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Barcelona sell 24.5% stake in Barca Studios to Socios for US$100m

Spanish soccer club says deal will provide it with additional cash and boost its Web 3.0 strategy.

1 August 2022 Steve McCaskill

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  • Barcelona’s previous ‘economic levers’ saw club sell 25% of its TV income
  • Socios says it will accelerate Barca Studios’ Web 3.0 strategy

Spanish soccer giants FC Barcelona have sold a 24.5 per cent stake in its Barca Studios production arm to blockchain specialist firm Socios for US$100 million.

The transaction is the third recent injection of capital into the club through the use of what are euphemistically described as ‘economic levers’ designed to improve Barca’s financial situation and help it sign players for the upcoming LaLiga season.

Barcelona have already sold 25 per cent of their domestic broadcast income for the next 25 years and members have approved the sale of 49.95 per cent of the club’s merchandising business to raise more immediate capital.

The club says the deal with Socios not only provides it with extra cash, but also adds Web 3.0 expertise at a time when creating new revenue streams such as non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and metaverse applications is becoming a potentially lucrative proposition.

The two parties say they will work with leaders in the Web 3.0 space to develop Barca Studios’ digital portfolio and leverage Chillz Chain 2.0, which is designed to be the first blockchain created specifically for the sports industry.

“Barca Studios can now leverage our technology, expertise, and global scale to help roll out the club’s Web 3.0 content strategy and deliver new long term revenue streams that will benefit the club for seasons to come,” said Alexandre Dreyfus, Socios chief executive.

“We are passionate about the role that technology can play in building communities that bring fans closer to their teams and each other. Blockchain technology can provide fans with a role and membership in their communities that cannot be removed, revoked, spent or expire.

“Moreover, the application of blockchain technology can take the fan experience far beyond an app-based engagement and reward structure and deliver utility and connectivity across the metaverse, providing a way to connect a limitless number of web 3.0 projects.

“As their trusted technology partner we’ll do everything we can to support them in their efforts to build new and rewarding digital connections with their 400 million followers worldwide.”

Socios has partnerships with more 150 sports organisations, including major European soccer outfits, National Football League (NFL) franchises and rugby union clubs. Its fan tokens allow users users to access the digital services provided by their favourite clubs, with the platform offering rewards, exclusive content access and receive VIP experiences.

Barcelona launched their fan token with Socios back in February 2020 and have sold more than US$39 million worth of the blockchain-based assets so far. The concept has its critics, but Socios refutes accusations it is exploitative by stressing that fan tokens are entertainment products with utility, not items for speculation.

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