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We’re on our way, on our way, to the Football League, we’re on our way…….

Colours of County after 11 long years out!

Not for tyre kickers (NFTs)

Thought I’d be flippant in titling this article. But double-entendre is to suggest that my path is to embark on the journey – and my musings are for those that want to do same and actually act to join web 3.0 and metaverse.

I first wrote about the meta and metasphere earlier in the Year and was delighted that it was syndicated and shared by my good friend and scholar, Prof.Dr. Sebahattin Devecioğlu.

Every day is a school day as the subject matter is still in its infancy yet some interesting content that I’ll share with readers every time I speak out.

I’m a proud Stockport County supporter – and note that our EPL “Noisy Neighbours” have realised the future possibilities – and scope where virtual and real worlds intertwine. Both City and United are tackling meta-projects and resourcing of personnel has taken place. Also, in the North West, the Merseysiders, Liverpool, have had more recent airtime. It created and auctioned NFTs (non-fungible tokens) and digital assets only last Month. Less than 6% of them were sold yet the Club still generated £1.1M.

Nike is an interesting invader of this space and has with RTFKT, introduced the first RTFKT x NIKE CRYPTOKICKS NFT: The RTFKT X NIKE DUNK GENESIS CRYPTOKICKS Sneaker Powered by DRM OS and Skin Vial Tech. The clothing and footwear giant acquired the 2-year-old agency and nurtured this digital training shoe. This collection of “digital sneakers” were leaked on Discord and Twitter. The shoes, called Nike Cryptokicks, are modelled after the Nike Dunk sneaker and mark the brand’s long-awaited entrance into digital clothing. So far sales are in excess of $11M. 20,000 NFTs are in this initial collection.

Another story that caught my attention was the Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC). BAYC is a collection of 10,000 Bored Ape NFTs—unique digital collectibles on the Ethereum platform. The family of Bored Apes increase in value through use of the Yacht Club membership card, and grants access to members-only benefits.  It is the latter that defines the criteria for success in NFTs and especially in the sports applications. 

“The value is not in the imagery itself as a collectible, but the

prescribed or societal value that it is associated with.”

We have taken our first plunge into NFTs at Stockport Volleyball. One of the fastest growing clubs in the UK and Winners of the Men’s National Shield defeating London Aces in the Final this Year. Every day in the metaverse is a learning one – and we have taken our time to choose the correct partner that has synergy and compliments our strategic marketing, sponsorship and fundraising expertise at ACROBAT FCSM. Furthermore, in that our volleyball club is the pilot, we have established the venture with our German partners to offer immersion into the meta-world without any upfront fees. The ‘no risk’ incentive is based on a financial model whereby only a small, single digit percentage of commission is due only on realization and sale of the NFTs. Attractive proposition eh, we certainly think so. So our tried and tested illustrator has been commissioned and we are working on the list of membership benefits to add-significant value to any investment as well as aligning with marketing strategy and collateral for the Club, our sporting clientele and business as a whole. Watch this space, we’re on our way!

Adrian Stores is Director and CEO at strategic marketing, partnerships, sponsorship and fundraising agency, ACROBAT FCSM. Award winning. Established 1995.

Does it ‘meta’?

Meta- verse, Meta-sphere, does it even ‘meta’? See what I did there, ha. One thing is for sure, with the rebranding of Facebook, the meta-philosophy is gaining more attention. It was sometime back that a ‘virtual world’ was discussed, but there appears growing recognition and with technology evolving at pace, us marketers look for the next big thing.

So what is this meta-thing? And what could it mean for those of us involved with sport. I turn to the musings of somr respected ‘scholars’ to discover more facts.

Mara Kottke at Beyond The Match states: “Meta is seen as a “collective project created by people around the world and open to all.” Her same reporting comments: “Rights holders and brands can also use the metaverse and its precursors. Roblox, a platform where users can create and share their own games, is another prototype of the Metaverse. Football clubs such as Barcelona and Liverpool have already worked with Roblox: together they developed in-game content so that users could equip their avatars with jerseys and fan scarves. Since people by nature like to collect, the metaverse offers a “business-to-avatar” approach to showcase one’s own interests to others with items in the virtual world.” At this point we start to realize that meta-thingy is only limited by ones’ imagination. But monetisation or return on investment will be drivers to consider in our commercial activities, after all our careers are more than a gaming experience.


Yesterday, we spoke to a household name brand and blue chip company about its intentions. The response: “what is it?” tells us much. The rules of this game are yet to be established as the wonders of technological platforms are tested, but be sure of one thing, in one version or another, it is coming.

LaSource published a quote that: “Real-time 3D content— will account for almost half of all visual digital content by the end of the decade”. With a predicted three percent currently, this is somewhat a tsunami of change. But it doesn’t need to be an alternative from the norm for sports marketers, more added value and additional complementary opportunities where ‘virtual’ drives ‘real’ world behaviour and engagement. Fans merchandise can help personalize avatars, yet with currency income streams can follow. Noteable content can mimic desired out comes from traditional marketing spend. Early adopters of e-sports sponsorship included: Coca Cola, Red Bull and BMW. Teams and players have been beneficiaries of expenditure. Why not? It creates more channels and tactics to explore partnerships and collaborative, joined-up promotions.

The pandemic has been an accelerator. The potential echoed here: “Today, nearly every company has a webpage. And soon, they will all have a real-time presence in the metaverse.”


Manchester City is recruiting additional staff with a meta-focus. The job descriptions read as a terms of reference to other corporates that might be considering a first step in to the unknown. At ACROBAT FCSM, we are evaluating tactics, strategy and returns for brands in sportswear and a high-profile team.

This is all so exciting, but calculated risks will avoid wastage or another contribtuon to that failed fad corner.

LaSource shares other decisions: “In 2021, the NBA announced the creation of the “crossover event” with NBA outfit skins, tournaments, creative mode, personal players lockers, etc”

Early adopters included sports marketing giants like IMG which has signed deals with 23 football clubs globally to be part of the addiction that is Fortnite.

So Fortnite and other mega brands are at it. Facebook and Microsoft too. The philosophy that we are embarking towards is shared in this recent quote:

“Every brand will need a metaverse strategy in the future and the ones that have them now are at the forefront.”

Christina Wootton, Vice President, Brand Partnerships, Roblox


Sport Business recently predicted: “Indeed, if the expectations of Mark Zuckerberg et al materialise, the metaverse will revolutionise the way people consume sport and raise the bar for fan engagement to unprecedented heights.”


There in growing interest in non-fungible tokens (NFTs) across the digital world and could be catalyst to activations in the metaverse.


Adrian Stores is CEO at ACROBAT FCSM. More of a strategic consultancy, but with firm finger on the pulse of digital technologies in marketing. A specialist in the sports and leisure sectors with clients globally, it works with trusted partners to ensure maximum exposure on realistic budgets, delivering ROI.

Come on County: Cuddly Toys

This statement alone reminds me of the memory part of the Generation Game. Now, I’m showing my age, but atleast a few of you might recall that ‘conveyor belt’ stocked with items that the contestants had to remember.

Just thought a couple of newsworthy points I’d like to highlight.

The first, is a massive WELL DONE to my accountants and also client, that I have supported on business development, primarily with sports clubs and NGBs. This being Sedulo. Once again, they have surpassed themselves in their annual charity gesture by collecting and donating Christmas presents for families and children who otherwise might go without.

As the Firm said: “Through no fault of their own, half a million UK children live in poverty and wake up at Christmas to find Santa hasn’t visited. Every year our Toy Appeal teams up with charities and carers to help stop that from happening and this year it’s needed more than ever.” Sponsors wrap, label and deliver gifts to its offices in ManchesterLeedsLondon and Liverpool where they host a festive-themed reverse grotto event.

The second is a noteworthy action by the Spanish Club, Real Betis. Of all the traditions in sports, this Spanish top-flight football Club stands out for an act of kindness. Annually before Christmas, the supporters shower the pitch with soft toys for underprivileged kids.  This Year was no exception, as thousands of fans threw teddy bears and cuddly toys onto the pitch during half-time. 

Come on County? Personally, I like this and wonder if Stockport County could be the first English Club to mimic this charitable tactic.