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Man United Ace Lifts Lid on New Members-Only Metaverse Project

Phil Jones has become the latest sports figure to invest in the metaverse. The longest-serving Manchester United player in the current squad, Jones has helped pioneer a novel metaverse membership project dubbed Red Lion Sports Club (RLSC), in partnership with media platform Antourage.

The Sports Club is a dedicated online space where fans and athletes can come together to play games, watch content, enter competitions and support charitable causes. Access is limited to just 4,000 members, with a metaverse-ready NFT acting as a key to the curated content within. These hot digital commodities are to be tokenized on Solana’s high-speed blockchain, priced at 2 SOL per NFT (around $250 at today’s prices).

A Rich Metaverse Experience

Jones has been the subject of online abuse for the majority of his injury-hit career, and the 2013 Premier League winner is famous for quitting social media back in 2017. But the defender has kept busy during this absence, using the time to instead focus on family and learn about new, emerging technologies. More recently, Jones has “spent [the past] six months researching and learning about Web 3.0 and the potential of the metaverse” – groundwork that led to his decision to launch RLSC.

“It’s something I’m genuinely passionate about, and the idea behind the Red Lion Sports Club is to enable a new way of engaging with fans that promotes a genuine sense of community rooted in mutual respect for other members,” Jones said. “RLSC will be a venue for fans of all sports that want to have a say in how a digital community grows and develops, interact with athletes, celebrities and other members, and influence the content that will be created around major events.

“I’m really excited to have developed this project with Antourage and can’t wait to start welcoming people to the Red Lion Sports Club community.”

The major events to which Jones alludes includes English Premier League fixtures as well as the British Grand Prix at Silverstone, golf’s British Open and the NBA playoffs. Content dedicated to these occasions will include custom-built mini games and fan-influenced content shows, with EA Sports FIFA Global Series host Rachel Stringer already on board as a presenter.

One of the exclusive areas of the Sports Club will be The Boardroom, a virtual realm where members get to have their say on matters such as content programming and charitable partners. NFT owners also get access to all future Clubs launched by the Red Lions project, including the eponymous football club scheduled to launch before this summer’s Women’s Euros.

“We are excited to launch Antourage’s first metaverse project and thrilled to have Phil onboard as the driving force behind Red Lion Sports Club,” said Antourage CEO Johan Junker. “This project is at the heart of Antourage’s existence: to connect passion-driven fan communities with authentic content that is distributed across the latest social platforms.

“We believe fans should be at the centre of the content ecosystem and be rewarded for their engagement. Red Lions Sports Club fully represents this philosophy and Web 3.0, driven by the metaverse, will expedite this change that will deliver greater value and a richer experience for fans and creators alike.”

Based in Stockholm, Antourage leverages creator content to build engaged fan communities. Its proprietary technology is also used by major sports brands including the NHL’s LA Kings. According to Junker, Red Lion Sports Club will launch in a prominent metaverse ahead of this year’s World Cup, which kicks off in November.


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