- Socios.com parent Chiliz has acquired a 25% stake in FC Barcelona’s Barca Studios.
- The leading NFT marketplace paid €100 million to help accelerate the transition of the football club’s audiovisual unit into Web3.
- Barca Studios launched in 2019 as FC Barcelona’s in-house production studio before foraying to web3 last year.
Socios.com has expanded its sports business NFT ecosystem with an acquisition of a 24.5% stake in Barcelona’s Barca Studios. The web3 company is investing €100 million in the Catalonia-based football club’s audiovisual unit created three years ago to take advantage of emerging opportunities in the digital space.
The club president Joan Laporta told the media on Monday that the new financing will help register players for the new season.
“Barca Studios includes (in its portfolio) metaverse, NFTs and Barca tokens. It’s the sale of a stake … it’s in principle forever, we could recover it if something happens,” Laporta said at the news conference held to unveil the club’s latest signing, Jules Kounde.
Socios is backing FC Barcelona’s efforts to build digital connections with its global fanbase of over 400 million.
In March, Socios teamed up with ex-Barcelona and Argentinian football team player Lionel Messi. The multiple Balon d’Or recipient joined the football fan token app as its global ambassador.
The company has also inked a deal with Major League Soccer side Orlando City to bring football fan tokens to the MLS.
Sports teams are leveraging the rapid adoption of NFTs and Web3 to build more intimate relationships with their fans. Some of them like Manchester United, have inked multi-year deals while others like Liverpool and Manchester City have launched limited edition NFTs for their fans.
Barca’s latest announcement comes at the back of another deal, that saw the football club sell 15% of its TV rights to Sixth Street, receiving more than €300 in return. The U.S. private equity group has previously bought 10% for €207 million.
In June, Barcelona revealed an ambitious plan to sell a 49% stake in Barca Studios to a third party, while a 25% stake sale of its TV rights was also approved by the members.
The club is trying to claw itself out of a debt of about €1.4 billion according to figures announced when the new president took over from Gerard Bertomeu.
The Catalonia-based team has identified NFTs and the metaverse as one of the most viable options to help it generate more revenue. Earlier this year, FC Barcelona announced plans for the metaverse and NFTs, as part of Barca Studios’ web3 projects.
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