• Andy Marston

94: American Golf buys new club, ICC launch 'Crictos' NFTs, and 3 suspend Chelsea sponsorship

Yesterday, The Athletic revealed that Premier League clubs are set to approve an official NFT partnership with ConsenSys & are considering another with Dapper Labs. The ConsenSys deal would be for still images, while Dapper would be for video.


Interestingly, this is the first time we've seen a rights holder segment the rights of an NFT deal in this manner. That said, both NFT concepts lack much invention beyond that (although, that is the case for pretty much every other rights holder, too).

 

TOP STORY

Retailer American Golf on Course to get more people playing

Europe’s largest golf retailer, American Golf, has taken over the operation of a golf club in London – its sixth leisure venue. The Barnehurst Golf Course closed last March when its previous operator ended the lease – making it one of the few golf venues not to benefit from the pandemic.


The acquisition of this, their first municipal site, supports American Golf’s wider vision to make the sport “accessible and fun for everyone”. The nine-hole venue will be updated to become a destination complex with plans submitted by the retailer to include a new sports lounge, a refurbished driving range, and retail space with custom-fit technology.


The premise? increase the popularity of golf, reduce barriers to entry, and therefore (eventually) increase sales of golf equipment.


And it appears to have worked. American Golf has seen significant growth since it started acquiring venues. In January it was reported that overall sales performance for the Warrington-headquartered retailer, for the 12 weeks ending 31 December 2021, was up 55% compared to the same period in 2019, with total revenue for the three months topping £40m.


Furthermore, sales of entry-level equipment for those 12 weeks increased by 35% (compared to the same period in 2019).


Our Take:

While much of this growth was driven by demand from new golfers who’ve come to the sport as a result of the pandemic, there is undoubtably an element of this which could be assigned to American Golf’s strategy to take over various golfing operations, a premise (on a smaller scale but) similar to Callaway’s investment in TopGolf.


📚 Further Reading

  • £100 million Darren Clarke golf resort to go ahead - The Golf Business

  • Female golfers fuelling sport’s growth - Front Office Sports

  • Callaway is now ‘tech-enabled golf, lifestyle apparel and entertainment company’ - PYMNTS

 

THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK

The International Cricket Council (ICC) have announced the launch of a series of women’s cricket NFTs. An official collaboration with Dapper Labs backed FanCraze, the ‘ICC Crictos’ will feature some of the most memorable moments from recent ICC tournaments, including the Women’s T20 World Cup in 2020.


"This mechanic has worked well for the NBA with Top Shots… It builds on collectibles, scarcity, and trading cards - a truly skeuomorphic migration from the real world to the digital world,” explains George Prest, a Partner at The Brandtech Group.


However, Prest also believes that there is a lot more to come from web3 technologies than mere collectables in the form of video clips and images…


"For the sake of the ICC Crictos, it might be fun to imagine FanCraze setting up two rival DAOs amongst their token holders. The ICC could then allow those DAOs, once a year to select two teams from the superstars at their disposal and host a match between [them]. The first decentralised, international cricket match!”


Interestingly, I shared a similar idea earlier in the year on the back of an announcement from Fan Controlled Football. However, I believe that rather than a one-off all-star match, there is an opportunity for fans to control and own a T20 franchise team or league via a DAO.


Why? Unlike in most other sports, top talent isn’t tied to club contracts and therefore greater availability of top talent and ability for fans to draft the team. Secondly, the game format lends itself well to fan votes, from power plays to bowling changes, there is much more to be influenced than in football.


So, while collectables are a start, it appears that we both believe there is the potential for lot more opportunity for cricket to embrace Web3.

📚 Further Reading

  • Dapper Labs plans to expand sports portfolio following latest investment round - SportBusiness

  • CWI unveils Fancraze and Crictos.com as new Test & NFT partners of the West Indies - CricExec

 

WEEKLY ROUND UP

Sponsorship

  • Chelsea’s shirt sponsor Three has suspended its deal with the club after owner Roman Abramovich was sanctioned by the British government.

Betting

  • Genius Sports has reported revenue of $262.7m (£200.5m/€238.8m) in its full year 2021 results, but net losses and operating expenses, particularly stock-based costs, also grew.

Governance

  • Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association agreed to a new collective bargaining agreement on Thursday after more than three months of acrimonious negotiation that forced the postponement of the 2022 season.

Sponsorship

  • Former Haas sponsor Uralkali has criticised the team for terminating their deal over what it described as political reasons and is demanding the money it paid is refunded.

Media

  • MLB and Apple have agreed to an $85 million streaming deal for 'Friday Night Baseball'. It's the first foray into live sports for Apple.

Investment

  • 777 Partners has added another football club to its portfolio by agreeing a takeover of Standard Liège, stating it was attracted to the Belgian club’s ‘strong and international brand’.

 

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