Blockchain technology has largely been centred around financial applications over the past few years. There are rarely any use cases beyond financial application, but Chiliz (CHZ) is one of them.
Chiliz is a digital currency used in the realm of sports and entertainment. It provides sports and entertainment entities with blockchain-based tools to help them engage and monetise their audiences.
The team behind Chiliz also developed and built the sports fan engagement platform Socios on the Chiliz blockchain, with the native Chiliz token used as the exclusive currency.
Engaging sports fans in the crypto world
Chiliz was founded by Alexandre Dreyfus in 2012 with the goal to give sports and esports fans a coin to buy direct voting power in their favourite football clubs. This effectively turns passive sports spectators into active participants.
In other words, it is a fan engagement platform that allows fans to influence certain decisions made by their favourite teams.
For sports team, this creates a new digital revenue stream for them, helping many sports clubs around the world overcome new challenges caused by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
It was reported that Chiliz powered fan tokens generated over $30 million in revenue in 2020. This was shared with Chiliz clubs and partners.
How Socios works
Chiliz’ main product is its sports fan engagement platform — Socios.com — and sports club around the world can launch an account there.
Launched in December 2019, Socios allows fans to purchase branded Fan Tokens from some of the biggest and most renowned sports teams in the world.
Teams include FC Barcelona, Juventus, Paris Saint-Germain, AS Roma, Galatasaray, Atlético de Madrid, OG, CAI and UFC.
Fan Tokens are “digital passes” to the teams you love. Unlike regular memberships, Fan Tokens never expire and can be kept forever.
The 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.
Users can do this by voting in polls. Voting is enabled using smart contracts which are executed transparently on the Chiliz blockchain.
Supporters can have a direct influence on the decision-making in their clubs. This includes voting on merchandise designs, the naming of a training ground, and celebration songs for when a team scores.
All Fan Tokens are minted using the Chiliz blockchain and all on-platform voting is executed as a series of smart contracts which run through the Chiliz blockchain.
Beyond engagement platform Socios, Chiliz also has its own exchange. Chiliz Exchange is a dedicated crypto exchange for Fan Tokens, described as “the world’s first tokenized sports exchange”.
The platform enables sports fans and crypto fans alike to trade Fan Tokens that represent major sports stars. Fan Tokens are paired against the CHZ token, which is the base asset across the exchange.
The platform works in a similar way to many cryptocurrency exchanges. Fan Tokens can be traded using a simple user interface.
Fan Tokens are launched via Fan Token Offerings, which work similarly to crypto launchpads.
A fixed price is agreed pre-launch for each Fan Token. Then, a portion of the total Fan Token supply is made available to users of the Socios.com platform before being listed on the open market.
Why pay attention to Chiliz?
Blockchain has been seen emerging more prominently in the finance, insurance, music, and art industries.
However, its presence in the sporting industry is growing at an exponential rate, and the industry is starting to acknowledge the opportunities presented by blockchain for fan engagement and unique experiences.
Chiliz allows athletes and sports teams to engage with their dedicated audiences in a way that was never before possible.
For sports club, this provides an additional revenue stream in the digitized age now.
Furthermore, Chiliz is focused on creating value in the multi-billion dollar sports and entertainment industry, which is notable for having some of the most loyal fan bases in the world.
In the 2020 fiscal year, sales at Europe’s top 20 revenue-generating clubs dropped 12 per cent to 8.2 billion euros (US$9.9 billion), according to accounting and consulting firm Deloitte LLP.
It is thus important for these clubs to find an alternative way to generate revenue and engage fans.
Having a way to engage with fans during lockdown “was beneficial for clubs and fans,” said Giorgio Ricci, chief revenue officer at Italy’s Juventus, which launched its tokens prior to the pandemic.
In 2021, the overall cryptocurrency market increased by 174%, and the Chiliz price increased by over 2,600%. It has also been one of the most prominent crypto projects in the sports world for a few months now.
Fan tokens right now are just hitting the perfect itch at the perfect time — fans are disconnected physically from their fandom, and this helps bridge that gap.
Chiliz also has a long and exciting roadmap ahead for 2021, including expanding its infrastructure, offering more rewards, partnerships with more top clubs, and creating collectible cards and other NFTs for various soccer clubs.
With its new approach to fan engagement in its development and implementation, native cryptocurrency CHZ, and the various fan tokens, users are incentivised to shape the top clubs actively.
Furthermore, soccer is one of the best-known and most popular sports worldwide and connects millions of people. Chiliz has now created new opportunities for clubs and fans to maintain a strong connection in the digital age.
It is entirely possible to imagine a near future where sports brands around the world shift their community of fan bases onto digital sports clubs powered by Chiliz. And when that happens, it will push the utility and price of Chiliz even higher.
Chiliz is also said to be working on collectible cards as NFTs, and this will further drive adoption of the app.
Esports team OG recently launched its third NFT exclusively on Binance, as the feature is not available on Socios yet. The NFT was sold out within minutes of launch.