Moulding the fortunes of your favourite club in management games has been a popular pastime among football fans for decades, but the days of floppy disks and drives are long gone. Nowadays, people create avatars and compete with likeminded individuals in virtual competitions.
A new partnership involving VfL Wolfsburg is set to open up exciting new possibilities in this area. With the help of start-up The Football Company (TFC), the Wolves will produce their own digital merchandise from now on. On the virtual TFC marketplace, as well as other relevant platforms in the medium term, VfL fans will be able to put these blockchain-based, licenced garments on their avatars, collect and trade them, and use them to take part in the TFC management game. From 31 March, the first VfL items will be available via the “The Football Club” app’s marketplace. The Wolves will be one of the first Bundesliga clubs to be represented in this way in the digital world with a selection of their top-selling items.
“First steps into Web3”
Through their cooperation with Fanzone, which deals in digital trading cards, VfL have already entered the world of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) – limited, customisable objects that are permanently assigned to individuals, much like a vehicle registration document, and can increase in value. The licence partnership with TFC will enable the Green-and-Whites to further expand their digital offering by giving the company the rights to produce NFT merchandising items such as trousers, scarves and shirts and make them available for collection. “In TFC, we’ve found an ideal partner with whom we’ll take our first steps into Web3,” said VfL managing director Michael Meeske. “Digital merchandising is a bona fide first-mover step for us as a football club and a key pillar of further metaverse possibilities. We want to set out on this journey vigilantly, openly and with a great deal of curiosity, while approaching the opportunities that present themselves with conviction.”
Merging virtual and real-life football
TFC was founded at the beginning of the 2021/22 Bundesliga season. Its mission is to open up the metaverse, which combines physical and virtual elements, to football fans online around the world. By giving supporters access to football and lifestyle brands, blockchain helps them connect even more closely with clubs, brands and players in a virtual space. TFC uses what is known as Flow Blockchain, which is considered to be particularly energy-efficient, fast and sustainable.
Ante Kristo, CEO of the Munich-based company, said: “In VfL Wolfsburg, we’ve gained a very innovative and strong partner who has recognised that blockchain technology offers new opportunities to interact with its fanbase and bind them to the club in a value-based, long-term manner.”