In this week’s SportsMoney Playbook: the NBA’s most valuable teams, bold moves in the NIL market and a Nascar juggernaut in the making. Plus: LeBron James sets an NBA earnings record.
Amazon Web Services is finding new ways to inject analytics into soccer broadcasts, calculating the probability of a goal on any particular shot and measuring the fastest player on the pitch during Bundesliga games. “We are going to see more and more commentators and also broadcasters using these insights to explain to viewers the story of this game,” an AWS engineer tells us.
The sports and cryptocurrency worlds are rapidly becoming intertwined. The latest intersection: Crypto exchange Binance is the new jersey sponsor of Serie A club SS Lazio.
If major partners like Adidas don’t consider a biennial World Cup a valuable investment, FIFA may have to rethink its proposal to upend the international match calendar. Two-time World Cup-winning coach Jill Ellis has pushed a similar change for the women’s game, although it’s anything but a sure thing. “This is a democracy; this is going to go to a vote ultimately,” she tells us.
Being compared to Cristiano Ronaldo isn’t easy, but Manchester United‘s Ella Toone is living up to the hype. She’s relishing the moment, telling us, “For him to be back at the club and for me to be back at the club as well—it’s like I’m reliving my childhood memories.”
Drive by DraftKings, a venture capital firm backed by a star-studded group of investors such as the Kraft Group and Jerry Jones, has raised $60 million for its first fund, aiming to find the next big thing in sports technology and entertainment.
Denny Hamlin and Michael Jordan‘s 23XI Racing looks like a potential dynasty in the making, with Bubba Watson this month becoming the first Black driver to win a Nascar Cup Series race since 1963 and a deep pool of partners providing a stable foundation. Richard Petty Motorsports has none of that security, often lacking a sponsor for races, which shows up even in Erik Jones‘ firesuit design. But the veteran driver is getting back to basics after his stint with powerhouse Joe Gibbs Racing, and making the most of the opportunity.
When Nascar legend Tony Stewart announced he was adding a National Hot Rod Association team to his portfolio, it was natural to conclude the motivation came from his fiancée, NHRA veteran Leah Pruett. He became interested in the series long before he and Pruett had met, however.
University of Florida quarterback Anthony Richardson is making a bold statement in the college sports name, image and likeness market, or at least trying to, by targeting only six- and seven-figure opportunities. (His representatives say he has one already.) Richardson isn’t the only Gator profiting from the new NIL rules. Online marketing platform MarketPryce just launched a program through which Florida alumni can donate money for athletes and promote local businesses. Meanwhile, marketing agency UniWorld Group is starting a consulting group to empower Black student-athletes in the NIL world, and Ohio State quarterback Quinn Ewers is adding partnerships even before he takes a snap.
Shaun White knows he’s bordering on ancient for a pro snowboarder at age 35, but he’s preparing to compete at his fifth Olympics in Beijing in February—and he isn’t ready to say they will be his final Games.
Slinger has big expansion plans after raising $11 million in August, with acquisitions of AI and data capture companies signaling it wants to move well beyond its portable tennis ball launcher.
The NBA is booming, with the average team value having climbed 13% since February, to $2.48 billion, on the strength of record sponsorship revenue and high expectations for the league’s next media rights deal. The Knicks retain the No. 1 spot, but there’s still major movement at the top of the ranking: For the first time ever, three franchises are worth more than $5 billion. See the full list.
- Highest-Paid NBA Players 2021-22: LeBron James Crushes Basketball’s Earnings Record
- LeBron James Scores On $725 Million SpringHill Deal With Nike, RedBird And Fenway Sports Group
- Kyrie Irving’s Vaccination Status Drops Him From The Ranks Of The Highest-Paid NBA Players
Upon Further Review
Barcelona has locked up its budding star Pedri with a deal that includes a $1.1 billion release clause, ensuring that any potential suitor would have to pay a king’s ransom to pry away the 18-year-old midfielder. After the departure of Lionel Messi, being able to count on that kind of star power is a blessing for the debt-laden Barcelona as it tries to maintain its status as the world’s most valuable soccer club. See the full ranking, and how Barça compares with the world’s other top teams.
The Last Word
“If it doesn’t have a sculpted element to it or a crafted part, it’s just not the same for me.” – Malcolm DeMille
For more than 30 years, Malcolm DeMille has been the artisan behind some of golf’s most recognizable awards, like the 27-pound Wanamaker Trophy and the gold Ryder Cup Trophy. DeMille started by making custom trinkets for country clubs and got his big break when he produced award sculptures and money clips for an LPGA major tournament. But even all these years later, with a 17-person team in his employ, he wants to keep challenging himself. “I don’t get much satisfaction churning out a typical cup,” he tells us. Read more about DeMille’s journey.
You can subscribe to the SportsMoney Playbook here.