Chelsea have partnered with avatar-based messaging app Rawr to open a new line of digital revenue through its own in-app store.
The launch of the Chelsea Football Club digital store will allow users to browse and purchase unique club items for their avatar to wear, in what is a first for the messaging app. The products can be purchased with in-app currency, which can be accumulated over time by using the app or purchased outright.
Available within the store will be the 2016/17 Chelsea home and goalkeeper shirts and shorts, training apparel, football boots, and hats and scarves.
Rawr launched in May this year and enables users to design personalised avatars, which they can chat to each other by text and interact through animations, expressions, and dynamic emojis.
The Premier League club first brand to have a presence within the app but its Finish owners, Futurefly, expect more to follow as it invites leading global brands to create a commercial presence within the messaging service.
“As brands across the world seek to engage with new customers in increasingly innovative ways, we believe that this partnership will be a landmark moment for the messaging industry as a whole,” said Futurefly founder Oskari ‘Ozz’ Häkkinen.
“Our strategy from day one was to create a platform which would be attractive to brands, and while other messaging apps are still trying to find the right formula for monetisation, Rawr provides brands a way to tap into the messaging market, while offering a generous revenue split which other apps are unable to match.”
Chelsea chairman, Bruce Buck, described the partnership as “an important step for the club,” which he said would put Chelsea “at the front of the pack when it comes to digital innovation among sports clubs”.
Futurefly has enjoyed early backing from investors including Snapchat, WhatsApp, Twitter and Facebook and has raised $3m in seed funding.