Could NFTs Solve FC Barcelona’s $1.56 Billion Debt?

November 06, 2021, 10:30 AM AEST - 3 weeks ago

FC Barcelona, the world’s second-most valuable football club after Real Madrid, will be auctioning non-fungible tokens (NFTs) of memorable moments from the club’s 122 years in the game.

Barcelona is jumping on the NFT bandwagon with its new range of “historic club moment” NFTs, joining other major football leagues such as La Liga and the German Bundesliga. The NFTs will be made available on November 24 on Ownix, an Ethereum-based marketplace.

There is scant information about its plans but it appears that the club will allow fans to bid on clips of highlights in a style similar to that of NBA Top Shot. Barcelona NFTs will be selected by a “special joint committee”, then minted – first as unique one-off auctions, then later as a broader limited edition or collection.

As NFTs surge, we think it is important to give those collectors who are Barça fans an opportunity to own a piece of the club’s history.

Guy Elhanani, CEO, Ownix

NFTs to Connect More Closely With Fans

Sports teams worldwide have clamoured to get aboard the NFT bandwagon to spur fan engagement in addition to creating a new stream of revenue. This is all part of Barcelona’s global expansion strategy to increase its “commitment to seek out new channels and formats to connect with new generations, while providing a different form of interaction with fans around the world”.

Barça has a very large fanbase around the world and leads the way in the digital domain with over 400 million followers in social networks. Given this scenario, the club is constantly looking for new ways to connect with its fans, and we believe that creating these NFTs is a unique opportunity.

Joan Laporta, president, FC Barcelona

In addition to FC Barcelona moments, Ownix will host sales of NFTs in other sports, art, music, movies, design, and more.

Selling NFTs to Soak Up Debt?

FC Barcelona claims to be “the first premium football club” to launch a crypto offering. The truth is it might have even been a little slow off the mark, with more than two dozen European football teams now offering their own digital tokens or NFTs.

The club is in the midst of a debt crisis, reportedly around US$1.57 billion in the red this northern summer. The club’s previous leadership is accused of reckless spending on a number of players who have subsequently underperformed.

This summer the club was forced into a fire sale and, due to salary cap rules, was unable to retain Lionel Messi, one of the world’s best-known and most successful players. Messi instead signed with French club Paris Saint-Germain, causing the PSG fan token to surge over 50 percent.

Some are of the opinion that the FC Barcelona NFT project is simply a means to plug some financial holes.

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