Blockchain startup Chiliz’s fan token platform, Socios, has been creating waves in the sports sector, and is now venturing beyond, integrating entertainment Intellectual Property (IP) into its fold. The platform is leveraging its existing affiliations with major sports teams to showcase Spider-Man and other IPs to a captive sports audience. This innovative approach marks a new chapter in the intersection of sports, entertainment, and blockchain technology.
In anticipation of the upcoming animated feature, “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse,” Socios has incorporated Spider-Man-themed games and trivia into its application, which boasts a user base of 1.8 million across 160 countries. This initiative, propelled by a licensing agreement with Sony Pictures, has seen the iconic Marvel superhero make appearances at soccer stadiums in Spain’s LaLiga and Italy’s Serie A leagues.
The marketing initiative also includes English Premier League clubs Manchester City, Arsenal, Crystal Palace, Leeds United, and Everton. Andrea Morando, Chiliz’s head of partnerships for EMEA & ROW, conveyed to Decrypt that this alliance appeared quite organic in terms of narrative alignment. Socios likens the various benefits associated with fan tokens to “super powers” for the token holders, further solidifying the connection to the superhero theme.
In a thrilling spectacle, an actor costumed as Spider-Man was recently suspended from the ceiling and descended onto the pitch at Reale Arena in Spain during a LaLiga match between Real Sociedad and Real Madrid. The superhero continues to make appearances at stadiums and training facilities for esteemed clubs such as Inter Milan, Juventus, and Atlético de Madrid. Here, Spider-Man partakes in exclusive benefits available to Socios fan token holders, including locker room visits and viewing matches from VIP boxes.
Socios has cultivated partnerships with more than 160 sports teams globally, a testament to its broad reach and influence. In a significant investment move last year, its parent company Chiliz acquired a $100 million stake in FC Barcelona’s media studio. The majority of Socios users fall within the 18 to 35 age bracket, according to the company.
Morando emphasized the value of their extensive multi-sport partner roster, benefiting not just Socios, but their partners as well through a network effect. He expressed that Socios plans to leverage this network effect to bring value to users, partners, and the company itself.
Furthermore, Socios fan token holders have the opportunity to be selected for trips to attend world premiere showings of “Across the Spider-Verse” in Los Angeles, Madrid, Milan, and London. Users can also redeem their fan token rewards for exclusive Spider-Man merchandise.
Interestingly, this collaboration with Socios is not Spider-Man’s inaugural venture into the Web3 space. Marvel launched NFT collectibles featuring the superhero in 2021 via the VeVe platform. “Across the Spider-Verse” is the sequel to Sony’s Oscar-winning feature film, “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” released in 2018, coinciding with the founding year of Socios.
Integrating Spider-Man and Sony Pictures into existing Socios partnerships with sports teams did present some logistical and operational challenges due to the involvement of multiple stakeholders, as Morando acknowledged. However, he affirmed that teams’ willingness to participate in the promotional plan signifies their understanding and acceptance of the potential of fan tokens. Morando further noted that many of Socios’ agreements with sports clubs are at least two years old, indicating the firm’s success in fostering high levels of trust for more expansive initiatives.
Last year, Socios collaborated with Amazon, a sponsor of Italian soccer club SSC Napoli, to offer discounts on selected Napoli products for fan tokenholders. Given Socios’ growing user base, Morando expressed confidence that the platform will continue to be a compelling advertising target for brands, particularly those within the realms of entertainment and mass consumption.
“Socios offers an innovative way for brands across entertainment, sports, and other sectors to reach a vast mainstream audience,” Morando said. By integrating fan tokens into the broader entertainment industry, Socios illustrates the potential of blockchain technology to revolutionize traditional marketing and fan engagement strategies.
The partnership between Socios, Sony Pictures, and Spider-Man is a prime example of the innovative ways in which blockchain technology can bridge the gap between sports, entertainment, and fan engagement. By integrating the upcoming Spider-Man film into its fan token platform, Socios is not only enhancing its own product but also pushing the boundaries of marketing within the sports and entertainment industries.
In fact, the company’s foresight in combining fan tokens with popular IPs can be seen as a game-changer, as it opens up the possibility of using tokens as a way to bring fans closer to their favorite characters and franchises. This approach could potentially be replicated across other entertainment properties, creating a new paradigm in fan engagement and interaction.
Looking ahead, Socios intends to continue leveraging its partnerships and user base to bring even more value to its partners and customers. The company sees vast potential in expanding its reach beyond sports, moving into the broader entertainment industry, and even other sectors. The successful integration of Spider-Man into its platform marks a significant milestone on this journey, and it is likely only the beginning of what Socios can achieve with its innovative use of fan tokens.