In 2015, Spanish soccer team Elche CF of Valencia was relegated to the Segunda División, the second tier of Spain's soccer league. Elche was in La Liga, the country's top tier, for two years prior. This relegation, however, was not due to the team's performance but rather its unpaid tax debt.
Fast-forward to 2018, and Dutch crypto company Libereum believes it has a solution to Elche's financial plight. According to a December 26 release from Libereum, the company has acquired Elche to the tune of several million, the first down payment of which was 4.3 million euros (around $4.9 million as of press). In securing the team, Libereum intends to "bring back the club to the Primera Divison [sic]."
To do so, Libereum plans to use its Liber token to build a financial ecosystem surrounding the soccer team. The release notes, "We want the coin (token) to gradually become part of the financial policy in and around the club, so that everything – on the term – can be paid simply, in an easily accessible way, with Liber." This token economy could include ticket sales, merchandising items, and catering within the club's stadium.
Though Liber's success is not guaranteed, Libereum believes it can create demand with the token, thereby improving the coin's market value. Libereum adds that this value could increase more if the company purchased other soccer clubs. "To be continued!" the release hints.
With Libereum's efforts, the company hopes to restore the team's position in La Liga within the next two to three seasons. Also, despite having a majority interest in the club, Libereum says it does not intend to change Elche's organizational structure.
Soccer and cryptocurrency may not represent the most obvious intersection, but other players in the cryptospace have looked at adding a token element to the sport. In September, French soccer club Paris Saint-Germain (last year's Ligue 1 champion) partnered with the tokenized voting platform Socios to further engage the team's fans. A month prior in August, the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA), the administrative body for soccer in Europe, successfully used a blockchain-based ticketing system for the UEFA Super Cup match in Tallinn, Estonia.