This exclusive interview with West Ham United is part of “Fan XP” – a newsletter designed to keep you abreast of the latest innovations, strategies and more regarding fan experience across the globe. To sign up, please click here.
A groundbreaking new partnership between West Ham United and the Socios.com platform will allow the football club to enhance the experience of fans by putting them at the heart of the decision-making process.
Whilst the likes of Paris Saint-Germain in France and Italian giants Juventus have already adopted the platform, West Ham has become the first English Premier League club to link up with the blockchain-based app that allows fans to acquire the ability to vote on certain club matters by buying or earning ‘fan tokens’.
West Ham’s Digital and Commercial Director Karim Virani tells us: “The focus is on giving fans the ability to enhance their experience no matter where they are. This could be anything from voting on Socios.com for the man of the match that gets announced in the stadium, to picking questions to ask one of our players in an interview for Socios.com.”
The fan tokens, available for West Ham supporters from the start of next season, will also offer access to rewards, exclusive merchandise, games and unique experiences.
The tokens will only be available through Socios.com and will be tradeable against the platform’s native cryptocurrency, $CHZ, and fans will need to purchase ChiliZ tokens in order to exchange them into fan tokens. The value of the fan tokens will go up or down, depending on market demand.
Virani adds that the partnership has been inspired by a commitment to “give fans a new way to engage with the club”.
He says: “We recognise that many fans are now digital users first, with many looking at and using new technologies in their day-to-day lives. As a result, West Ham United’s presence on Socios.com’s state of the art platform will further give us the ability to interact and get direct feedback in real-time from our global fan base which will be important to our future fan engagement strategy.
“We’re very excited about the possibilities Socios.com offers us to give fans the best experience possible, whether they live within a mile of the stadium or thousands of miles away.”
Socios.com will not currently say whether the fans’ votes will simply be used to reach a consensus on certain club-related issues or whether – as perhaps would be a logical step – individual voting data can ultimately be retrieved, allowing for more tailored experiences and products to be offered in line with a supporter’s personal preferences.
However, according to the platform, more Premier League partners will be announced in the near future. To support its expansion, the team behind Socios.com raised more than $66m in funding earlier this year.
For West Ham, though, the partnership marks just the latest fan engagement initiative at the club, which has worked with CSM Live on innovative branding at London Stadium for several years.
Just last month, the club installed a claret-coloured pitch surround at the stadium home following an agreement with the facility’s landlord, the London Legacy Development Corporation.
The club believes that by ditching the previous green and adopting the club’s distinctive claret colour, the matchday experience for fans and players will be boosted at the venue, which was the centrepiece for the London 2012 Olympic Games, by enhancing the ‘home’ feel.