93: Overtime NFTs, the WTA's new sponsor, and Charlotte FC set MLS attendance record
I hope that in the future we won't need an International Women's Day, but for now it is a great reason to celebrate and champion the brilliant women that I get to work with, as well as the brilliant female athletes that I admire and have covered in this newsletter.
For the sports industry in particular, there is still a long way to go (as was demonstrated, ironically, by the disparity at last year's NCAA March Madness - the subject of today's top story for different reasons). Here's hoping for, and working towards, a more equal industry for all.
Overtime continue expansion into the NFT space
Overtime is continuing its expansion into the NFT space by launching bracketX in partnership with Magic Eden, the largest marketplace for Solana based NFTs.
The concept behind the project is that each NFT (bracketX) will act as a pass which gives the holder access to multiple live sports contests, games and events exclusively hosted by Overtime.
This first of which will be a guaranteed entry into Overtime’s college basketball tournament bracket contest. This, for anyone unaware of what a “bracket contest” is (like me), is a prediction game that has become hugely popularised around the NCAA’s March Madness, a single elimination college basketball tournament in the U.S.
Starting on March 17, bracketX holders will each be airdropped an NFT bracket. These brackets will be randomly generated but if they don’t like their teams, there is an opportunity for them to buy or sell brackets on Magic Eden. Fans then receive points for correct picks and the the top 100 winning brackets are set to split a prize pool of 100 SOL + 50% of mint + 100% of bracket royalties.
This bracket contest will be the first of many future contests and games to come. Game Pass holders who participate in this first contest will also receive additional airdrops so they can enter future contests for free and win prizes.
Our Take: (Thankfully) we are seeing a movement away from PFP (profile pic) projects within the NFT space in favour of these projects which have higher levels of utility. This project certainly follows this trend – with the NFT providing a clear purpose (as a game pass) and having high levels of engagement among fans, who have already shown an appetite for fantasy sports and sports betting.
While Overtime has a lot of synergies to college basketball, you can’t help but think that they have (yet again) stolen a march on their more traditional competitors (NCAA) by monetising an event sitting outside their control. I’d expect rightsholders to be watching closely and seeing how they can tie their own, licensed fantasy offering to an NFT one.
📚 Further Reading
Michael Jordan’s Solana athlete app HEIR drops first NFTs - Decrypt
Launching in December, Golf Goonz recently celebrated 100 ETH traded in 50 days - Twitter
FC Barcelona Plans to Create Its Own Cryptocurrency - CoinDesk
THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK
The Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) has agreed a multi-year title sponsorship deal with Hologic, a medical device and diagnostics company, which the tour’s president Micky Lawler claims is “probably the biggest in women’s sports”.
In an interview with the New York Times, Lisa Hellmann, a senior vice president for global human resources and corporate communication at Hologic, said the WTA’s strong stance in support of the Chinese player Peng Shuai was a factor in sparking Hologic’s interest.
This stance, while applauded by many in the public, had caused Chinese sponsors such as iQiyi to distance themselves from the governing body. However, it now seems that their strength to stick by their principles may be paying off from a commercial perspective.
Dom Walker, Associate Director of Strategy at CSM Sport & Entertainment, commented that when it comes to sponsorship, "The purpose debate is all too often polarising and undefined. But the idea of having Principles and standing by them, regardless of their potential impact, should be applauded."
Staying true to its founding principles in the case of Peng Shuai "has made it a far stronger organisation in the long-term as it has clearly defined what it is. And this partnership will be one of the first significant signs of this," continued Walker.
📚 Further Reading
Everton suspend sponsorships with Russian companies USM, Megafon and Yota after Usmanov has assets frozen - GOAL
Why sponsors are stuck with Kyrie Irving—even as he Refuses to get vaccinated - AdWeek
La Liga will erase anti-war messaging from Its Chinese broadcasts, report suggests - Forbes
WEEKLY ROUND UP
Charlotte FC set a new MLS attendance record on Saturday against LA Galaxy as the 2022 expansion side saw a crowd of 74,479 fans at their inaugural home match.
Fashion brand, Tommy Hilfiger has unveiled a new community-driven gaming initiative, dubbed Team Tommy, that intends to uplift global creatives in the gaming domain.
Fila is putting the leisure in athleisure with the news that the company will be opening a branded hotel in Shanghai in 2024 in a partnership with Hyatt called Fila House.
Formula One has cancelled its host contract with the Russian Grand Prix, a move which will cost the series UK£40 million. The decision comes six days after this year’s race was pulled from the calendar.
Roman Abramovich has already received several serious bids in the region of UK£3 billion to buy Chelsea. Further offers for the Uefa Champions League holders are expected.
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