We asked 525 grassroots footballers about their attitude to NFTs & Crypto. Here’s what we learned…
Introducing the xG x Pitchero Survey
xG is a platform to reward grass-roots athletes with NFTs for in-real-life achievements. To develop our project, we carried out a survey with partners Pitchero to get a better understanding of grassroots football players in the UK.
We asked 525 players, admins and coaches about their awareness and interest in web3 assets such as NFTs. We also sought to understand how players and teams currently celebrated and rewarded success.
As Pitchero’s platform consists of 1.5mn football players, coaches and admins, we were confident that we had a representative sample of the grass roots game in terms of age, genders and regionality.
The survey provided an opportunity to get an early sense — not only of how receptive players might be to xG, but also, to gather insights that may shape how we communicate about xG and build an experience tailored for grassroots athletes.
Newsflash: we’re still early, but xG appeals to crypto savvy respondents…
The results of the survey had a very clear and perhaps not unpredictable headline: the majority of our respondents felt they had a low level of crypto knowledge. The other overwhelming finding was a prevailing negative sentiment towards crypto and NFTs.
No surprise then — but nonetheless valuable to repeat the mantra from those within the space: we’re still early. This is also worth contextualising with a reminder of football’s well documented relationship with crypto — sponsorship deals for vast sums and supporters being sold fan tokens remain polarising topics.
However, for respondents who were warm to crypto and to NFTs, the principles of xG were received positively. We believe this is significant. Whilst this group is in the minority at the moment, the NFT market is still developing and as awareness and experience grows, it’s not unreasonable to expect warmth towards xG to grow accordingly.
So, as entities like the English Premier League and other cultural behemoths enter the space — we’re likely to see large scale popular adoption at the scale achieved by NBA Top Shot. With this wave of onboarding — and the education that comes with it — the environment for xG becomes evermore fertile.
Let’s get into the detail:
Firstly, there is a significant lack of understanding and knowledge about web3 (NFTs, crypto-currencies and fan tokens). Only 11.5% of respondents say that they have a good or expert level of understanding, and nearly 2/3rds of respondents say they have ‘zero’ knowledge.
In addition to the lack of knowledge and understanding about NFTs and web3 more generally, there was also a significant amount of negativity. For example, when asked if they owned an NFT, 23.5% of respondents checked ‘No, I don’t like them’ — which was almost as many as checked the ‘Yes,’ or ‘No, but I’m interested’ options (24.1%). Equally, 40% of respondents who said they had ‘Zero’ knowledge of NFTs also said they didn’t want to receive one. Which is intriguing when they’re not sure what they might be.
So, on first appearances, there appears to be a reasonable level of disinterest and/or scepticism for web3 projects generally.
However, it becomes clear that if a respondent is aware of web3, or regards NFTs positively, then those players and coaches were excited by the prospect of xG and digital rewards for real life playing activity.
For example, 80% of people who owned a NFT liked the idea of collecting your football achievements as NFTs — (as opposed to 36% of non-NFT owners).
Moreover, 63% of respondents believe that getting NFTs for players achievements would enhance their experience and allow them to celebrate wins and achievements better.
We also wanted to know what players thought you should win tokens and NFTs for — and, interstingly, it wasn’t just goals and wins, but also the more team focused rewards for GKs and defenders oof keeping a clean sheet, as well as Player Of The Match… which indicates something of the community spirit that permeates web3 already making an apppearance in this project.
It’s also clear that web3 and NFTs resonate more with a younger demographic. Of people under the age of 25, 37% are interested in learning more about NFTs than people over that age.
Finally, the survey revealed that if people spend in Crypto, they spend a reasonable amount. Over half of the 15.4% of respondents who regularly make crypto purchases, over half spend more than £50 pcm.
So, this hints at a potentially huge change in spending habits if web3 adoption increases and — as this sample suggests — as that adoption and education increases, spending habits in ownable digital assets grow proportionally.
How this shapes our approach to building xG
As an early pre-product piece of blind market research, it’s both incredibly grounding and illuminating to receive an insight into the attitude and knowledge of web3 among the playing community.
As we build, it’s certainly our intention to not only do so openly, but for and with our community — and we’ll be adopting some very deliberate strategies to ensure players’ voices are included throughout the process, from beta tests to wider rollout. How the platform looks, the shape of the experience and how the rewards are distributed — we’ll be listening and seeking input from the community every step of the way.
In the meantime, we have some pretty rock solid guiderails to work within.
- Grassroots players are predominantly not crypto-natives. For many, xG will be the first time they receive and own an NFT.
- The experience has to be built, end-to-end, for this group. They’re currently the majority. Simplicity and clarity of user interface and user experience needs to be paramount.
- Language is important. Words like NFTs and tokens are potentially alienating and come with negative connotations for many. For xG, ‘rewards’ has a simplicity and clarity that also avoids baggage.
- Education. We’ll need to bring our communities on a journey with the xG experience, dispelling myths and making ownership of digital assets a simple and fun layer that enhances the enjoyment of participation sport.
In conclusion, web3 is young, and xG is still very much an early mover in applying a gamified ‘play to earn’ model to sport.
We’ll keep building — and keep learning from the community as we go. If you’re interested in the project, do join us in our Discord and get involved.
Thanks to our partners at Pitchero for their work preparing the survey and collating the results.
For more information on xG https://linktr.ee/xgstudios