Football (soccer) is an over $40 billion industry and the most popular sport in the world. However, there are considerable inefficiencies surrounding cross-currency transactions and lack of financial transparency in the football industry. Clubs are left paying at minimum 2-3% in fees when transferring money across borders. Hence, blockchain technology has the potential to make this ecosystem more efficient. A token platform that aligns the incentives of clubs, fans, and players would revolutionize the football industry.
Stars Group seeks to disrupt the football space with STARS token – a sports club-backed ERC-20 token that will conduct transactions within professional football clubs. Such transactions can be tied, but not limited to, the sale of merchandise, player and club/stadium memorabilia, food and beverage sales, and tickets (single-game, group, corporate, mini-season and full-season packages).
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Fan utilization of STARS token will displace the current third-party infrastructure that many clubs currently use as a marketplace for tickets and merchandise. Contingent upon the successful implementation of STARS token for fan use, the group plans on exploring its use as a currency that facilitates player transfer fees between clubs. The security of token technology, full transparency of the ledger, and the decentralized nature of a token based on the Ethereum blockchain provides our global stakeholders to join the emergence of a revolutionary financial ecosystem
Stars Group envisions there will be a time in the not-so-distant future where €198 million transfer fees, €1.8 billion broadcasting rights, $100 million sponsorship deals, and £4 billion club valuations will all be transacted through digital currency.
The STARS team is lead by Founder and CEO Daniel Taylor. After a career as a professional football player, Daniel co-founded StarsGroup and the Only4Stars International Sports Entertainment Corporation Ltd (ISEC). Only4stars is a global football, marketing, match and sports tourism agency that specializes in developing and managing elite youth players, high profile players, and coaches around the world. Daniel also co-founded Tipster, an iOS App and Web Widget featuring personalized style advice from vetted influencers. Tipster has been featured in Vogue, WWD, Yahoo Style, and Good Day New York.
I recently had the opportunity to chat with Daniel about his vision for STARS to shed some light upon the use case of the token:
What made you realize that there is potential in applying blockchain technology to football? In particular, which key problem(s) with the traditional football does your product/platform solve?
As a football agency, we have found that there are many financial/operational inefficiencies within the industry.
- Football is an ecosystem in itself, that does not operate as a byproduct of any single economy, but rather has ties to a diversity of countries, currencies, capital inflows, and football market dynamics.
- The unfortunate reality of the industry is that corruption does exist, and FIFA is doing all they can to crack down on financial fair play, and require transparency from an ownership/transaction perspective.
- There are very few opportunities for the fans of the world’s #1 sport to give back to the game and engage. I’ve had colleagues, friends, fans, and superfans all express their interest in getting involved in the game or give back to their team.
- Club’s receive sponsorship, broadcasting, merchandise sales, tickets sales, and transfer fee revenue in different currencies, and at each exchange/transaction point, the club loses money in transaction fees.
- Payment delays are rampant throughout the industry.
Why is it necessary to implement blockchain protocols in order to solve the problem you mention above?
The Stars Platform will issue STARS token (an ERC-20 token) that operates on the Ethereum blockchain. The smart contract protocol solves various issues mentioned above. Just look at the current player transfer process. When two clubs agree to sell a player, the players goes to their new club for a medical check up. After the player passes their medical test, the player will sign the new contract, and then the buyer will transfer funds in the denomination of the seller’s choosing. The smart contract protocol will automate this process, and ensure that the transfer is made on time, for the agreed to amount with a singular currency, eliminating the currency exchange. This saves saving time and money in the transfer process. Furthermore, FIFA, and every token holder will be able to see that the transfer was made on the distributed ledger, providing full transparency and security to the transfer process.
How did you engineer aligned incentives for the STARS token to flow seamlessly across your platform? Describe each main category of people involved in this ecosystem and respectively why they would want to spend and/or hold the STARS token.
Stars Group will be the first sports club group and first club in general to use blockchain technology. Fans can redeem STARS token for access to in-platform products and services such as merchandise, player and club/stadium memorabilia, food and beverage sales, exclusive tickets, and digital content. Subject to the successful implementation of Stars Group Platform, we will consider exploring opportunities to license the proprietary API to other professional football clubs for merchandise sales, transfer fee, and operational purposes. For clubs, STARS token has the potential to enable transactions to become seamless and risk free for teams that operate utilizing multiple currencies.
What is the advantage of having your own token on the STARS platform as opposed to completing payments in ETH or BTC?
The underlying value of ETH is ICO’s. The underlying value of BTC are online purchases for various goods and services. STARS has the potential to be a currency tied to the global football market, connected to but not contingent on the market of ICO’s or the general market for online goods and services. Demand is driven by increased utilization and the growth of our market, and therefore price fluctuations will be a bi-product of the football economy.
Thank you, Daniel, for sharing your vision for this platform that seeks to disrupt professional football – and potentially lead the way for other football clubs and even other sports clubs to follow suit to create a more transparent and efficient system.
The Stars Group public crowd sale is scheduled for November of 2017 and aims to raise a maximum $51 million. The total token supply is 500 million (500,000,000) STARS, which will be allocated to the following: 60% sold in the token sale, 15% team, 15% reserve, 8% reserved for token sale bonuses, 2% allocated for marketing, legal, miscellaneous fees.
Tokens will be open for purchase with ETH and BTC on Starsgroup.io. All tokens will be transferred to purchasers’ wallets at once during the token distribution (December 2017).