Southampton FC has enhanced its partnership with cryptocurrency sportsbook Sportsbet.io to create a new VIP fan engagement experience for its supporters.
The Premier League team will join a series of football clubs to have entered into agreements with cryptocurrency firms, including AC Milan, Swansea City, FC Barcelona, Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain.
As a result of the agreement, Sportsbet.io will utilise its existing matchday rights deal with Saints – having been the ‘official matchday partner’ of the club – to engage with fans on cryptocurrency.
Additionally, the firm will use integrated virtual reality (VR) technology to ‘recreate the magic of matchday, at home’.
Furthermore, influencers who participate in the scheme will be provided with a Bitcoin value to invest in building a unique VIP experience, such as front-row seats at the training ground or a stadium tour with a club legend.
The VR product made its debut in December 2020 ahead of Southampton’s home clash against Manchester City, featuring a tour of the St Mary’s stadium with famous former players Francis Benail and Matthew Le Tisser.
David Thomas, Chief Commercial Officer at Southampton FC, remarked: “As a club our digital approach has always looked to redefine the content status-quo and we were excited at the shared values between ourselves and the Sportsbet.io team.
“The work that is currently ongoing is a pleasure to be involved with and we want to ensure as many of our fans are experiencing that St Mary’s nostalgia as possible. We cannot wait for the full return of our fans but in the meantime, Sportsbet.io have found an innovative way to ensure our club and fans can stay connected.”
Fuse, Sportsbet.io’s creative and PR agency, first developed the initiative in response to the limitations of the COVID-19 pandemic, seeking to create a digital solution to activating matchday rights in spectatorless sporting environments.
Coingaming Group-owned Sportsbet.io aims to redefine the fan experience via the use of technology and its cryptocurrency enterprise, delivering exclusive experiences to football supporters, as well as the sportsbook customers.
“We think cryptocurrency has a big future in football and we’re right behind it,” said Tim Heath, Founder of Coingaming Group.
“Alongside fan experiences like this, we’ve just seen the first Bitcoin transfer take place where a footballer was purchased using cryptocurrency and signed for DUX Internacional de Madrid, and earlier this year NFL pro footballer Russell Okung said he’s getting his salary in Bitcoin.
“We’re likely to see more of the same – from clubs finding new ways to engage with fans on a match day to the way business is done at the top of the game.”
Sportsbet.io has plans for further activity with Southampton throughout 2021, with potential for expansion across the team’s sponsorship portfolio.