WAGMI United took over the League Two club in April and the owners have bold plans as they seek to “shake up the status quo and build a global community of fans”.
The ambitious new owners of Crawley Town will make the club’s third kit for next season available only to fans who purchase Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs).
The League Two side was acquired by cryptocurrency firm WAGMI United towards the end of last season. Upon its purchase, the owners declared to “shake up the status quo, try some new ideas, and build a worldwide community of fans.”
The decision to release a strip available solely to fans who buy NFTs could upset traditional fans who don’t understand or agree with the concept of cryptocurrency. Speaking about the thorny issue, co-owner Preston Johnson explained the reasoning: “Our NFTs are more like virtual season tickets. They’re not items we’re trying to sell to local fans.
“We’re bringing something our NFT audience has wanted for a long time: a professional sports club. Who was going to be the first to do it? It was WAGMI United and we want to make it to the Premier League one day.”
So far, supporters of the Sussex club seem to be happy with how the deal has gone so far. The investment in the club’s infrastructure has been evident, with a variety of appointments being made behind the scenes.
On the gaming side, Arsenal’s under-23 manager Kevin Betsy’s poaching has been widely praised and on Friday, the Red Devils managed something of a coup by signing striker Dominic Telford on a free transfer. Telford scored 25 League Two goals for Newport County last term before allowing his contract to run out.
The club, whose average attendance last season was the second-lowest in the EFL, is now entering a new era, but it’s hard to predict how it will turn out given this is the first such acquisition.
Johnson says season ticket holders and NFTs will eventually have a say in certain decisions made at the club, but has given few details about what this will actually entail. Speaking with the i, Johnson says that he and his fellow director Eban Smith plan to be as open as possible in outlets like Twitter.
He adds, “Being open and transparent helps keep fans cool and comfortable with some of the newness and weirdness of what’s going on.”
Johnson also confirmed that he and Smith purchased the club using traditional currency rather than NFT and that their reserve shares will allow them to “preserve the club” for several seasons. He added: “We are still very confident that we will be able to establish something that will generate income for the club and it will be positive.”
Crawley will start the League Two season on July 30 away from Carlisle United.