Premier League club Southampton FC has formed an agreement with cryptocurrency sportsbook Sportsbet.io to create a new VIP experience for Saints supporters.
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.
The partnership will utilise Sportsbet.io’s matchday rights with the Saints to engage football fans on cryptocurrency, integrating virtual reality (VR) technology to ‘recreate the magic of matchday, at home’. The Coingaming Group-owned sportsbook has been the ‘main club partner’ of the club since August 2020.
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.
Tim Heath, Founder of the Coingaming Group, said: “We think cryptocurrency has a big future in football and we’re right behind it.
“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.”
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.
Content is delivered to influencers using the Pico neo2 headset by Pico Interactive, which specialises in providing VR solutions for business in the USA, Canada, Europe, Africa, and Asia.
The Virtual Reality product made its debut in December 2020 ahead of Southampton’s home clash against Manchester City, featuring a tour of the club’s St Mary’s stadium with club legends Franny Benail and Matthew Le Tisser.
“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,” commented David Thomas, Chief Commercial Officer at Southampton FC.
“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.”
Sportsbet.io has plans for further activity with Southampton throughout 2021, with potential for further expansion across the team’s sponsorship portfolio.
Southampton has joined a range of football clubs, including Arsenal, Swansea City, FC Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain and AC Milan, to enter into a partnership with a cryptocurrency firm.