Asking for feedback for potential treasury proposal - Polkadot Table Soccer Tournament Sponsoring

1. General Project Information

Short description:

Official sponsoring of table soccer tournaments with DOT to create brand awareness in the analogue world and use the DOT tokens to onboard new users to Polkadot staking, governance and its parachains.

Project Category / Type:

The focus of this proposal is marketing related with the goal to to onboard new users outside the crypto/blockchain bubble to Polkadot and its DOT token, to increase engagement in governance and to enhance Polkadot brand awareness in the analogue world.

2. Context

Table soccer aka foosball is not only a hobby fun game that is played in the bar under the influence of various substances, but also an officially recognized professional sport with regular held tournaments and professional athletes from all over the world.
The “International Table Soccer Federation” (ITSF) based in Nantes, France is the leading association that oversees the sport, hosts tournaments, and drives initiatives to grow awareness for this game (similar to what FIFA and NBA ist to soccer and basketball respectively).

It was once told to me by the Parity CMO, that the goal for the Parity marketing team is to onboard 1 million users to Polkadot and we exchanged ideas about how to achieve that. One of this ideas was indeed to sponsor table soccer sports, which unfortunately is very underrepresented in mainstream media and where professional athletes are not able make a living from that sport. Payments are usually handled in cash, price money is little, and the table soccer clubs are structured like an non-profit association with various members that have to manage financials as well.

The sport had its peak moments in the 70s when tournaments were broadcasted live on TV and price money was in the six figure dollar range. Arcade and consol gaming replaced its popularity, but foosball never really vanished. In the last decades and with the help of online streaming, the sport gained again popularity. The amount of tournaments per year (regional and global), the number of registered players and the online views on Youtube and Twitch are on all time highes and growing markets like Spain, India, Saudi Arabia support future growth. Nevertheless, no major brand has recognized the potential and invests in this sport.

Here lies the potential of Polkadot to become a long term partner of ITSF and the foosball sport in general. Similar to what Lacoste is for Tennis, Red Bull is for extreme sports, Polkadot could be the branding partner for “underrepresented nerd” games like table soccer, chess, darts, or beer/ping pong. Not only could Polkadot be a passiv sponsor with displays and logos on shirts, online streams or banners, but provide useful tools for payments and governance and hence bring value to the table soccer clubs, athletes and the community in general.

A top tier table soccer event like the “World Cup” (held once every two years) for example, would take about a week, with 30-60 participating countries and 500-1000 players, around 15000 online views on twitch for the finals and around 1 million unique online views for the whole week of the tournament. Medium sized events like the “World Series” hosted up to 8 times a year in the different locations around the world, have around 200-600 participating athletes and a price money of €25000 in total. And on the lower end you have hunderts of regional small tournaments all around the world with up to 50 players, which are also followed online.

If the goal is to onboard 1 million new users to Polkadot, as mentioned above, then getting involved in table soccer sports as a long term partner with a tech savy audience, that has to deal regularly with participating fees, price money, funding, event hosting and governance on a global scale, might be a good opportunity with valuable network effects.

Not saying or promising that with Polkadot sponsoring of table soccer events user onboarding will go to the moon! But if we set realistic and conservative goals, then it should be easily possible to get 50-100 new users on major events and 10-20 new users on small events. Network effects with new users talking about and promoting Polkadot to friends and increasing the number of sponsored events will increase the user number on the long term.

Of course, this idea or proposal can be applied to any “hobby” sport like chess, darts, or beer pong, but since i’m deeply involved in the sport and with the help of my network, we can provide a proof of concept and if the results are promising, then we can seriously consider a long term sponsoring partnership with the International Table Soccer Association (ITSF).

3. Problem

(See also description in chapter 2.Context…)

The onboarding or acquisition of new user to new or existing blockchain/crypto networks and projects is very competitive and web focused. Real live events are focused around conferences, hackathons and parties, which usually are attended by community members and not by outsiders.

Based on my experience with Meet Ups, token given aways aka “free money” did not only increase the attendance of the event, but also the amount of new users outside the blockchain/crypto bubble. In combination with on site tutorials on how to use these received tokens, not only is an engagement triggered but also “wow” effect, when the user experiences live how fast transactions can be done for example. This happened at the last Meet Up I’ve hosted and can be confirmed from other Polkadot ambassadors who were on site. Each guest received 2.2 DOT, downloaded and installed a wallet and participated in staking, which we showed them how to do at the event.

Providing personal support and promoting a brand directly with a tangible positive experience is a very effective tool and hard to provide online. Polkadot can support not only with sponsoring, but with providing useful tools to help table soccer clubs and associations with managing finance on a global scale as well as with governance and funding solutions (OpenGov). Bringing crypto and blockchain features to the “analogue world” and in return bringing new users from the analogue world to Web3, would be a win-win situation.

Some major brands are already sponsoring sports events in motorsports and martial arts with a top-down approach to reach quantity instead of quality, providing online interaction to encourage token use. Let’s try to reach qualitative users with a bottom-up approach and try to grow with the sport and its users. No other crypto/blockchain project is doing that right now to my knowledge, and with Polkadot we have a chance together with ITSF to test this approach.

4.1 Available solutions

I’m not aware of any similar proposals or events, that plan and manage to onboard new users to Polkadot within a fun/sports focused real life event. Crypto conferences are mostly attended by existing users and don’t attract users outside of the crypto bubble. Music festivals sponsored by Polkadot, like for example Primavera sound last year and the partnership with are going in that direction. Can’t speak about the onboarding effects of new users from the Primavera festival sponsorship, but for example with the Beatport NFT drop initiative, based on my experience it seemed to target the crypto audience, instead of new users.

Nevertheless, the idea of refunding the entry fees for athletes of the table soccer event, can also be used for music festivals or any other event that includes entry fees.

4.2 Scope of work

  • Getting feedback from Polkadot community about the proposal draft
  • Adjust proposal according to suggestions of Polkadot community
  • Approval of funding from Polkadot community
  • Preparation for tournament on 17-20th of May 2024 together with Farid Lounas (ITSF President) and local Polkadot ambassadors from France: booth branding, travel and accommodation for ambassador on site, goodies and merchandise, script for onboarding process of new users, online branding for live streams, etc.
  • Internal documenting of KPI’s during event: user onboarding, feedback, engagement,…
  • Post review about results and goal achievements
  • Feedback to Polkadot community about use of funding and user engagement

4.3 Timeline

Depends on if and when the funding is released. Once released preparations according to 4.2 scope of work get started until date of the event, 17-20th of May 2024.

4.5 Budget

Various sponsoring ideas are listed below and can be customised accordingly :

Premium Package

“Official Event Partner” sponsoring including commercial videos, logo on site and on live stream, branded booth to welcome athletes, inform them about Polkadot, onboarding them to the app, staking, governance, and refunding entry fees for example.*

→ €25000 sponsoring fee paid to ITSF (Official Event Partner*)
→ €2000 booth costs with logo banners, seats and desk (maybe already available?)
→ €60000 refund of entry fees for athletes (€100 entry fee for max. 600 athletes)
→ €500 Polkadot merch give aways - stickers, pens, etc. (maybe already available?)
→ €2000 logistic costs for 2x ambassadors for a week on site (hotel, transportation, etc.)
→ €3000 two table soccer tables - charity give away for local school
∑ €92500 (~15000 DOT) total costs
[theoretical costs per direct user acquisition ~€154 (~25) for 600 athletes - without taking fans, visitors, staff into account!]

Medium Package

→ €25000 sponsoring fee paid to ITSF (Official Event Partner*)
→ €2000 booth costs with logo banners, seats and desk (maybe already available?)
→ €30000 refund of entry fees for first 300 athletes (€100 entry fee, first come first serve)
→ €500 Polkadot merch give aways - stickers, pens, etc. (maybe already available?)
→ €2000 logistic costs for 2x ambassadors for a week on site (hotel, transportation, etc.)
→ €3000 two table soccer tables - charity give away for local school
∑ €62500 (~10000 DOT) total costs
[theoretical costs per direct user acquisition ~€208 (~34) for 300 athletes - without taking fans, visitors, staff into account!]

Medium Lite Package

→ €45000 refund of entry fees for first 450 athletes (€100 entry fee, first come first serve)
→ €500 Polkadot merch give aways - stickers, pens, etc. (maybe already available?)
→ €2000 logistic costs for 2x ambassadors for a week on site (hotel, transportation, etc.)
→ €3000 two table soccer tables - charity give away for local school
∑ €45500 (~7400 DOT) total costs
[theoretical costs per direct user acquisition ~€101 (~16) for 450 athletes - without taking fans, visitors, staff into account!!]

Economy Package

→ €25000 refund of entry fees for first 250 athletes (€100 entry fee, first come first serve)
→ €500 Polkadot merch give aways - stickers, pens, etc. (maybe already available?)
→ €2000 logistic costs for 2x ambassadors for a week on site (hotel, transportation, etc.)
→ €3000 two table soccer tables - charity give away for local school
∑ €30500 (~5000 DOT) total costs
[theoretical costs per direct user acquisition ~€122 (~20) for 250 athletes - without taking fans, visitors, staff into account!]

4.6 Key deliverables

  • Amount of users who requested refund of entry fees in DOT tokens
  • Newsletter sign ups on site
  • Wallet downloads on site
  • Number of views (online streaming)
  • Positive feedback from tournament host (ITSF) about the partnership

4.7 Objectives/Success criteria

When the tournament has finished, the overall feedback about the partnership is positive and the set goals are reached (i.e. 500 new users onboarded via app download and DOT refund for entry fees).

4.8 Known constraints

Loss of funds because of wallet hack for example. Tournament get’s canceled because of unexpected event (i.e. pandemic, war, financial problems of tournament host, etc.)

4.9 Reporting

I will communicate status updates mainly on Discord and on Polkassembly.

5. Team

I’m a senior ambassador for Polkadot, host of Polkadot Meet Up’s in Munich, Germany, running collators on Polkadot/Kusama, full time product development engineer and part time entrepreneur with experience in product design and ecommerce.

Farid Lounas, President of the International Table Soccer Association (ITSF).

5.1 Kusama/Polkadot reputation

6. Why Polkadot?

Because the goal is to promote the Polkadot brand and to onboard new users to Polkadot. I wouldn’t mind making this proposal on Kusama, if the community favours this option.

7. Extra links

This proposal was written based on the “Polkadot Treasury - Project Proposal” by Coinstudio. No generative AI was used for this publication.


Better spend more money on onboarding real users to parachains

ok, so what’s your definition of “real users”?
How are or should “new users” get onboarded to become “real users” to Polkadot in your opinion?
I assume “real users” are not born real users…

In my opinion “user onboarding” or “user acquisition” is a multi stage process (like a sales funnel) and the goal with such an event is to get new users “hooked” to Polkadot and onboard them hands on in a real life experience (app download, token transfer, staking and voting on charity, etc).

Then comes another stage of the onboarding process, which is to keep the “new users” engaged. For example with email newsletters, event invitations or online tasks. But that’s another stage which can not be covered at the event and needs to be done with another initiative or within a separate process.

Thanks for the proposal :pray:

This is extremely well-written & I love the different options you worked out!

For me, there’s 2 important things to consider:

  • Is it a good time to target these users?
  • How does this initiative fit into the ecosystem strategy?

Regarding the first point “Zeitgeist”, “Readiness of the Polkadot ecosystem”, “overall market”:

  • Polkadot is still heavily focused on infrastructure.
  • There is a lack of onchain users in the ecosystem.
  • Polkadot offers solid wallets these days for endusers (Nova Wallet, Talisman, etc.)
  • Crypto went through a bear with little outside interest - but interest seems to rise again. Therefore, ecosystems need to be ready for a new influx of people, finalize acquistion channels & place their bets!
  • There is a need to onboard some heavy users to Polkadot first but we also need to grow the overall crypto pie and not only compete for the 1000 superusers that go wherever the yield is best & they can extract it.

Regarding the second point “Fit”, “Ecosystem Strategy”, “What can this initiative contribute”

  • I’d like to see many more small-scale experiments towards user acquisition & retention (~25K USD) to find good channels and then double-down on those that seem to work better than others & offer good CAC/user
  • Initiatives that offer network effects should have priority. But it is also very important to finally move away from only investing/building infra & rather having an interplay between infra & endusers!
  • This kind of initiative is definitely on top of the acquisition funnel to raise awareness & (what I like most) do direct onboarding of players - which may become additional onboarding agents in the future.

Overall, I’m leaning towards giving this a shot with the medium-lite or economy package.

I believe the CAC per user is a bit high but potentially the 2 ambassadors at the event can onboard additional people and drive it down. (I believe quality direct onboarding & word of mouth to still be one of the best channels)

For the success of this campaign, it would also be great to collaborate with a wallet & potentially also with an ecosystem DEX and other apps to enable newly acquired users to become daily active users!

1 Like