From Tom Brady’s deal with Draft Kings to Team Great Britain becoming the first Olympic team to launch an official NFT collection, every week brings with it new announcements from the world of sports, cryptocurrency and NFTs.
This week one of Italy’s most recognized teams, AS Roma, announced a $42 Million, 3-year exclusive partnership with blockchain fintech Zytara. This partnership represents one of the most notable sponsorship deals between a soccer club and blockchain firm to date.
AS Roma shirts will have the branding of the DigitalBits blockchain, whose foundation is supporting the partnership. Also, the club will use the DigitalBits blockchain to create digital player cards and digital collectible NFTs of current and historical moments in the Club’s near 100-year history. Additionally, they will also integrate DigitalBits native token XDB, as a new and modern purchasing method.
This will allow AS Roma fans to interact with the club in blockchain-based shared virtual worlds, and reward fans in possession of the teams digital assets, NFTs, and XDB tokens access to new live experiences like game day activations from inside the stadium.
So what other brands can learn about this partnership? Here is the main key takeaway from this branding partnership in our opinion.
Engaging A New Generation Of Fans
In the first half of 2020, the pandemic limited extremely attractive opportunities for new brand integration deals, forcing many brands to rethink their digital approach. It made brands look to the metaverse for ways to reach younger consumers who are more tech-savvy and want to create powerful emotional connections with brands. As a result, we saw brands are willing to invest in strategic integration of their logos and products in new ways that will help expose their assets in new, meaningful ways.
Partnerships like the one are the beginning of NFT experiences that take fans beyond transactional shopping offerings, which provide only ownership of a digital asset in an idle wallet. Brands and sports teams alike start seeking the additional Layer of NFT utility, which embodies gamification mechanics and contextual meaning, said Tommaso Di Bartolo, Silicon Valley based UC Berkeley Faculty, serial-entrepreneur, author and startup investor.
With this partnership AS Roma is expanding the collective imagination of what it means for fans to be connected to their teams, the future of branding is bright with new technologies like the blockchain, which can help prioritize the security, speed, and cost-savings benefit of industries such as professional sports and reach a new generation of fans that think digital first and find digital ownership attractive.
According to Kathleen Hessert, President of Sports Media Challenge, ”Teams have always displaced loyal fans living far outside of the team’s geographic footprint. Most of those fans never even have the opportunity to attend an in-person event. By building a virtual stadium and experiences in the Metaverse, teams enable young, digitally savvy fans to more deeply engage their chosen team no matter where they live.“