Fan tokens may have exploded onto the football scene in the last couple of years, but their success as an investment is being called into question following research by a trading platform.
The figures make for some dire reading, with very few fan tokens in the green, and almost all making deep losses.
English Premier League sides Everton and Aston Villa feature in the bottom five globally, but it’s Yorkshire giants Leeds United who take the bottom spot for having the worst performing fan token. Investors in the Peacocks’ token would only have $11.92 left if they had put $100 in this time last year when $LUFC was worth $5.4789. Today, it was trading at just $0.6531.
It’s a similar story for fellow Premiership strugglers Everton. A hundred dollars of $EFC would today be worth $17.87. Aston Villa fans would be left with just $27 of their $100 in $AVL.
However, supporters of all three clubs seem not to be too concerned.
“To be honest, I didn’t even know we had a fan token, and I certainly don’t know any fellow supporters who own any or talk about them,” lifelong Leeds fan Terence Williams told Crypto AM.
“I’d find it a massive struggle to care about it. I mean, seriously, do these things bring any real value into a football club?”
Fellow Whites fan John Winter laughed off the notion that the poor return of the $LUFC token was a reflection of his club’s performance on the pitch.
“It’s a ridiculous idea, at the end of the day,” he said.
“Fans don’t care about this sort of thing. Fair enough, everyone’s aware of Bitcoin and probably has some limited knowledge about cryptocurrencies, but the idea of having some sort of say in the decision-making process of your club through buying a digital asset associated with it is something that’s way off in the future for fans. It’s a nonsense.”
Villa supporter Rachel Whitehead was similarly scathing, but added she could see fan tokens taking off one day.
“Problem is, the concept is just something that most people see as beyond them,” she explained.
“If it’s beyond your understanding, it can be a very hard thing to grasp – especially when it comes to cryptocurrency – and then you just don’t really trust it, either because you don’t understand it, or because you hear stories about scams and the like.
“I can’t see myself getting into it, but I’m sure that it will be quite normal in the future to see the fan base being invested in the Villa in this way.”
Evertonian Jack Andrews, who was born less than a mile from Goodison Park, said he has been happy to invest in his club over the last 30 years, but wanted to do it on his own terms, and not with the use of a digital asset.
“I get it, and I understand it. In fact I have a crypto portfolio and I understand decentralised finance but even with my limited knowledge of crypto I just don’t see fan tokens as anything beyond a gimmick,” he said.
“I invest in the club every week – I buy tickets, programmes, food etc, and then I’ll go to the club shop to buy merchandise. I pay my cash direct into the club, and I know that all goes to helping get good players, staff or improving the matchday experience – that’s my investment, and my return on that is the enjoyment of watching the team I support.”
Crypto has begun to integrate with various sports throughout the world, allowing fans to engage with their club in different ways, including voting on decisions within the club and accessing certain exclusives.
But a study by trading guide specialist Trading Browser has questioned their profitability by analysing the price action of these tokens over the course of 2022. Using the data they calculated how much money you would be starting 2023 with if you invested $100 into each coin on January 1st 2022.
#1 – $SANTOS – Santos FC
Santos are a Brazilian football team that Pele famously played for, and are one of the biggest teams in South America. In January 2022 their $SANTOS fan token was worth $3.5038, which means that a $100 investment would have bought 28.5404 tokens. The price of the token has since risen to $4.2954 which means a $100 investment would have ended with $122.59, a 22.59% increase, the most out of any fan token.
#2 – $NAP – Napoli
S.S.C Napoli play in the topflight of Italian football, Serie A, which they have won twice. Their token $NAP was worth $3.2522 in January 2022, which would have purchased 30.7484 tokens. In January 2023 the price has risen to $3.9388 which means that the original $100 would now be worth $121.11.
#3 – $ASM – AS Monaco
AS Monaco play in the French Ligue 1, which they have one eight times. In January 2022 their token $ASM was worth $1.1225. $100 would have bought 89.0869 tokens. The price change over the year ended on $1.1337. This slight increase means fans would have $101.00
#4 – $LAZIO – Lazio
Rome-based Lazio, who play in Serie A, rank fourth, although despite being in the top five it’s not good news for fans. The $LAZIO token was worth $4.6154 on January 1st 2022. This would have bought fans 21.6666 tokens with their $100. The price, however, dropped to $2.9683, meaning fans would have only $64.31 left of their initial investment.
#5 – $AFC – Arsenal
Arsenal are the first Premier League team in this list, they are also the best performing, which sets a bad precedent for any other English clubs as they also start 2023 with a loss. The starting price in 2022 was $3.1948, this had dropped to $1.9697 by January 1st 2023. This means that Arsenal fans who invested $100 would be left with $61.65.
#1– $LUFC – Leeds
Just like the Premier League table, Leeds finds themselves in the bottom half of this list. Leeds have encountered the biggest losses with the price of their $LUFC token plummeting from $5.4789 to just $0.6531. This means that of a $100 investment, fans would have only $11.92 left.
#2 – $LEV – Levante
Levante play in the Spanish second division and are based in Valencia. Currently third in the league their crypto token performance hasn’t been as positive. Worth $2.2926 in January 2022, the price has fallen over the year to $0.3635 on January 1st 2023. This would leave fans with $15.86 if they invested $100 into their team’s token.
#3 – $EFC – Everton
Everton fans won’t be happy anyway right now due to their ongoing relegation battle. It gets even worse if any of those fans invested in the $EFC token last year, as the price fell from $2.3692 to $0.4234, leaving fans with $17.87 left from the initial $100 investment.
#4 – $DZG – Dinamo Zagreb
Dinamo Zagreb are currently first in the Croatian football league, so most fans will be happy with their team’s performance, more so than their $DSG token performance. Its initial low price of $0.9306 means that $100 would have bought you 107.4576 tokens at the start of January 2022, which if sold on January 1st 2023 would have netted you $23.2646.
#5 – $AVL – Aston Villa
Aston Villa are one of the founding teams of the Premier League and also one of the first teams to launch a fan token, although it was met with mixed emotions. The price started at $2.2926, so $100 would have bought 43.6186 tokens. The market conditions lead to the price dropping to $0.6267. This would mean that fans who invested $100 would be left with just $27.3358.
A spokesperson from Trading Browser commented: “Crypto is quickly seeping into many parts of society. Its integration with sports teams has been met with a plethora of views. Proponents highlight the engagement and interaction that these technologies allow fans to have with their favourite teams, and say it gives an increased sense of loyalty and community, however like any investment there are risk factors.
“Over the last year, there have been volatile market conditions and many investors have lost money. Therefore it’s important to never invest what you can’t afford and to do your own in-depth research before you invest.”