has nothing to do with ‘fan tokens.’ It’s an empty shell company that signed deals they were not able to afford with ZERO product,” Dreyfus recently wrote on his LinkedIn.