Understanding the Metaverse and Web 3.0 Can Help Understand Chelsea’s Huge Valuation | Ed Warner

It was the shoes that put me in my place. As I queued to attend the SportsPro Live jamboree at The Oval in April, I scanned my fellow delegates’ shoes and realized that my traditional black leather lace-up shoes were pointing at me like the dinosaur I am.

If not literally the oldest person in the conference, then mentally too. Reader, shoddy as I was, I’ve dived out of my comfort zone into all things metaverse to frame your future involvement in the sport.

It would have been easy to fill my two days in familiar territory, taking lessons in developing women’s football, hosting major events and the latest digital marketing trends. But the mermaid called me to the virtual reality rocks. And not just me, because the sessions on the metaverse and the wonders of Web 3.0 were packed.

Perhaps comforted by the sight of an old man in a suit, who was necessarily least at home in the new age, I was often asked during breaks between sessions if I still understood. I felt a palpable relief when I said no – they were not alone! But when I get out of The Oval, I think I’ll “get” the technology now (not how it works, of course, but what it does). I just don’t understand the magnitude of the sport’s current frenzy about this.

Most enlightening was a joint presentation of LaLiga, the highest echelon of Spanish football, and their metaverse partners, GreenPark Sports. The plan is for a digital world beyond just physical mirroring, a world where fans interact online during LaLiga matches – a dual-screen existence – competing against each other to control the flow and ebb of the game. to predict.

Welcome to the virtual sports world of GreenPark – the first mobile testing ground for sports fans. It’s time to prepare for your favorite team and take on your rivals in epic battles to win Fanergy. Now you can prove once and for all that you are the most valuable fan. Game on.

GreenPark website

Their target markets are gamers and collectors, two tribes drawn to the lure of the virtual prizes they can display in the metaverse. How can you make money with this kind of “dungeons and dragons”? One of the examples cited was participating in a real-life LaLiga match where a virtual asset was “unlocked” that cannot be earned in any other way. However, it is difficult to see that this is a large pile of bitcoins or euros. It’s also disheartening to think of the competition from global esports giants that will undoubtedly dominate the virtual reality (VR) gaming market.

That’s what makes Wolverhampton Wanderers’ strategy intriguing. Russell Jones, head of marketing and business growth at Wolves, underlined the eighth seeded Premier League side’s ambition to be ‘the ultimate challenger club’ with a ‘dare to be different’ ethos. He tries to expand his brand into the leisure world by launching a record label and a high-end fashion line aimed at the Chinese market (land of the owners of the club, Fosun International).

The Premier League club’s Wolves have branched out into areas such as fashion and games

None of these brand extensions made my heart beat when I heard them explained. But I’m not looking for a pair of gold and black passes. Wolves Esports, however, is another matter. Ten professional game teams have been set up in a range of major title formats. They’ve claimed 20 million followers in China, helped by recruiting top players (watch King Pro League star Captain Fly – pass it on…). Needless to say, they play in gold and black kits with the Wolves logo.

The football team crossover is trickier than LaLiga creating its own virtual universe, but I can imagine real money being generated by effectively licensing the Wolves brand to a major esports. Provided, of course, that adequate financial strength is expended on both sides of the empire — and neither is disappointed by the other’s on-field or arena performance.

Fosun International has a market capitalization on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange of approximately £7 billion ($8.6 billion). Despite Wolves’ broad ambitions, it seems unlikely that his kin would lack the resources to take him past “challenger” status, but there’s enough about the role model to suggest he’ll be a disruptor for years to come.

Compare the valuation of Fosun – of which the football club is only a small part – with the price of Chelsea. The media recently published a comment from Todd Boehly, head of the consortium that won a £4.25 billion ($5.2 billion) bid to buy the club, which he made in a Bloomberg interview a few years ago.

Growing up, we had Pac-Man, Donkey Kong, but I certainly didn’t know Man United, I didn’t know Chelsea, I didn’t know Tottenham. Kids these days are fully aware of what’s best and the Premier League is the best. I continue to believe that there is a global opportunity for top clubs.

By my calculations, Boehly, 46, was a preteen when Pac-Man and Donkey Kong left, so very impressionable. When the target is today’s impressionable youth with parallel virtual existences stretching out in front of them, mixed with electronic games, then the evaluation of Chelsea’s brand starts to feel a little less insane.

Brace yourself for your kids or grandkids (delete depending on your age) stalking you in the future for a new skin from their team of choice, assuming you’ve already paid for their VR headset and other necessary gear, of course. No more Panini stickers, but their digital equivalent, and not just plain or non-replaceable tokens, but customizable tokens to boost their status and self-esteem in the metaverse.

Whether you can then convince them to venture through wind and rain to join you in a real game in the physical world is up to you and your ability to sell the heritage sport’s attractions.


Ed Warner is president of GB Wheelchair Rugby and Crystal Palace FC’s official charity, the Palace for Life Foundation. Until 2017, he was chairman of British Athletics for ten years, as well as the London 2017 World Championships in Athletics and the World Para-Athletics Championships. He writes about sports business at sportinc.substack.com.

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