For Arsenal football is just a route to marketing opportunities, no matter how awful

By Tony Attwood

I can’t imagine that there are many football supporters for whom the playing of matches is not the key element within the notion of supporting a club.  Unfortunately the attitude of many club owners is becoming increasingly removed from the vision of the supporters.

Because for many owners football is merely the gateway to lucrative financial arrangements.  Some of those “arrangements” are indeed obviously football centred, such as the new Premier League deal with NBC in the USA which is said to be bringing another £2 billion to the clubs.

But that is only the start.  And indeed it seems that to many club owners in the Premier League, how the club does on the pitch, and how much money the club itself loses is irrelevant.  It is having access to the market that counts.

Which leads us to cryptocurrencies.  If you don’t know quite what they are and how they operate, I am sorry to say you are not likely to learn much to relieve your ignorance here, because I can’t quite work it out either.  Except to say they exist simply to be traded.  They have no benefit, do nothing, achieve nothing, but people buy and sell them.

So while a house has value and can be lived in, and an record album can be bought and played and bring pleasure to the listeners, the cryptocurrency just is – and as such can lose the investor a lot of money if its value (which is linked to nothing except the desire of others to buy it) goes down.

In the UK the Financial Services Authority said in a report at the start of this year, “Investing in crypto assets, or investments and lending linked to them, generally involves taking very high risks with investors’ money. If consumers invest in these types of products, they should be prepared to lose all their money.”

In football the idea is the cryptocurrency organisers sell tokens linked to the cryptocurrency, and Manchester City, Arsenal, Everton, Leeds, Aston Villa and I think other clubs have all joined in.

The point about many of these arrangements is that they are both unregulated and incomprehensible.  As with Manchester City’s “decentralised finance trading analysis” partnership with a firm called 3Key, a company whose senior management team turned out to be a total fiction.  That revelation made the financial press, and caught Manchester City on the hop. They quickly retreated and ditched the deal.

But football clubs – and this includes Arsenal – have a role in this of providing an audience of potential buyers who don’t know what they are doing but think that by being involved in the club’s crypto currency they gain influence.  Just look at Arsenal’s promotion of crypto currency (and it is not the bad grammar that I am complaining about).

The promotion begins

“Working with Socios we have a created a platform that will allow you to influence and engage with club decisions like never before.

“$AFC is the way we do that. It’s the name of the only official Arsenal Fan Token.

“$AFC will give you: certain voting rights on official club decisions and the opportunity to earn real-life and digital club-related benefits and experiences.”

Which sounds rather interesting and not a part of the financial world that is unregulated and has been described as a place where “the smart make money out of the dumb.”  

This is how it works.   A rumour goes around that Arsenal are going to sign a world famous top player.  That leads to a rise in the price of the $AFC fan token – which is a cryptocurrency.   The club then perhaps (and this bit is speculation by me) does what PSG did with Messi, and pays him part of his signing on fee in the club’s own cryptocurrency.  The fans go wild when they hear that and want some of the action, and so buy into the cryptocurrency.

Then nothing happens, and the price drops, but quite possibly by then the smart people (maybe including Messi’s advisers) had sold their cryptocurrency tokens.  The fans are left with something they thought was valuable but now they can’t flog.

It’s not even like collecting football programmes, which at least can be read.

So what are Arsenal saying?   Here is some more…

“You can start influencing club decisions with just one $AFC Fan Token.

“Of course, the weight of your vote is defined by the number of Fan Tokens you own. If you own 10 Fan Tokens, your vote will count as 10. 

“Fan Tokens are also available to purchase exclusively on the app.

“In order to buy $AFC Fan Tokens you will need to sign up for a Socios account and then purchase the cryptocurrency Chiliz ($CHZ) on the app using either your debit or credit card.  You can then exchange your $CHZ for your $AFC Fan Token. The cost of one $AFC Fan Token varies depending on supply and demand, but the total cost (including any applicable service fees) will always be made known to you on the app prior to purchase…

“Please be aware that the Chiliz cryptocurrency is a type of digital currency that is not currently regulated in the UK. If you purchase $CHZ on the app, the value of this currency can go up and down and you may not be able to get your money back.  Similarly, once you exchange your $CHZ to an $AFC Fan Token, you may not be able to sell your Fan Token for the same price that you purchased it for and could lose money if you decide you no longer want your Fan Token.  We advise you to spend only what you can afford and seek independent financial advice if required.  We also recommend that you refer to the Socios app Terms and Conditions and Help Pages prior to purchasing any Fan Token. Remember that you only need one Fan Token to vote in polls and participate in competitions.”

Now, I would like your help.   Can you please tell me how any of this benefits the fans?  Or why it is a good idea to let the financially naive buy cryptocurrency thinking they are going to influence the club?

The new game for the billionaires: buying a multiplicity of football clubs

6 Replies to “For Arsenal football is just a route to marketing opportunities, no matter how awful”

  1. “Can you please tell me how any of this benefits the fans?”: If anyone can, I’d be very interested in their rationale indeed
    When you think that’s the kind of stuff you can read on now, while adrian clarke’s “breakdown” has been axed!!

  2. LE GALL

    I used to enjoy Adrians ‘Breakdown’. As I have often admitted I am not and never have been tactically astute. When I played I did as asked and that was that basically.

    When a winger. Attack the full back and put in crosses.

    When a full back. Stop the winger doing precisely that. Simples.

    Getting an explanation as to how and why this or that did or din’t happen was always very interesting to me.

    I assumed it had been axed but I haven’t seen or heard any explanation.

    Apart from the match day program I have to admit the channel is pretty poor. Given the size of our club frankly it’s a bit embarrassing really.

  3. All I ever wanted when I first went was to walk down Avenell Road and get my uncle to pay 1/6d at the turnstile . Then it became 3/6d of my hard earned and it has gone up ever since . Now the club are trying to get me to buy into crypto currency . I don’t think so !

  4. @nitram
    i’ve been retired for almost a year now, but i used to be an english teacher in france
    believe it or not, i used adrian as a “pronunciation role model” in class
    sometimes i even had the kid record themselves doing impressions of one of his “breakdowns” which i had transcripted for them – always “breaking down” one arsenal victory, of course
    some of them were very good at it, too – the ones who loved acting
    of course the price to pay was that sometimes after a loss, i was greeted with: “sir, before we start the lesson, could we have a few words about arsenal’s yesterday’s game please??”
    well, i miss adrian, he has a keen eye, and he looks like such a nice bloke too – the kind you’d like to have a beer (guinness for me please) – or two – with after a game
    really can’t see the reason why he was (i assume he was, actually) shown the door

  5. He still works the match day live program, which they now call ‘the breakdown live’ possibly in some clumsy attempt to appease him.

    As you say he is very good and seems he would be pleasant company over a beer or two.

    I’m rather partial to a drop of the black stuff myself.

  6. None of the crypto-mining is environmentally friendly, despite claims that they are. When the world wakes up to the realities of “Build Back Better” and its financial cost, DataCenter CPU cycles will have to be justified.

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