Southampton FC – Sarah Batters: ‘NFTs will be a central part of the football experience’ 

Premier League side Southampton FC has tapped into the blockchain and web3.0 with the launch of its new kit for the upcoming season, seeking to evolve the way it engages fans and enhance the experience for Saints supporters across the globe. 

The club launched an NFT per kit, making each one a true collectable item for football shirt collectors in web 3.0. Sarah Batters, Saints’ ,Director of Marketing and Partnerships, explained the Premier League side’s crypto-strategy and what it means for fan engagement.

PaymentExpert: Firstly, can you tell us more about the feedback you have had off the back of Southampton’s new kit launch? 

Sarah Batters: The feedback has been great, especially the away kit which is certainly bold and brave. We’re seeing record sales, for instance, our away shirt sales have increased by 306% compared to this time last season and our home shirt sales have increased by 19.5%. There’s also been a lot of intrigue into the NFT that accompanies each kit launch.

PE: The new kit taps into web 3.0, is this something that could be key to football fan engagement in the future? 

SB: Absolutely, we know it’s not for everyone, but younger fans are tapping into Web 3.0, and we expect it to be a major pillar of fan engagement in the future. What’s important is that we need to be where our fans are and find the right experiences to connect them to the club, but also not forgetting our core fanbase who will want to continue interacting with the club in a more traditional way.

PE: How has the feedback been from the crypto hunt, what could we see from Southampton that builds on this? 

SB: Our aim with the Crypto hunt was to help build understanding and trust around crypto and bitcoin with our partner 

Giving one fan a bitcoin is a life-changing amount of money and turning it into a hunt engaged a lot of fans to find out more. Our fans really embraced the hunt’s concept and got passionately involved, with a huge amount of buzz generated for the competition.

The different elements of the competition were highly engaging for our fans, with the mobile game in round two proving to be the most popular. We had over 800 entries and the average time spent playing the game in round two was 4 minutes and 54 seconds. Another part of the competition encouraged fans to discover QR codes hidden around Southampton, it was great getting fans out and about, encouraging them to explore new areas of the city. 

Through the competition we were also able to increase positivity for by 22%, so we’ll keep working with to continue to drive awareness and education around crypto – it’s so important to be clear on the risks of investment and that comes from understanding. 

PE: Can you tell us more about NFTs and their role for Southampton’s fan engagement strategy? 

SB: With the NFT launch, we are testing the waters to see how fans respond so it’s a bit of an experiment. Going forward NFTs will be a central part of the football experience and the technology will allow us to connect with fans in a different way than before.