How Chiliz is Pioneering the Future of Fan Engagement Through Web3 Innovation

Home How Chiliz is Pioneering the Future of Fan Engagement Through Web3 Innovation

In the rapidly evolving world of sports, a new era of fan engagement is emerging, driven by the transformative power of web3 technologies. As pioneers in this space, innovative companies like Chiliz are revolutionising how supporters connect with their beloved clubs, fostering a more immersive, participatory ecosystem that benefits both fans and teams alike.

As someone working in a similar domain, I was fascinated by their operations. So, I sat down with CEO Alex Dreyfus to discuss their role in the web3 movement. 

Central to Chiliz’s ecosystem are fan tokens — unique digital assets that grant holders exclusive privileges, access, and decision-making influence within their club’s community. Chiliz CEO Alex Dreyfus explains, “We created the concept of fan tokens to give power to the fans, to empower the fans, but to enhance the relationship.”

This empowerment manifests in numerous ways, from fans voting on club decisions like stadium music and player numbers to unlocking exclusive rewards, experiences, and merchandise. Dreyfus emphasizes, “It’s about moving from a passive fan to an active fan.”

One memorable example of this occurred when Juventus asked their token holders to choose the music played after goals. “It may sound trivial,” Dreyfus admits, “but in reality, when you’re in the stadium or when you watch the match, it actually does matter.” For the first time, fans had a direct say in shaping their stadium experience.


Bridging the Gap Between Web2 and Web3

To facilitate widespread adoption, Chiliz employs a “web2.5” approach, combining the benefits of web3 with user-friendly interfaces familiar to casual fans. Dreyfus explains, “Interestingly, we didn’t start like this. 

We come from pure B2C businesses, and so we created a product where you just log in, create an account, deposit your 20 Euro, and then it gives you Chiliz, and then you can start to engage with the ecosystem.”

The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated clubs’ interest in digital fan engagement as stadiums shut down and teams sought new ways to connect with their global fan base. 

“When stadiums got shut down,” Dreyfus recalls, “managers of each team said, ‘Hey, I have nobody in my stadium, what’s my business model?’ Well, your business model should be to have a direct-to-consumer product.”


Pioneering Partnerships and Innovative Experiences

As web3 integration deepens, forward-thinking clubs like Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) are embracing their role as pioneers. PSG has become a validator on the Chiliz blockchain, earning revenue by verifying transactions, which they plan to use for fan token buybacks. 

Dreyfus notes, “PSG has a head of web3 who has been very successful with their token. They want to go full steam in that space, both from a revenue perspective and a fan engagement perspective.”

Such partnerships also pave the way for groundbreaking fan experiences, like PSG hosting blockchain hackathons at their stadium. “It’s going to be the first time you’re going to have a hackathon in a stadium in the world, in the crypto blockchain space,” Dreyfus explains. “The narrative transcends just the crypto narrative; it’s really about entrepreneurship and developers.”


The Future of Fan Engagement

As the fan token ecosystem evolves, the future of fan engagement looks increasingly participatory and community-driven. Dreyfus envisions a landscape where supporters feel a profound sense of connection and ownership with their clubs. 

“One thing I want to do in ’24 and beyond is to not be just a fan engagement platform, but more like a fan transactional platform,” he shares. This could manifest through cross-promotional loyalty rewards, exclusive content, and even greater fan influence over club decisions.

To achieve this, Chiliz plans to open its platform to external developers, fostering a collaborative environment where new applications and features can emerge. 

“We want to become a web3 wallet that is identified, where we have loyalty,” Dreyfus explains. “We want to be way more open, so anyone who is building stuff can have access to the Chiliz chain and build their own things.”


The Web3 Loyalty Opportunity

For innovators like NFT Workx, a project building next-gen fan engagement technologies, the rise of fan tokens and web3 loyalty programs presents an exciting opportunity. By leveraging blockchain’s transparency and immutability, these initiatives can forge deeper, more trusting relationships between supporters and clubs.

As Dreyfus notes, “We are not going to change the experience of the 50,000 people in the stadium. For us, it’s about investing in things that, most of the time, never existed before.” This sentiment resonates with NFT Workx’s mission to create engaging, rewarding experiences that speak the language of digital natives.

The future of fan engagement is rapidly unfolding, driven by the passion and innovation of web3 pioneers like Chiliz. As more clubs and supporters embrace this transformative technology, the bond between fans and their beloved teams will only grow stronger, ushering in a new era of participatory, community-driven sports fandom.