• Andy Marston

80: UAE launch T20 franchise, Spotify Wrapped, and ECB double women's pay

After Atletico Mineiro won the Serie A trophy last week, their first title win in half a century, sponsor MRV told fans they would pay for free tattoos to commemorate the success.

The sponsor is also currently bidding to build a new stadium for the team from Belo Horizonte and this latest move means they could now leave their mark on the city in more ways than one...



Investment pours into UAE's new T20 franchise tournament

Premier League T20, the UAE’s new franchise cricket competition, is set to debut early next year. It will be the first Emirates Cricket Board (ECB)-owned franchise competition and follows a season that has already been packed with short-format cricket in the region.

This began in September with the rescheduled Indian Premier League (IPL) taking place in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah. That was followed – with just a day’s break in between - by the ICC T20 World Cup. And we’ve then also seen the Abu Dhabi T10 recently conclude at the impressive Zayed Cricket Stadium.

It would appear however that there is appetite for yet more cricket in the UAE with significant investment now pouring into this new six-team tournament.

One of the teams, for instance, has been purchased by Lancer Capital, whose chairman is Avram Glazer, the co-chairman of Manchester United and owner of the NFL's Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The American previously failed in an attempt to buy a new IPL franchise in October but he will be met with much of the same company with this new venture.

That's because last month it was announced Reliance Industries, the owners of the IPL’s most successful side, Mumbai Indians, had acquired the rights to another of the UAE league’s teams. Furthermore, Delhi Capitals co-owner Kiran Kumar Grandhi is going to invest in the league from an individual perspective and there is reported interest from Kolkata Knight Riders owner and from the Australian Big Bash franchise, Sydney Sixers too.

Our Take: This tournament is set to have up to 8 overseas players per team and with top talent tied to country rather than long-term domestic club contracts, cricketers have flexibility to appear and promote multiple competitions throughout the calendar year (assuming it falls outside their international duties). Premier League T20 can therefore can quickly establish itself as a serious contender unlike competitor leagues in other sports.

Add in the growing global influence of India (highlighted most recently by Twitter's new CEO appointment) and you have the recipe for a highly promising investment.

📚 Further Reading

  • International Cricket Council launches strategy for Global Growth - ICC

  • ‘Nothing is off the table’: Cricket Australia ponders steps toward private equity - Sydney Morning Herald

  • Billionaires bet on big-money TV deal for Indian Premier League - FT



Last week saw the very popular Spotify Wrapped 2021 land on everyones devices, quickly followed by their social feeds. As a result we saw 'top 0.5%' trending across Twitter, as fans announced and flexed those artists who they had listened to the most over the past year.

For Richard Johnson, Head of Content at INEOS Grenadiers, this reaffirmed "how NFTs can actually take the role of this flex and fandom in a ‘verified’ manner."

"Imagine this, a Spotify Wrapped x Artist collab where an NFT is available to claim for the top 0.5% of their listeners."

Johnson continues, "Maybe these top 0.5% can then unlock exclusive content or further experiences based on holding this NFT?" This not only elevates their fandom to another level compared to their current flexes on Intagram, Twitter or TikTok, it also verifies and monetises it, too. As an owned tradable asset, there is a potential financial upside to being among an artist's most hard-core fans. This concept could equally be applied across a sporting context. "It’s easy to see how we can have so much fun using data to identify, reward and create experiences via NFTs for super fans." A rights holder, for instance, could reward the fans with the highest attendance percentage home and away, or those that most avidly consumer their digital content.

📚 Further Reading

  • Why crypto: Beyond the idiocy, web3 has exciting possibilities - The Rebooting

  • NFT music platforms to disrupt Spotify in 2022, Saxo Bank predicts - Cointelegraph

  • Independent musicians are making big money from NFTs. Can they challenge the music industry? - TIME



Women's Sport

  • The ECB has announced that salary bands will increase for players in next summer's Hundred tournaments – with women's pay more than doubling.


  • The Women’s Tennis Association has announced the suspension of all tournaments in China amid concerns about the safety of the Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai, following weeks of a high-profile row with Beijing over the player’s wellbeing.

Trading Cards

  • Amazon has made an investment into Dibbs, a blockchain-backed marketplace for buying and selling fractional shares of sports cards which gives collectors the chance to own minor stakes in cards previously out of their price range.


  • Mercedes F1 team are facing growing pressure to scrap a recent sponsorship deal with Kingspan, a firm that made combustible insulation on Grenfell Tower, after the government threatened to change advertising rules.


  • Cameo is partnering with the NHL’s Washington Capitals to let fans buy personalized messages from players. Each player has picked a charity as part of its “Caps for a Cause” program, with 100% of the earnings going to their selected beneficiary.


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