Since their establishment in 1896, Crawley Town has bobbed through the lower rungs of the English soccer system, flitting between the lattice of regional leagues before peaking with a three season stint in League One from 2012-2015. In other words, they’ve been a soccer team, the kind that comprises the overwhelming majority of the larger footballing ecosystem that exists beyond the glitzy Premier League. For most of the 126 years before WAGMI United (an acronym for "we're all gonna make it") purchased the club last spring, Crawley Town has been defined by a kind of intimate anonymity, a shared history that’s mostly been secreted away on the soccer world’s fringes.
But under the stewardship of the consortium of Web3 luminaries such as Gary Vee, Hunter Orrell and Philadelphia 76ers president Daryl Morey who make up WAGMI United, Crawley Town has sneakily become the most exciting organization in all of soccer, if not all of sports. As such, WAGMI United has turned the League Two side into a petri dish for innovation both on and off the pitch by harnessing the power of NFTs and Web3 technology. Even as non-traditional ownership groups have flocked to European soccer, WAGMI United’s unique methods and methodology make them soccer’s great experiment, an expansion of the sport’s realm of possibilities.
Earlier this week, WAGMI United co-owner Hunter Orrell sat down with ONE37pm to talk about Crawley Town’s quest to make the Premier League and change European football in the process.
ONE37pm: What is the vision of WAGMI United?
Hunter Orrell: The core of Web3 and NFTs is community. NFTs are the ultimate fan building and community building tool that we've ever seen. When we look at a sports team, it's practically the perfect platform for Web3—there's now this entity where people are basically having a new way of interacting and experiencing fandom. The main question is how do we provide value. How do we engage the community and then how do we grow that community through NFT's and through cryptocurrencies and Web3 technology? I think that's the mechanism that we're trying to play out over the next year or two to figure out how we differentiate ourselves from a Premier League team.
ONE37pm: How does the whole NFT/Web3 side of the club impact fans on a day-to-day basis?
Orrell: I look at it as a fan enhancement mechanism. You can still watch the game on iFollow, you can still come to the stadium and have the same experience you’ve had for the last 120 years. But if you want to be able to hear what the owners are talking about during the game, if you want an exclusive kit, if you want to have a voice in whether we sign a midfielder or a striker, you can now do all these things if you have an NFT.