• Andy Marston

102: The Athletic's losses, OliveX trades sweat for crypto, and Sinclair's streaming rates

I hope you've all had a lovely weekend,

I spent mine enjoying the sunshine here in the UK and living vicariously through those on my social media feeds lucky enough to be in attendance at the inaugural Miami Grand Prix. One such attendee was Joe Pompliano, who flexed his attendance through Huddle Up, a newsletter which features among my round-up of what's going on across the sports industry this week.

Here's the full agenda;

  1. The Athletic's financials since The New York Times acquisition

  2. Fitness Metaverse OliveX trades sweat for crypto and NFTs

  3. Sinclair's streaming rate latest example of sports viewings rising cost

  4. Liverpool on cusp of record breaking sponsorship deal

The most notable omission to this list is Chelsea - who confirmed on Sunday a new ownership group (to the tune of $4.25bn) AND their third Women's Super League title. I decided to focus elsewhere though as you can see plenty of coverage of both these stories in the broadsheets.

Without further ado, let's get into it!



Huddle Up: The Athletic's financials since The New York Times acquisition

Last week, the New York Times (NYT) released their first-quarter 2022 results, which provided more details on how their acquisition of The Athletic (which they purchased for $550m in January) is going.

The positive news? The Athletic has added 1.1m subscribers, pushing total subscribers at the publishing giant to 9.1m.

However, the acquisition has also altered the company’s balance sheet. The Athletic has lost $6.8 million since the acquisition. This has eaten into the New York Times' profits, accounting for 94% of their $7.2m drop in profitability for the quarter.

They plan to address this by introducing more advertising to the subscription-based sports site. Whether that will be enough, only time will tell.

Full Story

Are there other ways for brands to look at media and publishing (you know, beyond erecting a paywall/ implementing a subscription model)? Maybe...

  • NFT Subscriptions Are Better Paywalls – CoinDesk

  • Are NFTs the Future of Subscriptions? - Creator Economy

  • Publishing as a sales tool – The Rebooting



Forbes: Fitness Metaverse OliveX trades sweat for crypto and NFTs

Working out can be good for your belt line and your bottom-line at the same time. That’s the proposition OliveX is offering to the players of its mobile blockchain games.

Gamers can earn DOSE tokens and NFTs by completing missions (such as 'Operation Ape') within OliveX’s adventure games like Dustland Runner, which requires them to run varying distances in the real world with smartphones in hand.

The exciting part is that these virtual rewards can be then used to level up in games, or be traded on crypto exchanges and NFT marketplaces (to earn REAL money).

Full Story

Given consumer demand for health and wellness technologies, there's huge potential for a move-to-earn project to become the first crypto app with truly mass appeal.

  • The next big trend in Sports x Web 3.0: Move to Earn - Sports 3.0

  • Stepn - Walk to Earn? - Sporting Crypto

  • Will STEPN bring crypto to the masses? - Nat Eliason



The Athletic: Sinclair's streaming rate latest example of sports viewings rising cost

If you want to watch your favourite team or sport on TV or another device, you’d better get your wallet, writes Daniel Kaplan at The Athletic.

Streaming, once held up as the elixir for sports fans that would liberate them from the pricey cable bundle, is now yet another cost alongside pay-TV, which shows no signs of going away despite its obituary being written many times (i.e. this article by The Verge, or this report by Diffusion Group).

As Martin Ross, Global News Editor at SportBusiness points out, "UK fans now face subs to 5 services (Amazon, BT, Premier, Sky & Viaplay). + a 6th if FITE gets LaLiga deal done. Not to mention DAZN. And during time of spiralling inflation. No wonder fans turn to piracy."

Full Story

To bundle or not to bundle, that is the question.

  • Kayo Sports gets subscription price hike - SportsPro

  • RSN streaming a costly venture for Sinclair - Sport Business Journal

  • Free-to-air fear as deal struck to stream Wales on Viaplay - The National

An alternative option? Sportstribal TV launched the first ad-supported sports entertainment streaming service this time last year.



FOS: Liverpool on cusp of record breaking sponsorship deal

Liverpool FC is in talks to land a shirt sponsorship deal that could reportedly fetch a record $100m per year, starting with the 2023-24 season.

The Premier League club’s current deal with British bank Standard Chartered ends at the end of the 2022-23 season. The bank originally paid Liverpool an estimated $25m annually after it took over shirt sponsorship rights from Danish brewery group Carlsberg in 2010.

The Reds are in talks with finance, crypto, media, electronics, and travel companies and Standard Chartered, who inked a four-year, $201 million extension in 2018, are reportedly in talks to extend their deal again.

Full Story

This news potentially signals the beginning of a rebound for the sponsorship industry which has suffered greatly through the pandemic.

  • Atletico Madrid agree €42m a year WhaleFin shirt sponsorship - SportsPro

  • Red Bull lands another U.S. sponsor in deal with Hard Rock - USA Today

  • ECB signs Sage as latest sponsor of The Hundred - SportBusiness


Quick ask... It takes me hours each week to put these newsletters together so if you enjoy them, it would be amazing if you could subscribe and/ or share them with friends and colleagues. Thank you!

Note - to get access to all links please subscribe and access via email.