Socios, the prominent blockchain-based fan engagement platform, has enhanced its presence in American football’s NFL by announcing deals with an additional 13 teams.
The platform has partnered with the Atlanta Falcons, Baltimore Ravens, Chicago Bears, Cleveland Browns, Los Angeles Chargers, Los Angeles Rams, Miami Dolphins, New York Giants, Philadelphia Eagles, Pittsburgh Steelers, San Francisco 49ers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and Washington Commanders.
It follows Socios’ previous deal with the New England Patriots last year when that team became the first blockchain/crypto-related partner in the sport.
The new agreements with the 13 franchises come just weeks after the NFL announced that it would permit teams to sign blockchain sponsorship deals.
Socios has entered into multi-platform marketing partnerships with the 13 teams and will receive in-stadium signage during home games, and on-site, digital, and social engagement opportunities with fans among other team-specific activations.
Under the NFL’s rules, the partnerships are only marketing-focused as the league has maintained a ban on the promotion of cryptocurrencies and fan tokens, which Socios does through its various soccer tie-ups in Europe.
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Teams are also barred from striking blockchain deals longer than three years for now.
The move represents a partial u-turn by the league after it blocked sponsorship deals with cryptocurrency trading platforms and the sale of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) last year.
More than 120 sports teams and organizations have partnered with Socios on fan tokens, including European soccer’s governing body UEFA, Spanish giants Barcelona, France’s Paris Saint-Germain, motor racing’s Formula 1, mixed martial arts’ UFC, and multiple franchises in the NBA, NHL, and MLS.
With many partnerships in Europe, Socios is now keen to focus on its North American expansion and will be launching a US-centric app this summer. The company has also expanded its team on the ground in the US from two in 2021 to 24 currently.
Notably, the NFL changed its stance after the league and the players union recently agreed a deal with blockchain company Dapper Labs to produce digital collectibles.
It is believed that the NFL could also put out a tender to land a blockchain sponsor of its own.
Conrad Wiacek, head of sport analysis at GlobalData, commented: “Socios already has a huge footprint across world soccer and basketball in the US, and the NFL is a league that would have looked at the revenues available from the fan token provider with envy.
“With the NFL relaxing regulations on blockchain and crypto partnerships, it was inevitable that teams of the most-watched US sport would enter into partnerships there.
“While there is still doubt among many in the sports industry as to the value that tokens actually provide to fans, the intended audience, there is no doubt about the value these types of partnerships provide to leagues and teams, with sizeable partnership deals having become a key revenue driver for an industry still recovering from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.”
The Dallas Cowboys have also got in on the act, unveiling Blockchain.com as their exclusive digital asset partner.
The Cowboys claim it is the first-ever cryptocurrency partnership with an NFL team.
As the first national professional sports deal for Blockchain.com, the agreement will include extensive branding, advertising, content, and event opportunities.
Additionally, the agreement includes club space inside AT&T Stadium, rights to social and digital integrations, signage within the stadium bowl, as well as TV, radio, and digital advertising.
As well as visibility, the two parties will collaborate on social media promotions.
Blockchain.com recently appointed the experienced sports and luxury goods marketer Marissa Brooks as its head of global sports and entertainment partnerships.