D.C. United Setting Fan Token Standard in MLS
Major League Soccer is one of the few leading soccer divisions in the world yet to fully embrace fan tokens, but Maryland plays host to a trailblazer in the field.
D.C. United announced their fan token partnership in February, joining forces with a blockchain technology provider, XDC Network. It was the first such link-up in Major League Soccer and offered fans of Chad Ashton’s side the chance to engage with their team on an innovative digital level. The aim is to reward supporters holding a fan token with experiences and special access. Like other fan tokens, they’re fully tradeable, meaning value can rise and fall, and users can trade them on the XDC Network.
“Our partnership with XDC Network enables us to present more meaningful fan experiences using their cutting edge blockchain technology and create rewarding engagement opportunities for our ever-growing Black-and-Red community,” said Danita Johnson, President of Business Operations for D.C. United. We are excited to be a pioneer in professional sports and look forward to building a welcoming and transformative future together as we embark on this next chapter for D.C. United.”
Whilst the Black-and-Reds are pioneers of Major League Soccer in terms of fan tokens, they are merely following in the footsteps of far bigger soccer teams from around the globe. Socios fan tokens have become hugely popular in Europe, where major teams such as AC Milan, Manchester City and Paris St Germain have adopted them. Barcelona, one of the most successful teams on the planet, have also embraced fan tokens, allowing their holders to help choose the Player of the Year. That’s next-level engagement as far as remote fans go and a perfect example of positivity within the fan token industry.
Of course, there’s a kicker for clubs in terms of finances. AC Milan raised $6m in one day when selling their fan token earlier in the year, and holders saw the value rise significantly when they later won Serie A. Paris St Germain is another club that saw their fan token value rise as a result of real-world events; they paid part of Lionel Messi’s wages in fan tokens following his arrival in France, which saw the value shoot up.
It isn’t just in Europe that fan tokens have become popular; Chivas and Atlas are two of Mexico’s biggest soccer teams, with 15 Liga MX titles and two CONCACAF titles between them. They’ve both recently signed with Socios, meaning fans globally can now connect with their favorite Mexican teams as well.
Socios will likely be the drivers behind any further fan token expansion in MLS. Sports Pro Media explain the two parties have already signed a multi-year agreement which means the provider will become the official fan loyalty partner of 26 soccer teams. The only two teams not part of that deal are Capital Cup winners D.C United and Charlotte FC, and although there are currently no plans to expand their fan tokens to the teams featuring in MLS, it surely must be in the long-term projections.