- Upland is a metaverse environment with digital property-based NFTs
- FC Porto hopes to bridge the gap between its home city and the rest of the world
Portuguese soccer club FC Porto is digitising its stadium in the Upland metaverse, as well as offering team and player non-fungible tokens (NFTs) for fans to purchase in the platform.
The club is the first in Europe to partner with Upland, whose platform is linked to real world geography. This structure allows players and businesses to purchase ‘digital land’ which can be used to build virtual neighbourhoods and create attractions or businesses that generate revenues.
These virtual environments also act as a potential fan engagement tool for sports organisations with visitors able to make purchases or earn rewards.
FC Porto’s virtual Estádio do Dragão stadium will be used for new types of digital fan experience and its creation coincides with the addition of the city of Porto to the platform. The first phase of the rollout will happen during the upcoming 2022/23 soccer season.
“To say this is just another way we’re engaging with fans is an understatement,” said Tiago Gouveia, FC Porto marketing director. “Being the first soccer club in the world to establish itself with its city, stadium, players, and fans in the metaverse catapults our brand to the cutting edge in this arena. We’re always on the look out for new opportunities and we won’t let the metaverse pass us by. This partnership is proof of that.”
“We’re thrilled to welcome FC Porto as the first European soccerl club to join the Upland metaverse,” said Dirk Lueth, Upland co-founder and co-chief executive. “European soccer is a way of life – it’s something you eat, sleep, and breathe – and for Portistas, being able to bring that passion with them to the metaverse is an unparalleled opportunity to deepen that fandom. With Upland, we are taking fans beyond transaction-centric NFT marketplaces into an activity-driven metaverse experience that engages them with the team and football players they love.”
FC Porto believes that a virtual stadium and the digital recreation of the city of Porto in Upland helps strengthen the ties between the club in Portugal and fans around the world.
It also believes this is a way for it to offer NFTs with genuine utility alongside any collectible or speculative value.
The deal also highlights a key decision that all sports organisations must make before entering the metaverse – do they create a ‘space’ or buy virtual land in an existing third-party platform like Upland or Roblox, or do they work to create their own environment that they can shape independently?