The night before last, my sister told me an interesting story about Ibrox’s latest kit sponsorship deal; it’s with a company called Sportemongo, an organisation which deals in cryptocurrency. This is the second such deal they’ve signed; if you’re wondering why there’s no “conflict of interest” issue there you’re not the only one. But there are bigger issues than that.
I’m not an expert on cryptocurrency, but I know that new variants are springing up all the time. None of them is based on anything “real” as any serious financial analyst will tell you.
Almost all the new launches are scams of some sort, which isn’t to say that this one is. What I do know is that website which tracks online scams – Scam Detector – gives their website as an 8.6 out of 100 trust-worthiness score … in part because the domain was only registered this year. That means it could go up or down, but they are urging caution.
Crypto businesses of any kind are basically about buying into a bubble. I’ve written before on here about Tulip Mania; I’ll go over it again as it illustrates the point rather well. A cryptocurrency is basically a worthless unit whose value only reflects current demand. But demand for what? Since there is no actual physical ownership at the end, nothing you can put your hands on, you’re buying a digital “token” that is, in effect, worth nothing at all.
Tulip mania was a period during the Dutch Golden Age when the price of tulip bulbs began to rapidly accelerate, and the more it did the more people became convinced and the more sought-after they became. “Investors” would hoard them, expecting that the “value” would continue to increase. Which it did. For a while. Until the crash happened.
A former President of the Dutch Central Bank, Nout Wellink, has directly compared the crypto-bubble to tulip mania, saying of Bitcoin, specifically; “This is worse than the tulip mania. At least then you got a tulip. Now you get nothing.”
And nothing is exactly what you get here; you buy a “token” which is original and unique. The term being bandied about is “digital art” which sounds utterly nonsensical to me, as you can’t actually do anything with it. Someone compared it to owning a Monet; you could hang a Monet in your hall, though and get people to “oooh” and “aah” over it … I’m not sure why you’d want to pay money for a GIF. (Check this stuff out, you will be astounded.)
It all seems a bit ridiculous to me, and to most other grounded, sensible people.
The thing is, Ibrox now carries kit sponsorship from two firms involved in this business, but there’s a specific issue with the current company, because of the type of crypto transactions they are involved in. That problem is in electricity supply, and the carbon footprint it generates.
What Ibrox is essentially advertising is what’s called an NFT, which is a cryptocurrency that uses block chain technology. In order to generate these “tokens” the organisations involved use a tremendous amount of energy. And all so some idiot with more money than sense can buy an autographed tweet for more than most of us will make in a lifetime.
(Like I said, look it up and be amazed.)
It’s frankly grotesque, and with COP26 about to take place in Glasgow the look is atrocious; Ibrox taking greasy coin from a firm which produces nothing but greenhouse gas. Is this up there, say, with the Saudi Arabian beheadings? It depends how you look at it, but if you compared it to a guy sitting in a Nazi warehouse counting gold teeth I wouldn’t argue with you.
There’s a tackiness to this too, that whole thing of covering your strip in slogans and adverts like it’s a Formula One car. And how do they get these constant dispensations? Don’t the rules state that the strip design, in full, has to be with the SFA before a season starts?
This is all part of their struggle to stay solvent, of course, and you get the impression that they wouldn’t particularly care where the money was coming from.
The fans don’t either, which brings me to something else I heard the other night; a report from a recent meeting between their club and some of its fan groups (although crucially one was omitted, I’ll get to that) which revealed their latest fantasy brief to the supporters. Robertson told them that they’ll be in profit next season.
My first thought was that there is no room on the strip for sponsorship that big, and my second was that they must be gearing up to sell some players if they’re predicting that … but then it dawned on me that perhaps they have yet another bridge to sell their fans, yet another way to squeeze a couple of bucks out of them that nobody has twigged to yet.
The “football finance expert” who’s always banging on about Celtic runs a site called The Price Of Football, and if you’re a Sevco fan that has never been higher. Apart from the season ticket you now have MyGers membership fees and if you’re a member of a certain fan organisation there are more fees on top of them. Added to that the cost of their kits – “handmade don’t you know?” – and other scams and it goes up and up and up.
Now cryptocurrency “investments” as well, by Christ, and you might see how some of their more gullible fans might believe that the club is finding its way to profitability. The rest of us have longer memories than that and know better.
Club 1872 weren’t at the fan meeting; the rupture between them and the club is real, and now their daddy Dave King isn’t there to protect them it looks like a long winter for those folks. That story will continue to develop, of course.
No club from Ibrox in my living memory has managed to stay “profitable” for very long; all enjoy spending money too much and that is not going to change. If we win this title – as I fully expect us to – then anybody who believes they will try to live within their means when that will entail falling further behind us is quite mad. There is no prospect of it.
They are like a runaway train, heading for disaster, and if someone asks me what I thought it would take to prevent that at this point my answer would be “When they hit the wall, they’ll stop.”
And not a minute before.
I don’t know how any sane person can think otherwise.
October 26, 2021 at 10:17 pm
If it wasn’t for the knowledge that they’re all masons then I’d be bamboozled too. The corrupt SFA?SPFL are allowing any and every rulebook slip for slippy and the hun legion just to stay atop of us. I strongly suspect that when they fall into liquidation again they’ll have a pre planned debt-free re-entry prepared for them in advance or already in place. Its their club after all. HH
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