For 26 years, the Italian tire manufacturer Pirelli served as the shirt sponsor of the Italian club Inter Milan. That deal ended last year as Pirelli was replaced by cryptocurrency firm Socios, which paid $16 million to have a “$Inter Fan Token” at the front center of the team’s jersey while “By Socios.com” appeared in a smaller font below the fan brand.
Socios makes codecs for fans of other European football teams such as Juventus, AC Milan, FC Barcelona, Real Madrid, PSG, Manchester City and Arsenal. The company is also working to advance the major American leagues through fan loyalty and sponsorship bonuses with teams in the NFL, NBA, NHL and MLS. All of those leagues, except for the NFL, are increasingly embracing the jersey patch care. While the Socios brand can already be found in major US venues such as Madison Square Garden, Crypto.com Arena and SoFi Stadium – CEO Alex Dreyfus insists that the shirt sponsorship will not be part of the fan icons company’s US expansion.
“Absolutely not,” Dreyfus told SportTechie. “We don’t see value for us to sponsor the shirts, because when you do that, you do it for brand recognition. We don’t care about brand recognition. We want people to buy the symbol of the team they support.”
Dreyfus instead plans for Socios to buy luxury ticket boxes at US sports stadiums, like the one the company has already purchased at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. The company’s long-term goal is for American fans to view games from these chests as an advantage of being the bearer of this team’s fan token.
“We will pay for VIP boxes, here with Nets we have a box [at Barclays Center], He said. “With the token that we will build one day, we will give [fan token holders] Access these VIP chests, and we will have more than 30 worldwide. But it’s not about spending money on a T-shirt, because that wouldn’t attract users. This is from four years of experience, and I can really vouch for that. It will not attract users.
Socios was Inter Milan’s kit sponsor for one season only. Instead, the Italian top-flight club struck a jersey patch deal with digital brand DigitalBits for the 2022-23 season. However, Inter Milan has not received any payments from DigitalBits and claims that the company owes them $17 million. Former soccer star and Inter Miami owner David Beckham joined DigitalBits as a brand ambassador in March to promote NFTs for the company’s “metaverse.”
“DigitalBits have nothing to do with ‘fan tokens,'” Dreyfus recently wrote on his LinkedIn, an empty shell company that signed deals they couldn’t afford through ZERO’s product.