• Loading stock data...
Sunday, April 21, 2024
  • -
  • -
  • -
  • -

Will Crowdfunding Transfers Play a Role in Soccer’s Future?

  • A new platform lets soccer fans invest in the futures of players from developing countries and profit from their success.
  • The concept has elements of sports betting, but can have real impacts on players and teams.
Green Bay Press-Gazette

Adrian Docea is collecting email addresses for his company’s app launch in an effort to harness the power of one of the biggest energy sources on the planet: soccer fans.

“Football is not just the biggest sport in the world, it’s the biggest anything in the world,” said Docea. “It’s the only thing on this planet that has 4 billion fans.”

His company, Nordensa, is a platform where fans can make long-term bets on players, specifically under-scouted ones.

It bears some resemblance to Mojo, the Alex Rodriguez-backed “athlete stock market,” in which one can buy shares in NFL players that rise or fall based on their on-field performance, but there’s a twist.

Transfers between clubs will be crowdfunded, minimizing risk for teams and earning profits for participating fans if the players pan out.

Untapped Potential

Nordensa’s calling card is that it works directly with the transfer market, which saw $6.5 billion change hands in 2022.

The company wants to exploit an under-tapped niche: promising players who aren’t based in Europe.

Top teams, mainly from Europe, mostly scout on the continent, where it’s easier to find players with the skills and comfort in European culture to make it in the Premier League, Bundesliga, La Liga, Serie A, or Ligue 1.

A look at last year’s global player transfer data, released by FIFA on Thursday, shows a thriving player market. Most of the action happens within continents, but plenty of business is conducted between them.

  • Of the 20,209 international transfers in men’s professional soccer in leagues covered by FIFA, nearly half (9,369) were within Europe.
  • Another 4,056 were intracontinental transfers in other areas.
  • European teams brought on 2,511 players from other continents, led by South America (901 players for a total of $388.2 million) and Africa (759, $52.9 million).

A scan of 2022 Premier League transfers specifically bears this out: Fewer than 10 transfers to Premier League teams came from outside of Europe last year.

“If you’re a young player in Bolivia, let’s say, or Ghana, chances are the scouts of Liverpool or Arsenal or Bayern Munich will not simply land in your backyard and see how awesome you are,” Docea explained.

Of the over 1,000 professional soccer teams in Europe, only a small percentage have significant scouting operations in other countries, leading to large blind spots in the global search for talent.

Crowdfunding transfers is a way to get fans more invested and provide opportunities to players who might otherwise have to quit soccer for a more reliable paycheck.

“A lot of talented kids drop football before they really have a chance to shine,” said Docea. “I think that’s the worst news for football: Some of the biggest stars in the world, we will never know their names.”


English Soccer Clubs Spend Record $2B on Transfers

The player transfer market reached new heights in England in 2022.
January 26, 2023


Nordensa identifies talent by using scouting software from a third-party data provider of televised games in its target areas, namely in South America and Africa. Players are judged on around 60 metrics to create a set of potential recruits.

The company works with scouts from the Premier League, Bundesliga, and other top flights to further investigate standout players.

Once a player is selected for development, Nordensa links up the player’s team with a potentially interested club in Europe. If the two clubs agree, crowdfunding enters the equation.

Investments in the player are solicited on the platform and mainly go toward one year of their salary.

For most European clubs, Docea reasons, “it’s pretty cheap to get the player from the next village, but it’s really expensive to pay for a Colombian player for one year, and maybe he will not fit in, and then you will have wasted a lot of money just to test one young player.

“That’s exactly the niche that we’re trying to fill.”

The Potential Payoff

Nordensa wants to tap into the kind of rewards system familiar to fantasy sports and sports betting.

If a player signs an extension with a club or a deal with another European team, the people who helped fund his first year would receive their money back, plus 3% of the player’s future earnings. 

Nordensa would take 3%, plus additional fees from the club, but the player is only ever paid by the clubs that employ him.

A savvy pick can earn a serious return: Docea estimates that if a player signs a professional contract after his first year following his Nordensa-funded transfer, his investors will double their money. 

One can make four or five times their investment if the player ends up in Serie A or Bundesliga — and 10 times if they go to the Premier League. If they don’t sign a deal, investors see no return.

With both soccer and legal sports betting ascendent in the U.S., tapping into sports fans who don’t mind taking on some risk and enjoy devouring data to inform their wagers looks increasingly promising.

Report: NWSL Expanding League With Three New Franchises

The NWSL Commissioner is following through on her promise.
January 27, 2023

A New Kind of Betting?

The platform hasn’t launched yet, but Nordensa is collecting names of interested users on its waitlist.

They purportedly have “​​big plans with MLS,” in the coming months, as well.

There was an estimated $35 billion in bets placed on the 2022 World Cup. The fervor for sports betting is only growing as the U.S. finally gets a taste of the action. But every one of those bets is a contract between a person and a sportsbook, and the broad effect will be to enrich a small group of companies.

Ultimately, Nordensa could function like a sportsbook — plausibly one with more of a pro-social angle. The question is how many of those 4 billion soccer fans they can get behind them.

Copy Link
Link Copied
Link Copied

What to Read

Everything You Need To Know About the Legal Attempts To Kill the ACC

Four lawsuits involving the conference, Clemson, and FSU could determine the future.

A Bare-Knuckle Fighter Won His Pro Debut. The Far Right Scored a Marketing Win

With Proud Boys sponsoring him, experts say extremist groups will use his success to elevate their ideologies and recruit new believers.

NCAA Made Empty Threats to Jim Harbaugh over Lawyer’s Twitter Posts

The attorney kept criticizing the NCAA on social media after the October warning.

O.J. Simpson Lawyer Says He Won’t Shield Estate From Goldman, Brown Families

The executor of Simpson’s will had previously said the Goldmans would get ‘zero.’
podcast thumbnail mobile
Front Office Sports Today

Why Ian Rapoport Lives for the NFL Draft’s Chaos


Featured Today

Women’s Basketball Finally Has a TV Deal to Match the Excitement. Now What?

A lucrative new media-rights contract could rectify problems of the past, but the future of March Madness media rights is anyone’s guess.
Mar 16, 2024; Washington, D.C., USA; North Carolina State Wolfpack forward DJ Burns Jr. (30) cuts the net after defeating the North Carolina Tar Heels for the ACC Conference Championship at Capital One Arena.
April 6, 2024

How Two College Seniors Helped DJ Burns Cash In on a Final Four Run

Two college seniors are facilitating deals for NC State’s big man.
Mar 31, 2024; Portland, OR, USA; NCAA officials measure the three point line while coaches from the Texas Longhorns and NC State Wolfpack watch with referees in the finals of the Portland Regional of the NCAA Tournament at the Moda Center center.
April 1, 2024

NCAA Has No One to Blame for Latest Women’s March Madness Transgressions

NCAA is still making avoidable mistakes three years after a complete overhaul.
Nov 16, 2015; Bloomington, IN, USA; General view of the championship banners at Assembly Hall prior to the game between Austin Peay and Indiana.
March 31, 2024

How to Make It in Basketball: Become a Manager at Indiana

Inside the Hoosiers’ unglamorous, profoundly rewarding incubator for basketball’s biggest names.


Powered By

Careers in Sports

Looking for a new job? Check out these featured listings and search for openings all over the world.
Live Nation
Multiple - USA Careers
Multiple - USA Careers
Multiple - USA Careers

Rapid Returns: How Technology Is Getting You Back to Your Seat

How Oracle’s POS technology is helping fans get back to their seats faster.
February 16, 2024

Wilson Introduced an Airless Basketball for $2,500. We Had Questions

The black, 3D-printed ball appeared in last year’s Slam Dunk Contest.
February 21, 2024

Apple Looks for Broad Reach with Scoreboard App

Apple Sports launched on Wednesday, as the MLS season kicks off.

Rapid Returns: How Technology Is Getting You Back to Your Seat

How Oracle’s POS technology is helping fans get back to their seats faster.

Live Sports Are Now High-Tech Experiences

Oracle is leading the technology revolution happening in stadiums across the world.

How Cisco and the NFL Are Shaping a More Inclusive Future

The NFL and Cisco partner to launch the NFL IT Apprenticeship Program.
The Los Angeles Chargers are leaning into their Hollywood home to promote Disney's upcoming movie.
September 12, 2023

AI Robots Take Seats At NFL Game

Disney used SoFi Stadium to promote its upcoming science fiction movie.

MLS’ Chris Schlosser on Pioneering the Digital-First Sports League with AI

Chris Schlosser discusses MLS’s growth and digital transformation.