Crawley Town have been taken over by a group of cryptocurrency investors who are promising to bring “Web3’s most innovative ideas” to the League Two club.
Wagmi United, a US consortium who had previously been linked with a deal to buy Bradford City, confirmed their revolution in West Sussex after taking a controlling stake in Crawley from the Turkish steel magnate Ziya Eren.
Crawley are currently mid-table in English football’s fourth tier and their most recent set of accounts revealed the club to be half a million pounds in debt. But the new owners, backed by funding from prominent US internet entrepreneurs, have ambitions for promotion and promise to increase fan engagement through digital tokens.
“Crawley Town Football Club is a club with more than 125 years of rich history that we revere and respect,” said Preston Johnson, one of Wagmi United’s founders. “However, a conventional approach to ownership hasn’t worked, and the club is losing hundreds of thousands of pounds while fans suffer through year after year of uninspiring results on the pitch.
“We think the club can do better and our fans deserve better. Sports are supposed to be fun and bring communities together. At Crawley Town, we’re going to shake up the status quo, try out some new ideas, and build a worldwide community of fans.”
Johnson and his fellow Wagmi founder Eben Smith are both enthusiasts for NFTs – digital tokens that are increasingly ubiquitous in sport but have been controversial due to speculative trading in their value. It appears Wagmi’s plan is to sell NFTs that will allow buyers to take decisions in the club while also generating revenue.
Smith has cited one possible use of the NFTs to be the opportunity for fans to remove him as a club director should Crawley not be promoted to League One in two years. “We might run for reelection,” Smith said, “but we don’t just get to hold the fanbase hostage because our dad invented Cablevision.” Cablevision was an American television provider that went out of business in 2016.