Lionel Messi, the world’s highest-paid footballer, will receive a portion of his first Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) salary in crypto, after agreeing to a “large number” of the club’s fan tokens in his welcome package.
The Argentinian superstar this week penned a two-year deal with PSG that will reportedly earn him $41 million in annual salary.
Then, there’s the usual player bonuses, as well as a share of image rights and shirt sales — all of which will net Messi additional dollars.
But Messi will also see his paycheck boosted by a signing fee rumored somewhere in the region of $30 million.
That signing fee includes an undisclosed amount of PSG’s own crypto, a so-called “fan token.” PSG says it will “tie [Messi] with millions of Paris St-Germain fans around the world.”
PSG’s marketing pitch for its token goes it gives supporters a say in a number of minor club decisions.
- messaging on the captain’s armband,
- paint job of the team bus,
- goal of the season and other awards.
Rumors of Messi’s signing with the French club sent the price of PSG’s token soaring over 100%. PSG launched the token in partnership with budding blockchain project Socios in February last year.
PSG’s crypto is currently valued at about $42, up over 220% in the year-to-date.
Messi joins fan token trend
Fan tokens are becoming a lucrative money-spinner for many of the world’s top football clubs.
Aside from PSG, the likes of AC Milan, Inter, Juventus, and Valencia have also launched their own cryptocurrencies in recent months.
But despite the implied monetary benefits for the clubs, many fans aren’t sure.
English Premier League club Leeds United announced its own partnership with Socios last week. The club’s Supporters Trust criticized the moved almost immediately.
The Trust accused the club of herding fans into a cryptocurrency ecosystem that many are not familiar with, which poses significant risk.
In an official statement, the Leeds United Supporters Trust said (via the Football Supporters’ Association):
“As a critical friend, it isn’t the Trust’s place to vet commercial partnerships but rather to highlight when impact on fans may have been either poorly communicated or underexplored. We believe that this is one of those moments.”
“If football chooses to bring unregulated cryptocurrency into the game, we believe that clubs also need to provide education and guidance on the purpose and risks associated,” said the group (our emphasis).