Footballs digital partnerships: Could online gaming come next?

Footballs digital partnerships: Could online gaming come next?

January 20, 2023

In the modern world, digital industries are at the forefront of commercial growth. With the relatively recent developments of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and cryptocurrency, there has been an increase in soccer clubs and individual players agreeing on partnerships with brands that solely offer digital products.

Lack of branding

On a longer time scale, soccer betting TV ads have often featured stars associated with the game. More recently, with the introduction and popularity of online casino gaming, sports betting platforms have been including soccer-themed games in the same app as their sportsbook offerings. Soccer slot machines and bingo games often come with a general theme. For example, Bodog Casino offers Global Cup Soccer which is roughly based on the FIFA World Cup. There are also branded offerings on the site, like World Cup Football, a slot associated with the biggest international soccer tournament. However, there is certainly a lack of sponsorships with big soccer stars and teams in themed slot machines across the board.

The success of other industries

Most online casino game providers offer generic titles when it comes to their soccer-based games, and there is certainly huge potential for growth if sponsorships with some of the game’s top stars could be agreed upon. Branded partnerships have been hugely successful across other industries.

Cristiano Ronaldo made a partnership with Binance to release a full range of his own branded NFTs which depict key moments in Ronaldo’s career. The bidding for some of the rare items amounted to five-figure sums in the early stages, demonstrating the worthiness of marketing with one of the biggest soccer stars. This effect could be replicated in casino gaming with a Ronaldo-themed slot, or a game about a star of a similar stature such as Lionel Messi. Just like how NFTs and cryptocurrency have demanded the attention of football fans in the recent past, a key face in the soccer world being attached to online games could bring in a huge audience of fans of the sport.

Cryptocurrency company Socios has been a crucial player in making partnerships with the professional soccer world. They have agreements in place with many clubs including Paris Saint-Germain, in which they have made physical incentives available for owning their digital tokens. Fans can cash in their virtual currency for physical stadium tours or match tickets. PSG fan tokens can even be redeemed for VIP experiences. The tokens sold for over $30 million in just a matter of days following Messi’s arrival at PSG, demonstrating the influence of arguably soccer’s biggest star. Again this is something online casino gaming providers could be influenced by. Aside from involving real-money rewards, casino platforms could offer other physical incentives such as club merchandise, while featuring star players in their games.

Overall the offerings of online soccer-based games are quite general and offer the same incentives as most games offer with a slight soccer twist. But this could be altered with the introduction of huge stars at the forefront of the marketing for these games. Other digital industries have taken full advantage of that marketing power and it is surely only a matter of time before the online gaming sector follows suit. 

Some of the world’s biggest soccer clubs could create their own branded casino games for their fans with the ability to receive physical rewards in exchange for wins within the game. Some of the top stars could also feature – for example at Liverpool FC, Mohamed Salah is a marketing phenomenon. Soccer’s top players are some of the most influential figures on the planet and attaching their brand to online games offers huge potential.

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