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March 2, 2021

Chiliz is coming to US major leagues with $50m to spend

Chiliz, the blockchain-based fan engagement platform, is eyeing partnerships with major US sports franchises after opening an office in New York and planning to invest $50 million in the country.

By Jonathan Rest

Chiliz, the blockchain-based fan engagement platform, is eyeing partnerships with major US sports franchises after opening an office in New York and planning to invest $50 million in the country.

Chiliz operates the mobile app Socios.com, which has deals in place with a host of European soccer clubs, and will now be seeking similar tie-ups with teams from American football’s NFL, basketball’s NBA, ice hockey’s NHL, Major League Baseball and Major League Soccer.

Socios.com offers fan tokens, which give owners access to a range of benefits including the right to vote on multiple club decisions each season, VIP rewards and experiences, exclusive club and sponsor promotions, games, competitions and ‘super-fan’ recognition.

Alexandre Dreyfus, chief executive of Chiliz, said: “A huge focal point for us in our global growth plans is the US. That’s why we’re opening a New York office and investing $50 million into the country’s sports industry in order to launch Fan Tokens with leading franchises from the five major US sports leagues.

“We head to the US with a proven track record in generating millions of dollars of revenue for some of Europe’s biggest sporting organisations. In 2020, we shared more than $30 million with our partners, but this year we’re targeting a minimum of $60 million.”

Last month, Chiliz struck its first agreements in Polish and Dutch soccer, teaming up with the Ekstraklasa’s Legia Warsaw and the Eredivisie’s Fortuna Sittard.

The duo join the likes of Serie A trio AC Milan, Juventus and Roma, Spain’s Barcelona and Atletico Madrid, France’s Paris Saint-Germain, Turkey’s Galatasaray, Istanbul Basaksehir and Trabzonspor, Switzerland’s Young Boys, England’s West Ham United and Argentina’s Independiente in the Socios.com portfolio.

Just last week, AC Milan announced they had raised over $6 million in revenue from initial sales of the $ACM Fan Token on Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange.

Away from soccer, Chiliz has deals in place with USA-based mixed martial arts’ properties UFC and Professional Fighters League, and said it is in talks with Formula 1 motor racing teams.

A year ago, Chiliz signed an exclusive deal with Sportfive, under which it gets access to the international sports marketing agency’s global network, made up of athletes, clubs, federations and sports leagues, including six soccer clubs in France, 16 in Germany and several MLB and NFL athletes.

Meanwhile, one of Chiliz’s clients, PSG, today announced a sponsorship deal with Fonbet, the Russian sportsbook firm. 

The partnership makes Fonbet the club’s official betting partner across Russia and the CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States) region.

In recent months, Fonbet has signed similar deals with AC Milan and Real Madrid.

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