A company that stands at the intersection between sports and crypto bought a football club with a plan to grow the team and brand, as well as allow holders of an NFT to share their input in the team’s future.
About WAGMI United: Co-founded by Preston Johnson and Eben Smith, WAGMI United is dedicated to bringing Web3 to the world of sports. The company bought English Football League Two club Crawley Town. The company has a goal of taking Crawley Town to the English Premier League, a move that can be done thanks to the promotion system in English football (soccer) that promotes the top teams every year.
WAGMI United has recruited talented co-owners that are some of the most well-known names in the Web3 space including GFunk, Gmoney, Gary Vee, Justin Taylor, Snowfro and Hunter Orrell.
Benzinga recently chatted with co-owner Hunter Orrell to get more insight into what WAGMI United holds for the future.
Orrell said he started playing soccer at the age of four and until college when he focused on school and put the sport off to the side.
“This venture is one that is entirely emotionally and passion-driven for myself and many others,” Orrell said. “This sport is part of the core of me.”
Orrell told Benzinga he burst into tears when he stepped onto the field of Crawley Town on a recent trip.
“I really hope soccer fans and NFT fans understand how this isn’t just something for fun or just some wealthy people playing with something that locals cherish, we are dedicated to doing the best for the team and doing it in a way that makes the whole world know who Crawley Town and WAGMI United are.”
Orrell said the team behind WAGMI United is special because they have the ability to dream big.
“Whether this is technical, marketing, or branding I don’t see anything that is truly out of reach for this group. My note to fans (football or NFT) is that this is a special group not only on the WAGMI United side, but also on the Crawley Town FC side and I hope you at least tune in to watch what we do.”
NFT Strategy: A WAGMI United NFT, which comes with a mint cost of 0.35 Ethereum ETH/USD, are designed in partnership with Adidas. The NFT mint went live Friday with early access at 12 p.m. ET, waitlist access at 3 p.m. ET and a public mint (if NFTs left) at 6 p.m. ET.
Having an NFT comes with access to special exclusives and is part of the core of WAGMI United being “The Internet’s Team.”
“The NFTs will play a key role in turning that idea into reality,” Orrell said. “Our NFT drop is the first step into giving fans a voice and building a global community around the brand.”
WAGMI United partnered with several existing NFT collections including 555 Collective, Admit One, Pixel Vault, Art Blocks, Chromie Squiggles and adidas Originals to offer early access to the NFT mint.
Holding an NFT will grant access to merchandise, voting on club items, digital items, in-real-life events, a team scarf and a team hat.
Squiggle Jersey: WAGMI United revealed a partnership with Adidas AG - ADR ADDYY that will see the apparel company outfit the team with a special NFT-themed jersey for the 2022-2023 season. This marked the first sponsorship Adidas has ever done with a League Two team.
“By purchasing the NFT, you are able to claim one of the limited-run adidas [Originals] x WAGMI United jerseys,” Orrell said.
The adidas Originals jersey for Crawley Town marks the first sports team to have significant NFT art on their jersey.
The jersey features the well-known Chromie Squiggle designed by ArtBlocks founder Erick Calderon, also known as Snowfro. The Squiggle jersey will be the team’s jersey for the 2022-2023 season and will be available as a physical redemption for NFT holders.
Gary Vee recently praised Snowfro when talking about WAGMI United and the jersey.
“I actually think Snowfro might be the most important artist, he’s on a level I don’t think people understand how important he is,” Vee said. “I can’t wait to buy one [jersey].”
GFunk also praised the Squiggle jersey.
“The WAGMI United Crawley Town Squiggle jersey hits different. Shoutout to the legend (and one of the nicest, most humble people in the space) @artonblockchain,” GFunk tweeted.
Catch interviews of GFunk and Snowfro with Benzinga at VeeCon here.
Crawley Town: WAGMI United purchased Crawley Town, a League Two team that finished 12th out of 24 teams in the league last season. The team can move up to the English Premier League through a promotion system that rewards top teams in League Two, League One and the English League Championship.
Crawley competes in the fourth level of the hierarchy and Orrell is confident that over time the team could reach the English Premier League.
“Without a doubt,” Orrell said of the team reaching the English Premier League. “This is not something we are taking lightly. We are deploying the best strategies and people to ensure that we win games.”
The team has been busy since it was purchased by WAGMI United. Crawley Town signed last year’s League Two leading scorer Dom Telford, signed one of the highest-rated defenders in League Two in Dion Conroy, added Liverpool’s James Balagizi on loan and signed Tottenham defender Tobi Omole, who turned down offers elsewhere to join Crawley believing in the future of the team.
The team also announced it has sold more season tickets in a two-week period than it did all last season.
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