The workings of a modern-day sports fan go far beyond just being a casual viewer. Today, they’re tech-savvy, passionate and hungry for new ways to engage with their favorite teams, athletes and fellow fans. With many major sports recently putting a temporary pause on welcoming supporters to their stadium, it’s more apparent than ever that celebrating fandom isn’t just bound to the stadium gates.

The iGaming market has long contributed to enhancing the fan experience with daily fantasy sports and sports betting operators serving as a unique outlet to enjoy sports globally. As innovation in technology continues to push the boundaries, sports marketers inspired by the growth of crypto have shook the market with the introduction of Fan Tokens, the latest innovation to reach the modern-day sports fan.

Fan Tokens Explained

Fan tokens are a unique cryptocurrency that grant owners the opportunity to engage directly with the sports teams they enjoy and influence real world decisions. Fan tokens offer their holders value by providing access to vote on exclusive polls for team decisions such as jersey designs, and stadium song selections. In addition to spending funds on merchandise, attending games and consuming entertainment, fans can support their teams at the next level by purchasing tokens they can hold onto or trade like traditional cryptocurrencies.

The Rise in Popularity

Leading global blockchain and fan token provider Socios have made noise in 2021, making headlines following the apps partnership with some of football’s biggest clubs, including having their very own $PSG fan tokens included as part of the deal that saw superstar Lionel Messi’s surprise transfer to Paris Saint-Germain in August. The token provider also made their presence known to the football world following an announcement naming them the official shirt sponsor for the defending Italian league champions, Inter. The historic event makes Socios the club’s first new shirt sponsor in 26 years and highlights the club’s very own $INTER Fan Token.

Fans of clubs such as Barcelona, A.C. Milan, Manchester City and others on the growing list of Socios partners can begin getting involved with fan tokens today. While popularity has grown in Europe, these tokens are not exclusive to European football clubs, with new fan tokens and partnerships in esports, Formula One, UFC and growing momentum among the major North American sports as well.

Impact on iGaming

Sports fans are longing for new ways to enjoy their favorite hobbies, which opens the door for innovation to operators targeting this market and its developing interests. While we’ve yet to see a significant impact on the sports betting and fantasy scene, there remains the opportunity for crypto betting sites to incorporate tokens as a part of their online player experience and for fantasy providers to offer tokens as a unique prize in contests and giveaways.

Whether fans will have long-term interest in digital tokens is still unclear, but with the crypto market showing no signs of slowing down and the sports community becoming increasingly present online, there certainly is an opportunity for adoption of this phenomenon to grow and open occasions for businesses to utilize fan tokens in creative ways.