Liverpool FC Defends NFT Collection After Criticism, Vowing Not to Issue Fan Tokens
Liverpool FC has defended its decision to release a collection of non-fungible tokens — and says experimenting in the market is crucial to find out what fans want.
However, a senior marketing executive at the football club has vowed that Anfield will not be releasing fan tokens, saying that “it isn’t a premise that we support.”
LFC’s NFTs went on sale last week — featuring 24 one-of-a-kind “legendary” NFTs that depicted the men’s squad and manager Jürgen Klopp as superheroes. A more affordable, limited-edition “hero” collection features NFTs at $75 each.
Speaking to the Liverpool Echo’s Bottom Line podcast, Drew Crisp said the team had been closely watching the NFT market for the past 18 months — and spent a year working on the project.
The vice president of digital marketing, media and technology said LFC wanted to connect with different fan bases and reach a global audience as the sporting industry goes digital, adding:
“We need to be in these different markets to find out what works and what doesn’t work. If we don’t try these markets then we are not challenging ourselves and we are not testing ourselves and we are not working out what works for our fans. It is important that we try these things and see what works.”
Crisp also said that LFC’s partners in the sale had been carefully chosen. While Sotheby’s was chosen because it is a high-end, respected auction house with experience in NFT sales, Polygon was picked because of how its blockchain is environmentally friendly.
A Powerful Start
During the interview, Crisp also offered an insight into how the sale has gone so far, revealing:
“We had a big spike when it first launched and we have sold quite a few thousand of the Heroes collection and we can see the bids across the 1-of-1s. What we are seeing is that there is a global market interested in this and tapping into a global market for fans who are interested in NFTs.”
He stressed that the non-fungible tokens aren’t being presented to LFC fans as an investment opportunity — and acknowledged that not all fans will be interested in owning digital assets:
“We are not pretending that these are fan tokens with promises that we can’t deliver against. If you would like to engage in a new opportunity and you would like an NFT of your favorite player then there is one for you. If you don’t want to enter that then that is absolutely fine, there are other ways to engage with the club.”
While the club did consult Spirit of Shankly, a union representing Liverpool supporters, that organization has questioned the venture and said it doesn’t endorse the product.
Crisp says that LFC now intends to closely monitor how the NFTs perform — and the release of future collections will depend on whether they appeal to fans and fit into the club’s values. The executive also conceded that the debate around crypto is a “sensitive one” and “there are polarized views” about NFTs in the sporting world, adding:
“Unless you try it, you can’t answer any of these questions. I don’t think that uncertainty around new markets isn’t a reason not to test them. If we are to be a progressive club and progress into new territories to stay at the top commercially then we have to do these things.”
He added that there is a lot of uncertainty when it comes to the Web3 industry and the metaverse — and Liverpool Football Club is watching developments closely.
Back in February, Manchester City revealed it is planning to build the world’s first football stadium inside the metaverse — and has enlisted the help of virtual reality experts at Sony.