👟 🥽 November Recap: Sports Tech Startups Raised $405M. 88% Came from Metaverse startups. Nike Buys Metaverse Startup. Apple AR/VR Glasses Coming in 4Q22.
We had another busy month of November in the world of elite sports. December is off to a great start and it is a nice way to finish 2021 on a high note. In the world of soccer, the Major League Soccer (MLS) announced the 21 clubs that will compete in its inaugural 2022 season. The MLS is set to have 29 teams by 2023, and a report named Las Vegas as a front-runner for a 30th club by 2024 at the earliest. In Europe, after falling to Bayern Munich 3-0, Barcelona will miss the Champions League knockout stage for the first time since 2003-04. China-based Suning Holdings is also looking to make a fresh attempt to attract new investors in Serie A’s Inter Milan, according to Bloomberg. In the world of pro hockey, the Penguins announced that Fenway Sports Group, a large sports limited liability company based in Boston, bought the NHL team. According to The Athletic's Pierre LeBrun, the sale is expected to close for around $900M.
In the world of pro baseball, the MLB owners announced a lockout of the players. In the world of US college sports, the new NCAA constitution draft released loosened the definition of acceptable athlete compensation. The governing body didn’t give much of an explanation for the edit, saying in a letter to members that it “allows for evolution while still prohibiting pay-for-play.”
In the NFT/Metaverse/Blockchain space, Sorare's founder talked about Sorare’s business and its goals for 2022 and beyond. Deloitte also published a new report on the NFT sports market. In the world of American Football, DraftKings and the NFL Players Association teamed up on gamified NFTs. The NFL also opened a virtual store in the Roblox video game, hoping to take advantage of rising demand from consumers for digital items that can be used in the metaverse. The NFL also announced its plan to issue free NFT “virtual commemorative tickets” for select games this season. In the NBA, the league partnered with Infinite Objects, while the Utah Jazz launched a new NFT offering with virtual locker room tour. The Premier League also confirmed its plans to launch an NFT wide initiative, and Nike and adidas went all in into the Metaverse space. In fact, Nike just bought a virtual shoe company that makes NFTs and sneakers ‘for the metaverse. In the world AR/VR/MR, Apple is now rumored to launch its first AR/VR hybrid glasses in 4Q22. The Apple product is expected to weight 300-400 grams, and the 2nd gen of Apple AR glasses are expected to come in 2024.
In the world of wearables, Peloton announced a boxing program in Push to add new services. NISA also teamed up with leading sports tracking GPS systems vendor McLloyd. Google’s Pixel Watch is now rumored to launch with Wear OS 3.0 in 2022. Samsung is also rumored to be working on a Samsung Galaxy Watch with a rollable display.
In the world of sports tech investments, investments reached $405M and were up +39% MoM in November 2021, compared to October 2021. 88% of funding came from Metaverse/NFT startups. This should not come as a surprise given VCs’ growing appetite for NFT/Metaverse startups.
Picture: Upside Global, December 2021.
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📰 Top Stories We’re Reading This Month
🔗 Nike just bought a virtual shoe company that makes NFTs and sneakers ‘for the metaverse
🔗 Sorare's founder talks about business and future
🔗 Deloitte publishes insights on NFTs in sports
🔗 DraftKings and the NFL Players Association team up on gamified NFTs
🔗 NBA partners with Infinite Objects, Premier League confirms plans
🔗 Nike and adidas go Metaverse
🎮 Apple to launch its first AR glasses in 4Q22. Expects to weight 300-400 gr. 2nd gen AR glasses coming in 2024
⌚ Peloton Announces Boxing Program in Push to Add New Services
⌚ NISA teams up with leading Sports tracking GPS systems vendor McLloyd
⌚ Pixel Watch images leak – could launch with Wear OS 3.0 in 2022
⌚ Samsung Galaxy Watch with a rollable display could be rolling out in the future
💸 Startup investment recap (November /October 2021)
📊 Tech Stats of the month
📸 Snapshots & videos of the Month
Let’s jump right into the insights and upside for all of these top stories
⭐🥽 Upside: Sports Metaverse Ecosystem Analysis: Trends, Drivers, Challenges, Recommendations.
Over the past 3 months, the Metaverse has become the new buzzword in the tech world with literally every single tech company announcing a Metaverse strategy. On top of that, major brands (Nike, Disney…) are now making inroads into the Metaverse space. Facebook, which renamed itself as Meta, is also making a big bet into the space. Some experts now claim that the Metaverse space is set to become a 1 trillion dollars market. But is the Metaverse really something new or just AR+VR+MR combined with NFTs, social networks and super maps? Do those companies really have a solid Metaverse strategy and business model? In this analysis on the Metaverse ecosystem we will discuss the megatrends, the challenges and drivers, the Metaverse ecosystem as well as our recommendations to pro teams and leagues to adopt a successful Metaverse strategy.
To Read the full Upside analysis, click here.
⭐ 🔗 Upside Thought Leadership Series: Top VCs' Thoughts on The Sports NFT/Metaverse Market
The Sports NFT /Metaverse market has become one of the most talked about sports segments in the past 6 months with the emergence of sports NFT startup unicorns raising a sizable amount of funding (e.g. Sorare, Dapper Labs, etc.), and sports teams and leagues (NBA, NFL…) launching NFT solutions, in order to help them drive their top line and improve the fans engagement. However, many of these Sports NFT startups do not have solid business models, while many teams and leagues still don’t fully understand the difference between NFTs and Crypto.
With that in mind, we interviewed some top VCs such as True Capital Management, GFT, Courtside Ventures, Sterling.VC to get their take on the Sports NFT and Metaverse market, especially in terms of drivers, challenges, and what they are looking for when investing in Sports NFT / Metaverse startups. We also asked them how they see the NFT/Metaverse market evolving in the future. Here is a summary of some of the take takeaways of our conversations with these VCs on the Sports NFT and Metaverse markets. Of note, Sterling.VC and True Capital Management both invested in Dapper Labs, while Courtside Ventures invested in NFT startups such as Faze, Recure, and Nifty Game.
To Read the full Upside analysis, click here.
⭐ ⌚ Upside: HR/HRV Monitoring Market (Key vendors, Trends & Recommendations to Teams)
Which HR/HRV vendors (Polar, Firstbeat, Whoop, etc..) are leading in terms of HR/HRV accuracy, pricing affordability, product quality and vision? The Upside surveyed 42 pro teams and leagues to assess their use of HR/HRV monitoring technology and their perceptions and sentiments on the vendors involved in the market. Upside Global surveyed teams from the NBA, NHL, NFL, MLS, MLB, Premier League, Ligue 1, Swiss soccer league, Turkish soccer league, South American soccer, NCAA, Pro tennis, pro rugby, and others, to assess the performance and share of mind of key HR/HRV monitoring vendors, including Polar, Firstbeat, Whoop, and others. PS: If you are a pro team, please contact us @ email@example.com to get a free copy of this HR/HRV vendors survey report.
⭐Upside Startup Profile: VKTRY Gear (Leading Performance Insoles startup)
To read the full profile on VKTRY insoles and the interview with VKTRY CEO, click here.
⭐ Upside Podcast Interviews of the Month
🎮 NFTs/Metaverse/Blockchain News
🔗 Nike just bought a virtual shoe company that makes NFTs and sneakers ‘for the metaverse: | Via : The Verge
One comparison I’ve heard repeatedly over the last year is that buying NFTs to “flex” on people in the metaverse is just like collecting sneakers, and now Nike is apparently trying to make sure it’s ready for the literal version of that possibility. The apparel giant just announced the acquisition of RTFKT Studios, which it calls “a leading brand that leverages cutting edge innovation to deliver next generation collectibles that merge culture and gaming.”
RTFKT claims that in February, a collaboration with teenage artist FEWOCiOUS to sell real sneakers paired with virtual ones managed to sell some 600 pairs/NFTs in just six minutes, netting over $3.1 million at the time. This was around the same early spring period when most of us were hearing about NFTs for the first time, as Grimes sold some $6 million worth of digital artwork on March 1st.
⬆️ The Upside: This acquisition from Nike should not come as a surprise. Nike has become one of the most active sports apparel companies in the NFT/metaverse space. Nike recently filed a patent for “virtual goods”, and hired Metaverse designers and a head of Metaverse strategy. We expect Nike to acquire many more Metaverse/NFT startups in the coming months and we expect competitors to go on an M&A spree as well to try to bank on the Metaverse opportunity. For more info, you can check out our latest analysis on the NFT Sports market here. You can also check out our sports metaverse ecosystem analysis here.
🔗 Sorare's founder talks about business and future: | Via : Nifty NFT
Here are some interesting insights about Sorare's business, provided by Nicolas Julia, CEO & co-founder of Sorare. In the early days, when Sorare went to negotiate their first deal with the Jupiter League, they use their own money to pay for the minimum guarantee.
Regarding funding, in April 201, they received 500k euros from Kima & Seedcamp.
Later on in the Summer 2020, they received 4 million euros from headlines and Partech, and then 4 million euros in Oct 2020 (including from Barca player Gerard Pique via Cassius). Later on in February 2021, Benchmark and Axcel invested 40 millions euros (including from world champ Antoine Griezmann) into Sorare. Then in the Summer of 2021, Softbank invested $680M.
From a business goal perspective, Soare aims at achieving several objective in the coming years. Their priority is to sign deals with leagues. They used to sign 3 years deals, but now Sorare is looking to sign 5 to 6 year deals with MG. At the moment, there is no secondary market premium, which means Sorare does not make money when you resell a card, but it is coming for next season. If they loose right to a club or a league, card remains yours forever!
Moving forward, Sorare has 2 main objectives: They intend to conquer the US market and U.S. sports, especially with Ryan Spoon joining the team in the US where they opened an office in NYC. They also plan to have sign 20 main football leagues and develop the media and dev ecosystem in the US market.
⬆️ The Upside: Sorare’s expansion in the US market makes sense. The hiring of Ryan Spoon is set to be a key asset for the company as they will be able to leverage his relationship in the US sports market at the league level. Ryan’s experience at ESPN where he led product development should also be another key asset to build a solid product platform. Now Sorare is facing fierce competition from competitors such as Dapper Labs, which already signed deals with the NBA and the NFL. But we believe that there is room for competition. It is all about differentiation and execution. Plus sports leagues cannot simply rely on one NFT vendor to avoid revenue concentration risk. For more info, you can check out our latest analysis on the NFT Sports market here. You can also check out our sports metaverse ecosystem analysis here.
🔗 Deloitte publishes insights on NFTs in sports | Via : Nifty NFT
Deloitte Global predicts that NFTs for sports media will generate more than $2B in transactions in 2022, about double the figure for 2021. By the end of 2022, Deloitte expect that 4–5M sports fans globally will have purchased or been gifted an NFT sports collectible. Interest in sports NFTs is likely to be spurred by activity in the wider NFT market, including that for digital art, the top five most valuable sales of which had generated over $100M by August 2021.
Besides other insights, here are some of their "ten key steps to help create a successful NFT platform":
Confer a specific set of rights for content that could be sold as video clips and associated metadata within an NFT.
Build or work with an online platform that can cope with surges in transaction volume and global demand.
Identify a partner that can mint content into an NFT, noting that costs for minting vary considerably.
Have a zero-carbon plan.
Finally, consider video clips as just the beginning of an NFT strategy. NFTs can also be applied to other sports products such as tickets to a game and physical collectibles.
⬆️ The Upside: There is no question that the NFT sports market has great potential. The Deloitte report is a confirmation of that. Many observers already believe that NFT will be a core component of the Metaverse experience, set to become a $1 trillion market in the coming years. But as we mentioned in our Sports Metaverse ecosystem analysis, according to Grayscale, the total market cap of Web 3.0 Metaverse crypto networks stands at around $27.5 billion, compared to the $15 trillion market cap of Web 2.0 companies. So there is a way to go there. And it is unclear at this point how long it will take for the Metaverse market to reach $1 trillion.
Source: Deloitte, 2021
🔗 DraftKings and the NFL Players Association team up on gamified NFTs
DraftKings and the NFL Players Association are linking up on a nascent market: gamified NFTs. The betting company and NFLPA licensing partner OneTeam Partners announced on Tuesday that they will release products on DraftKings Marketplace during the 2022-2023 NFL season. The two sides anticipate producing NFTs that can be bought and sold, as well as used in games within the DraftKings platform. The NFTs will be backed by Polygon, blockchain software built on top of Ethereum.
⬆️ The Upside: This announcement makes sense. It is worth pointing out that this is a deal made by the NFLPA not the NFL, meaning that the NFLPA, which represents NFL players, aims at getting a piece of the NFT’s booming market and share a piece of the revenues with the NFL players. As a reminder, the NFLPA already signed a deal with Dapper Labs in the fall to create exclusive digital video highlight NFTs for NFL fans. So this other deal with DraftKings is part of the NFLPA’s overall strategy to get a piece of the action and help NFL players monetize the NFT opportunity. We expect the NFLPA to announce similar deals in the future. We also expect Player Associations (e.g. NBAPA) to follow suit and sign similar deals in the coming years.
🔗 NBA partners with Infinite Objects, Premier League confirms plans | Via : Nifty NFT
NFTs are not just for the digital world, as we can see via the new partnership between the NBA and Infinite Objects, which lets fans and collectors print their NBA Top Shot moments. All of the frames are authenticated, meaning that users need to connect their wallet and prove that they own the NFT they want to print. Every Infinite Objects video print holds only a single NBA Top Shot Moment. While the NBA keeps being the front runner with regards to league activities in the NFT field, there's another big league that is planning to join the trend. In a recent meeting with fan representatives the Premier League has confirmed plans to publish NFTs. The league is "seriously thinking about partnering with a cryptocurrency platform to sell NFTs, but its approach will be slow and cautious per The Times."
⬆️ The Upside: This announcement is interesting for many reasons. First this is part of the NBA’s overall strategy to fully monetize the NFL opportunity and help the league sustain its lead in the NFT market. Second, many observers believe that there is a huge market for physical collectables in the context of NFTs. So the NBA is also looking to bank on this growing segment of the NFT market, which makes sense. We expect the NBA and other leagues to sign deals with vendors focusing on this NFT subsegment. Regarding the Premier League, it makes sense for the Premier League to enter the NFT race as it is one of the biggest sports leagues in the world. Of note, the majority of Premier League revenue is generated through broadcasting fees, bringing in approximately 2.3 billion British pounds in the 2019/2020 season. They also have a very large fan base. The cumulative global audience for the 2018-19 Premier League season was said to be 3.2 billion fans (40% of the world's population). You can check out our latest analysis on the NFT Sports market here.
Source: NBA, Premier League
🔗 Nike and adidas go Metaverse | Via : Nifty NFT
Facebook has clearly kicked off some hype around all things Metaverse. And it didn't take long for two of the sports industry's premium brands to double down on the topic as well. First it was Nike who announced a partnership with Roblox to create NIKELAND, a virtual world for Nike fans to connect, create, share experiences and compete. According to Nike these are the five things to know about the initiative:
Buildings and fields inspired by Nike's real-life headquarters. With the NIKELAND tool kit, creators can easily design their own mini-games from interactive sports materials
Visitors can use accelerometers in their mobile devices to transfer offline movement to online play.
A digital showroom allows you to outfit your NIKELAND avatar with special Nike products.
NIKELAND is free for anyone to visit and experience on Roblox, breaking down one of the biggest barriers to sport — access
The digital world will come to life at Nike’s House of Innovation (HOI) in New York City via Snapchat
⬆️ The Upside: This Metaverse deals from Nike and adidas should not come as a surprise. These companies are looking at the Metaverse as a way to further drive their top line and better engage their customers. Nike, for example, has been very active in the Metaverse ecosystem as it also recently filed a patent for “virtual goods”, and hired Metaverse designers and a head of Metaverse strategy. By teaming up with Roblox, it will be able to tap into Roblox’s 43.2 million daily active users worldwide. For Roblox it will be able to leverage Nike’s strong brand and further drive its top line. You can check out our latest analysis on the Sports Metaverse market here.
🎮 AR/VR/Video/Digital Sports News
🎮 Apple to launch its first AR glasses in 4Q22. Expects to weight 300-400 grams. 2nd gen AR glasses coming in 2024 | Via : MacRumors
Apple is already working on its second-generation AR headset, which will feature a lighter design, adopt a new battery system, and a faster processor, Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said today in an investor note obtained by MacRumors. Apple is widely expected to launch its first-generation AR-focused device in 2022. That device has been previously reported to feature a processor with Mac-level computing power and will be usable independent from an iPhone, according to Kuo. Highlighting Apple's long-term goals in AR and the "metaverse," Kuo said today that the development of the second generation of the headset is already underway and destined for launch in 2024. It will feature a lighter design compared to the first headset, as well as a new battery system, according to the analyst.
Apple has begun planning for the second-generation AR/MR headset, and the shipment schedule will likely be in 2H24. Improvements for the second generation include the lighter weight, form factor design, battery system, and processor compared to the first model, which will go to mass production in late 4Q22.
In his note today, Kuo also shared some new details about the first generation of Apple's AR headset, including that it will weigh around 300 to 400g and that it will be able to "seamlessly switch between AR and VR to provide an innovative headset experience."
⬆️ The Upside: Unlike other tech companies like Facebook, Microsoft, Google, Apple has been in no rush to launch AR/VR glasses. This is not what Apple does. They typically wait until all the other competitors release their products and then release a product that tries fix the issues that they identified. In our opinion, Apple is set to change the game in the Metaverse/AR/VR glasses market. According to our sources, all of Apple competitors (Facebook, Microsoft, Google..) are working on a similar AR/VR hybrid headset. And as soon as Apple launches its hybrid headset these competitors will announce their competing versions of Apple product. In our view Apple is well positioned to be a leader in the Metaverse space as it can leverage its 1B iOS customers, growing ARkit install base and developers, strong brand, solid history of tight hardware/software integration, and loyal customer base. Apple also has the highest multiple devices ownership rate than any other OEMs out there today. And we expect Apple to convert a good portion of its large install base to its hybrid AR/VR glasses offering.
Picture: Sketch of rumored hybrid AR/VR glasses.
🚑 Wearables, Health, Nutrition News
⌚ Peloton Announces Boxing Program in Push to Add New Services | Via : Bloomberg
Peloton Interactive Inc. will add a boxing program to its fitness offerings, marking the latest expansion beyond its signature bike service. The new training program can be delivered via the Peloton app, bike or treadmill touch screens, the company said on Twitter.
Peloton is struggling with a sales slowdown as the pandemic eases -- and many of its existing customers have been doing fewer workouts. Its stock suffered its worst plunge ever last month after the company cut its annual revenue forecast by as much as $1 billion and lowered its projections for subscribers and profit margins.
⬆️ The Upside: This announcement from Peloton makes sense for many reasons: (1) As we noted before, Peloton needs to shake things up as the company’s stock has dropped significantly over the past 6 months. (2) Competition is intensifying with competitors such as Mirror launching new products and services. (3) This helps Peloton improve the stickiness of its hardware ecosystem and potentially help reduce churn. (4) It also nicely complement its new product offering (e.g. new Peloton’s HR band and the AI camera). (5) This is part of Peloton’s growing content offering strategy in order to drive revenue beyond hardware. Overall this will help Peloton’s further drive its install base of 2.3M connected fitness subscribers.
Picture: Peloton, 2021
⌚ NISA teams up with leading Sports tracking GPS systems vendor McLloyd | Via : McLloyd
On December 1, 2021, the National Independent Soccer Association and NISA National Nation announced a partnership with McLloyd, the French leader in GPS sports tracking systems. The partnership will provide all NISA and NISA Nation Clubs with an opportunity to work with McLloyd’s world-class GPS and biometric tracker over the next two years.
“We are thrilled to have partnered with McLloyd”, said NISA Comissioner John Prutch. “Their history with some of the top Football leagues and clubs in Europe brings an extremely high level of technology and support. Every one of the member clubs and players in our growing leagues across NISA and NISA Nation will benefit from this partnership”. Every club now has an opportunity to adopt McLloyd’s systems and technology to assist in monitoring player performance and safety. tracking data will allow teams to have an accurate force and velocity profiling for every player including max velocity, acceleration, and 200-plus other indicators.
Professionals athletes from all around the world use McLloyd’s system for improving their performance. These include NFL athletes, combine athlete, USA Rugby, USA track and field, and global athletes in soccer, rugby, cycling, biathlon and skiing.
“We partnered with 1904 FC in 2019 and have been growing the relationship with NISA since then”, says McLloyd Manager of North America Laurent Debrousse. “Becoming an official partner with the league is a long-time project and an accomplishment. I would like to thank NISA’s staff and owners for their trust throughout the process”.
⬆️ The Upside: This announcement between Mclloyd and NISA makes sense. This is a key milestone for McLloyd in North America. McLloyd has gained great traction in the US in the past 12 months signing many private coaches Strengths and conditioning coaching in the US. This is a win win for both parties. For NISA it will allow its members to adopt an advanced GPS systems to help improve the performance and safety of its players. We expect McLloyd to sign similar partnerships in the future in the US.
⌚ Pixel Watch images leak – could launch with Wear OS 3.0 in 2022 | Via : Wareable
New supposed leaked pics have revealed the forthcoming Pixel Watch – Google’s first smartwatch. And it seems it could launch alongside Wear 3.0 in early 2022. That’s if we’re to believe Jon Prosser – a renowned tech leaker with a decent track record. However, he recently called that the Apple Watch Series 7 would have a radical design change, which proved to be nonsense. So take everything with pinches of salt. Prosser has shown off images (below) of the Pixel Watch, which are some grainy grabs of supposed marketing material. The leaked images back up Prosser’s own leaks from back in April 2021, (main image) which show a near bezel-less and sleek device.
The timing of the images coincide with rumors reported by Business Insider, which state that a Google Pixel Watch is on track for a Q2 2022 release, and that the date had slipped because of the on-going chip shortages. Prosser also backs up these rumors, stating on his YouTube channel that he has inside knowledge that the Pixel Watch moniker will be used – and that Q2 2022 is still on the cards.
⬆️ The Upside: It makes sense for Google to add a smart watch to its hardware offering. This nicely complement its hardware ecosystem already comprised of AR glasses (Google glass), smart speakers and tablets. This smart watch is also likely the result of Fitbit’s acquisition. It will also enable Google to tap into the fast growing smart watch market which has been dominated by Apple over the years. Will Google disrupt Apple’s dominance? Just like with Facebook and its upcoming smart watch, we doubt it. We expect the Google watch to have competitive specs with advanced biosensing capabilities (HR, HRV, sleep quality..). But Google needs to be innovative there and introduce value added capabilities such as hydration/electrolyte assessment, especially as Apple is set to offer an Apple Watch with such capabilities in in the next 24 months.
Picture: Meta Watch, 2021
⌚ Samsung Galaxy Watch with a rollable display could be rolling out in the future | Via : Wareable
Samsung could be planning to launch a smartwatch with a rollable display according to revealing patents uncovered that suggest the Galaxy Watch makers are working on a new wearable form factor. The folks at Lets Go Digital spied the patent in question, which was filed at the World Intellectual Property office on 2 June 2021 and was published on 9 December 2021. The documents attached to it were for an 'Electronic device comprising rollable display and display method therefor'. The patent and accompanying illustrations describe a watch with semi circular touchscreen displays with a frame that sits in between the two screens. When you press the physical button on the side of the case, you'll then be able to swipe the screen to its larger form.
Interestingly, it describes enabling wearers to roll out one or both screens and that different features and apps can be assigned to the different screens. So it shows off one side of the screen displaying the time and weather and the other offering the ability to activate the camera.
⬆️ The Upside: This comes as no surprise. Samsung is among the world’s leaders in display technologies. Plus this is part of Samsung’s foldable screens strategy. The South Korean company already introduced a foldable phone so it would nicely complement its hardware strategy. Now how much impact will this foldable display have on the watch’s battery life, remains to be seen. This has to be a challenge for Samsung. But net net we think this is a good move by Samsung.
Picture: Samsung, 2021
💸 Sports Tech & Health Investment Recap - November / October 2021
Here is the recap of the major sports startups’ investments in November/October 2021, which reached $405M and were up +39% in November 2021, compared to October 2021. 88% of funding came from Metaverse/NFT startups which should not come as a surprise given VCs’ growing appetite for NFT/Metaverse startups.
Source: Upside, Confidential, December 2021
Nike buys Metaverse startup RTFKT.
Arria NLG, Natural Language Generation (NLG) startup, acquired Boost Sport AI, a data analytics and computer vision startup.
Stack Sports acquired Team App, the Australia-based leader in team communications, to the Stack Sports ecosystem.
📊 Key Tech Sports Stats of The Month
$2B: The New York Rangers are the National Hockey League’s first team to reach a $2 billion valuation and the No. 1 team on Forbes’ NHL valuation list for the seventh year in a row. The rest of the league’s teams hit an average valuation of $865 million, a 32% jump from last year — the biggest increase since 2013, when the average rose 50%. The Toronto Maple Leafs ranked second at a $1.8 billion valuation, followed by the Montreal Canadiens at $1.6 billion.
$255M: Real Madrid has secured an extended $255 million loan from JPMorgan and Bank of America for the redevelopment of Santiago Bernabeu Stadium.
The extension has a 27-year term with a 1.53% fixed interest rate — reportedly the “largest” conditions ever for a long-term loan in the sports industry. Real Madrid will not start repaying until July 2024 thanks to a grace period.
$4.5M: A group of international law firms and agencies were paid more than $4.5 million prior to the launch of the now-defunct Super League, according to Bloomberg. The $4 billion Super League endeavor — which rose and fell in 48 hours back in April — initially launched with 12 teams and had financial backing from JPMorgan in the form of pledged loans.
$1.3M: Just months after the Arizona Coyotes unveiled a $1.7 billion plan for a new Tempe complex, the City of Glendale threatened to lock the team out of its current home — Gila River Arena — for failing to pay arena charges and delinquent tax bills.
With more than $1.3 million in unpaid city and state taxes, the Arizona Department of Revenue filed a tax lien notice on Dec. 3 against IceArizona Hockey, the company that owns the Coyotes.
947K: The race for a Formula 1 championship has come down to a title-deciding season finale for the first time since 1974. The head-to-head battle in Abu Dhabi on Sunday between Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton and Red Bull driver Max Verstappen presents a unique opportunity for F1 as it gains popularity in the U.S.
Across ESPN, ESPN 2, and ABC, F1 is averaging 947,000 viewers this year — a 56% increase year-over-year.
This season’s U.S. Grand Prix in Austin, Texas, recorded a 42% increase in viewership compared to 2019’s race.
+175: There hasn’t been a repeat Super Bowl champion since Tom Brady led the Patriots to titles in 2003-04. Now, 17 years later, a 44-year-old Brady can do it again with the Buccaneers — and he’s still the best quarterback in the NFL. On Sunday, Brady threw for 368 yards and four touchdowns to lead Tampa Bay to a 30-17 victory over the Falcons. Through 13 weeks, he’s the odds-on favorite for MVP (+175*), and Tampa — the highest-scoring team in the league — is the favorite to win the Super Bowl (+550*).
Brady leads the NFL in passing yards (3,771), TDs (34), passing yards per game (314.3), and completions (347).
He’s recorded a career-high six games this season with four TD passes.
60%: After four months of usage, Whoop app members report a host of benefits, including a 60% fewer injuries, according to Whoop. According to Whoop, Whoop members also reduced their resting heart rate on average by 4.4 beats per minute, increased heart rate variability by 8 milliseconds, and improved sleep by an additional 41 minutes per night.
49: Nike is asking the International Trade Commission to block imports of an Adidas shoe that allegedly copies technology in the Nike shoes worn by stars like LeBron James and Cristiano Ronaldo. The Oregon-based company claims that 49 shoe designs by Adidas use its Flyknit technology, which infringes six patents that it owns. In response, Adidas said it will defend itself against the allegations because its Primeknit technology “resulted from years of dedicated research.” Nike claims that its Flyknit technology is the product of $100 million spent on development.
48.1%: According to Parrot, Netflix lead the way, with 48.1% of US SVOD market share as of 1Q21. Amazon Prime Video, came second, with 8.9% of market share.
40.1%: The nine-time All-Star James Harden spent the summer rehabbing a torn hamstring suffered during the postseason. In October, he attributed his offensive struggles to his lack of offseason pickup action. But now it’s December, and the three-time NBA scoring champ is still missing shots and losing the ball. Harden has shot 40.1% from the field and 34.6% from three — both career lows — and his 5.0 turnovers per game lead the league.
Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
30%: Lululemon reported third-quarter earnings Thursday, posting a 30% year-over-year net revenue increase to $1.5 billion. Net income jumped from $143.6 million to $187.8 million. Revenue in North America rose 28%, and international revenue increased 40%. The athleisure company saw total sales increase 27%, opening 18 new stores during the quarter for a total of 552 in operation.
4x: College athletes have received hundreds of thousands of NIL deals in the months since July 1 – and through its third month, the market appears to be hitting its stride. From August to September, Opendorse experienced a massive jump in spending and active athletes:
4x increase in college athletes who received or disclosed a deal.
2x increase in dollars spent by brands and fans on NIL transactions.
Thanks to an NCAA rule, companies aren’t allowed to kill NIL deals because athletes get hurt. And in the eyes of brands, injured athletes don’t necessarily lose their marketability, either. NIL offers a small insurance policy, where athletes can cash in even if injuries derail their seasons or pro careers, according to Amanda Christovich.
17: One of the world’s biggest soccer clubs may have finally hit rock bottom. After falling to Bayern Munich 3-0 on Wednesday, Barcelona will miss the Champions League knockout stage for the first time since 2003-04. Barcelona’s 17-season knockout streak began with club legend Lionel Messi’s first season and ends with his first playing abroad — the Argentinian superstar infamously joined Paris Saint-Germain after Barca couldn’t afford to keep him. It’s the culmination of years of severe financial struggles for the Blaugrana. Extravagant short-term spending by former president Josep Maria Bartomeu led to about $543 million in losses following the 2020-21 season.
11: If this is Steelers NFL star Ben Roethlisberger’s last year — as reports indicate — the Steelers have five games to give him one more playoff ride. Pittsburgh’s on the bubble, and the 39-year-old is clearly no longer elite, but Roethlisberger still knows how to drive his team into the postseason — he’s taken the Steelers there 11 times over his 18-year career.
2.5%: Netflix had the lowest churn rate of major SVOD services. By comparison, Apple + had the highest churn, with 15.6%.
📸 Snapshots & Videos of the Month.
VR suit and gloves: Let’s hope that we won’t all turn into this in the coming years :). In this picture the person is using the Tesla VR suit and VR gloves.
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