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The Lionel Messi Crypto Conquest

A landmark deal with Socios — reportedly worth more than $20 million — makes Lionel Messi crypto fan tokens’ foremost global ambassador.

There may be no sporting organization more willing to ride the worldwide blockchain and crypto wave than Paris Saint-Germain. Superstar winger Neymar is one of the foremost Bored Ape Yacht Club NFT owners, and the club is among the foremost adopters of crypto fan tokens on the Socios platform meant to bring supporters closer to their favorite teams.

But now, PSG has delivered its biggest crypto coup of all. On Tuesday, Socios announced legendary forward Lionel Messi, already a veteran of his first-ever NFT collection, as its first-ever global ambassador.

Reuters reports that the deal is worth upwards of $20 million.

As Messi said in an official statement:

“Since I played my first professional game the passion of the fans has been a driving force that has helped inspire me to be my very best. Fans deserve to be recognized for their support. They deserve opportunities to influence the teams they love. Socios.com exists to enhance the fan experience, to enable fans to ‘be more’. I’m proud to join Socios.com’s mission to create a more connected and rewarding future for fans around the world.”

Fan tokens like those offered on platforms like Socios can act as not just collectibles, but a sort of blockchain-backed membership card or VIP ticket for a wide, ongoing range of giveaways, activations, and live experiences with sports organizations. Several teams, particularly in world football, offer token-holders the opportunity to vote on everything from club uniforms to aspects of stadium design choices to charity initiatives — and the more tokens a fan owns, the more voting power they possess.

This Messi crypto deal is proof that the grand fan token experiment is one that’s built for the long haul. But notably, the early returns for Socios and its Chiliz token ($CHZ) have been eye-popping:

As more and more teams and leagues embrace fan tokens as both a revenue stream and a way to foster relationships with supporters — the NBA has dipped its toes in the water, though actual token offerings from individual teams haven’t been approved — expect deals like Messi’s to be increasingly popular.

But when the next big name signs on the dotted line, don’t expect the same gigantic price tag as the $20+ million reported this morning. After all, there’s only one Leo. And when it comes to being “more,” the man is in his own orbit.

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