- Iqoniq CEO Kazim Atilla insists company is still operating
- Platform had been hit hard by Covid-19 and missed payments to partners
Fan engagement platform Iqoniq has gone into liquidation, leaving multiple sporting organisations potentially out of pocket.
The Monaco-headquartered company had partnerships with a number of rights holders in soccer, including LaLiga, Real Sociedad, Crystal Palace and Marseille. Iqoniq also signed deals with EuroLeague Basketball, the European Handball Federation (EHF), the McLaren Formula One team, and Essex County Cricket Club, among others.
The Times reports that Sociedad are owed €820,000 (US$916,000) by the firm for their primary shirt sponsorship and Palace have begun legal action over missed payments on their sleeve deal.
Iqoniq had secured a €100 million (US$112 million) investment in July 2020 from Lux Media Investments, a Luxembourg-based firm, to boost the platform’s development and expansion.
However, Iqoniq chief executive Kazim Atilla admitted the pandemic had severely affected the company financially, but has added it was still operating and would move to another country. He also insisted that Iqoniq’s cryptocurrency tokens, bought by fans and now worth almost nothing, would bounce back in value.
The news will fuel calls for greater regulation on cryptocurrency-related platforms. According to The Times, English soccer’s Premier League has no current regulations for such partnerships. At least half of the league’s clubs have deals with a company that promotes cryptocurrencies or tokens.
Another fan engagement platform to have made an aggressive push into sports sponsorship is Chiliz-owned Socios.com, which is an official partner to more than 100 sporting organisations. One of those is English soccer side Arsenal, though December saw adverts by the club promoting fan tokens banned for taking advantage of consumers’ inexperience in cryptoassets.
At the time, a spokesperson from Socios said: “We welcome Arsenal’s call for an independent review. This is a fast-moving area and clarity is needed to ensure all companies can adhere to the latest guidelines.”