#sports | This Week’s Most Interesting Sports Business Stories

In this week’s SportsMoney Playbook: the world’s richest team owners, a record for agents’ fees and athletes launch their own NFTs. Plus: DAZN emerges from the pandemic with a refined streaming strategy.

Pro Football

In the wake of sexual misconduct accusations by 23 women, Nike and Beats by Dre have halted their partnerships with Deshaun Watson. The fallout could be extensive for the Texans‘ star quarterback, who made $8 million from endorsements last season—the fourth-best figure in the NFL.

Sports Business

Last spring, DAZN was left to wonder how to operate a premium sports streaming service without any live sports to show its subscribers. Now, the company’s co-CEO believes that changes prompted by the pandemic have it set up for the future.

A sports card enthusiast and a FanDuel alum created StarStock to be a “stock market for sports cards.” Now, 11 months after the platform went live and four months after its seed round, the startup has raised $8 million in Series A funding, with Hawks star Trae Young among the investors.

NBA superagent Rich Paul and a trio of former Nike executives have formed a startup that aims to build up brands focused on sports, wellness, nutrition, tech and consumer-facing products.

Soccer

The San Jose Earthquakes are renaming their stadium, but their partnership with PayPal doesn’t end there.

Andrés Iniesta‘s family-owned wine business has been hit hard by Covid-19, but the former Barcelona midfielder managed to use his superstar status to soften the blow. Iniesta isn’t the only athlete leveraging his celebrity to gain ground in the wine industry: Pro Football Hall of Famer Terrell Owens has launched his own label.

Auto Racing

Motorsport Games has produced Nascar‘s video game since 2018, and with the launch of a new title later this year, it intends to expand racing’s esports presence. “We’ve been thinking broader and wider,” the company’s CEO tells us.

Ford Racing doesn’t have access to a deep pool of prospects the way Toyota does, so the organization is developing from within, using road racing and simulations to circumvent Nascar testing limits and improve its drivers’ versatility.

College Sports

The NCAA may be fighting a losing battle at the Supreme Court, which is preparing a ruling on the college amateurism system. In the meantime, enacting substantive change is up to the 16 college presidents on the NCAA’s board of governors. A good place to start would be investing in women’s basketball, which could generate real revenue if given the right support.

Volleyball

Aury Cruz and Lindsay Stalzer spent years overseas to make their dream of playing professional volleyball financially feasible. The launch of Athletes Unlimited, which committed $1 million to salaries for the 44-player league, has brought them back home.


Featured Story

The World’s Richest Sports Team Owners 2021

The 20 richest controlling owners of teams in major sports leagues around the world have a combined net worth of $426 billion, up 60% during what has been a record year for billionaire wealth. Mukesh Ambani (Mumbai Indians) and Steve Ballmer (Los Angeles Clippers) provide a familiar one-two punch atop the list, but there’s a newcomer at No. 3 who saw his wealth skyrocket 699% over 12 months. See who it is, along with the rest of the 2021 list.

Hot Reads:


Upon Further Review

Covid-19 may have rocked soccer’s transfer market, but the Premier League hasn’t seemed to notice: England’s top-tier clubs spent a record $376.5 million in agents’ fees in 12 months, according to new data. The unstoppable rise has helped the sport take a prominent place on our annual list of the most powerful sports agents; three of the top four on our most recent ranking came from the soccer world. See who they are here.


The Last Word

“To be honest, when I first heard of it, I thought it was dumb.” – Tyrese Haliburton

The market for non-fungible tokens is surging, and Dapper Labs, with its NBA Top Shot app, is riding the wave. Still struggling to wrap your mind around what an NFT is? The startup’s CEO, along with NBA players Tyrese Haliburton and Spencer Dinwiddie, explains here. Athletes outside of basketball are grabbing a piece of the action, too. Patriots star Julian Edelman, the Manning brothers and heavyweight boxing champion Tyson Fury are releasing collections of tokens, and Tom Brady is launching an NFT platform.


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