D.he German football and investors, this shared history is not exactly glorious. The fan bonds issued by Bundesliga clubs appear to have a very good interest rate of up to 6.5 percent, but they pose a considerable risk for investors. After all, clumsy clubs like 1. FC Köln, Werder Bremen or the heavily indebted FC Schalke 04 rely on their broad fan base to help them make ends meet. 1. FC Kaiserslautern fared so badly last year that it had to ask its creditors to defer the bond interest. Investors also had little fun with the two listed football clubs. The share price of Borussia Dortmund fluctuates strongly and is a third below the issue price in 2000. The share of the fourth-class Spielvereinigung Unterhaching is even two-thirds cheaper than when it went public in mid-2019.
Maybe footballers and investors could get together better in another way: with crypto values, a kind of Bitcoin for the Bundesliga. Some large clubs have given a lot of thought to this, as a sample from the FAS has shown. Florian Hopp, CFO of Champions League participant RB Leipzig, does not currently see any added value from so-called fan tokens, a mixture of crypto value and share. According to Hopp, there are prospects for opportunities: “This could possibly be interesting with a view to our internationalization efforts.” At 1. FC Köln, the topic is also closely monitored. However, there is a lack of empirical values ”in order to be able to make a final assessment,” says FC Managing Director Alexander Wehrle: “Every source of income must also have a market.”
The opportunities that can open up for clubs and their investors recently became apparent when world star Lionel Messi switched to top French club Paris Saint-Germain (PSG). The transfer was spectacular in several ways. First of all, because the little Argentine turned his back on FC Barcelona, where he grew up and successful, after 21 years in tears and without a transfer fee. Second, because the transfer revealed the club’s existential financial problems. Thirdly, the change was sensational because Messi’s welcome money of allegedly just under 30 million euros also included a stake of crypto money.
It is said to have been a “significant” amount, said the capital club. In any case, it was good business. Not only did the PSG fan token suddenly gain popularity, it also reached a trading volume of $ 1.2 billion in the days around Messi’s arrival. Because the value of the token more than doubled to $ 50 within five days, not only the fan investors could be happy: PSG pocketed at least 15 million euros according to estimates. Messi’s salary can be covered for around five months.
Similar fan tokens, which are easy to buy and sell on crypto exchanges, also have other top European clubs such as Manchester City, Juventus Turin or AC Milan. Presumably, the clubs not only earn money with it, but can also further strengthen the bond with their supporters and make the digital investment product more popular overall. By buying tokens like this, a fan can not only feel like an investor, but can also contribute more than just singing or scolding in the stadium.