• Andy Marston

88: TikTok partners with Six Nations, the 'Alternative Bundle', and F1 heading to Vegas?

The G.O.A.T (aka Tom Brady) is widely expected to retire in the coming weeks. According to reports, his timing could be worth millions as $15 million of his $20 million signing bonus was deferred to Feb 4, 2022.


Not that he needs the money... Autograph, the NFT platform he co-founded recently closed a $170m Series B funding round (which was co-led by Andreessen Horowitz).


Speaking of NFTs, if you're interested in web3 developments in sport, I've teamed up with Rich Johnson to create a group to discuss just that. We're capping the number of members so if you want in, make sure to act quick.

 

TOP STORY

TikTok Try for new fans with Six Nations partnership

Six Nations Rugby and TikTok have announced a landmark partnership that will see the entertainment platform become the Title Partner of the Women’s Six Nations, as well as an Official Partner to the Guinness Six Nations and Autumn Nations Series, from the 2022 season through to 2025.


As part of its partnership across Six Nations Rugby, each Union will commit to utilise dedicated ‘TikTok Rugby Creators’ to enhance the experience for the fans, deliver better content, and grow rugby on the platform. To date, TikTok has amassed more than 5.1bn views for its #rugby content.


The role of these 'TikTok Rugby Creators' will be to give everyone exclusive access to the game, its culture, people, and big moments. Rugby fans on TikTok will be able to access content from tournament and Union accounts, with in-app activations such as Hashtag Challenges also further engaging them on the entertainment app.


This follows a similar partnership strategy to TikTok’s other deals, which are often focused on tournaments such as the British and Irish Lions Tour or UEFA Euro 2020.


While these rightsholders are often quick to highlight the value of bringing the sport to new audiences, the partnerships are ultimately designed to drive new audiences (outside TikTok’s 18–24-year-old sweet spot) to TikTok’s platform, and keep current users engaged with quality, curated content.


Our Take: The idea that TikTok will pay for a rightsholder’s Creator-driven content should really make others reassess – particularly those that are currently publishing such content across social for free (or even paying to boost it) in the name of fan engagement.


While a presence on these platforms is certainly necessary to broaden reach, unless you are being paid to keep fans behind the walled garden (i.e., in-app), rightsholders must put greater emphasis on instead driving fans over to an owned and operated channel such as their website or app – or maybe even a virtual location in the metaverse!


📚 Further Reading

  • ICC retains top spot on BCW Sports social media ranking for International Federations - Inside the Games

  • Sportstech is creating a player-centric future - Fortune

  • Draymond Green signs exclusive, multiyear deal with Turner Sports, 'Inside the NBA' - NBA.com

 

THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK

For many years, media and entertainment companies have been set on demonstrating their streaming strategies in order to counter traditional pay-TV declines.


The thesis was that taking more of a consumer’s cash directly, rather than collecting negotiated fees from a wholesale pay-TV model, will eventually be a better business than bundled cable TV (or at least good enough to survive).


This thesis worked for a while. But after Netflix shares dropped 25% on Friday morning when first quarter subscriber additions missed analyst estimates, investors seem to have soured on streaming. So, what now for the streaming services? Where does future growth come from? Well, the simplest solution would be to bundle content from multiple services. This, of course, is something the likes of Disney already do (think Hulu, ESPN, etc.). Charlie Boss, CEO of the Jockey Club suggests that, instead, "The Alternative Bundle is coming!" (Essentially, the bundling of streaming services with other perks). Boss continues, "Imagine a Disney+ product that’s a window into the entire world of Disney..." This could include everything from their well-established parks & resorts, to the best live sports rights, or they could even follow Netflix’s lead and attempt to shift investor narrative toward gaming.


📚 Further Reading

  • Netflix shares drop as analysts downgrade streamer's outlook - Sports Business Journal

  • Streaming platforms to be investigated ‘for holding too much power’ - The Sunday Times

  • Peacock’s losses show how far ahead Netflix really is - Quartz

 

WEEKLY ROUND UP

Mega-Events

  • Beijing says the cost of hosting the 2022 Winter Games is among the cheapest ever at $3.9 billion. But the real cost might be closer to $37 billion, close to 10 times the reported amount.

International Expansion

  • Formula 1 and entities in Las Vegas are advancing closer to agreeing a deal to bring a race to The Strip, according to sources. The Sports Business Journal report that an official announcement could be made in the first half of this year.

Ticketing

  • FIFA is reporting more than 1.2m tickets for the World Cup in Qatar have been requested worldwide in the first 24 hours of the initial sales period. That is slightly down from the 1.3m received in same time period ahead of Russia's 2018 World Cup.

Esports

  • ESL Gaming and FACEIT have announced a merger set to be finalised in Q2 of 2022. It comes shortly after the two esports’ tournament organisers were purchased by Saudi Arabian government-backed Savvy Gaming Group for a combined $1.5bn (~£1.1bn).

Fan Tokens

  • Fan token site Socios has sued the Argentine Football Association for signing a competing deal with Binance. A judge has issued a preliminary injunction ordering the league to honour their contacts with the site.

NFTs

  • Former Chelsea and England captain John Terry has removed the Premier League trophy from his “Ape Kids Club” NFT which he had been promoting on Twitter after a legal intervention by the league.

 

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