• Andy Marston

96: DAO ownership sets Sail, first NFT-funded motorsport team, and top Clubs to sidestep salary cap

In what is presumably a sporting first, SailGP saw its grand final over the weekend in San Francisco called off and postponed mid-race due to a whale on the course.

In another sporting first for SailGP however, they will be hoping to attract whales of a different kind...



DAO ownership in sports sets Sail with Near Protocol

SailGP and the Near Protocol are creating a decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) to enable fans to become the owners of one of their new teams.

First off, a DAO is a blockchain-based form of organization or company governed by codes, rather than leaders. Anyone who purchases the DAO’s native token has the right to vote on important matters related to the DAO. As a result, we’ve already seen Near Protocol’s native token, NEAR, trading 10% higher.

SailGP is an international sailing competition using high performance F50 foiling catamarans, where teams compete across a season of multiple grands prix around the world. Currently in Season 3, it is reported that the DAO team could join the SailGP line up as soon as Season 4 (2023).

What will this mean? Well, members of the DAO will be able to determine athlete selection, team management and team strategy. There will also be unique opportunities to own exclusive SailGP content through NFT campaigns and as part of the multi-year partnership, Near’s developers will also work on initiatives such as ticketing, app integration and gaming.

While the ground-breaking partnership is being touted as a ‘world-first’, that’s not to say others haven’t been trying.

In December, Krause House claimed it wanted to become the first virtual community to ever leverage a DAO to own a professional sports franchise – targeting the purchase of an NBA team. And more recently crypto enthusiasts aimed to raise the $4 billion required to purchase the NFL’s Denver Broncos. However, neither has succeeded yet.

Our Take:

Today, sports teams are owned by billionaires. In the future, big groups of fans will form DAOs to buy teams instead. And SailGP has (cleverly) beaten others to the punchline by being the first sports league to let this happen.

(It’s also a smart approach from Near to begin in a more niche sport such as sailing and aim to work their way up).

📚 Further Reading

  • DAOs not ready for prime-time in Big 4 sports team ownership - JohnWallStreet

  • MotorDAO deep dive: are DAOs the next big blockchain thing for sport? - Ledger Insights

  • Decentralization, DAOs and the current Web3 concerns - Cointelegraph



German GT racer Laura-Marie Geissler, creative agency Amsterdam Berlin, and NFT start-up Unblocked have partnered up to launch the first NFT-funded motorsport team. Named after the driver, herself, the LMG racing team has decided to forgo external sponsors to fund Geissler’s race season by way of NFT sales.

When asked why they turned to NFTs as a possible solution, Moritz Grub, founder and creative director of Amsterdam Berlin, said that "it's an interesting technology that isn't being used well at the moment."

Believing that most NFT PFP-based projects may be "schemes," he considers the NFT-based crowdfunding model to be an alternative to "having to behave the way my sponsors want me to behave so that my sponsorship contract gets renewed every year."

While an innovative and novel approach to be applauded, Rich Johnsonbelieves that the LMG team could go even further, “The piece missing from this example in my opinion is, ‘How do fans who crowdfund her in the early days share in her success?’”

Leaning on what Royale have done in music, for instance, imagine if a percentage of any of her winnings was set to be shared with NFT holders – or even added to a special treasury to fund special experiences and events for holders. Essentially “rewards are baked in at [certain] performance levels,” continued Johnson.

P.S. To discuss everything Sport x Web3, I've created a Telegram group (Sportsblock) with Rich which you can join via this link.

📚 Further Reading

  • Liverpool have launched their first official non-fungible token (NFT) collection; The ‘LFC Heroes Club’ - SportsPro

  • UFC Joins WWE in NFTs...Are People Buying It? - The Street

  • Bored Ape NFT start up Yuga Labs raises seed round at monster $4bn valuation - TechCrunch




  • Plans that would enable clubs to qualify for the Champions League based on historic performance and not their league position are back on the table, a year after the collapse of the European Super League.


  • The 2022 Indian Premier League (IPL) is set to generate $131m in sponsorship revenue after filling its ninth and final central sponsorship slot with grocery delivery platform.


  • Football's richest clubs are to sidestep salary caps in new cost controls imposed by UEFA which will tie spending to club revenues - increasing wealthy clubs advantages.


  • WWE and Fanatics reached a long-term partnership across e-commerce, licensed merchandise, trading cards and NFTs that will provide enhanced retail options for WWE fans.


  • The International Federation of Sport Climbing (IFSC) has signed a three-year broadcast partnership with media giant Discovery for pan-European coverage.


  • Football’s global governing body FIFA has filled all of its global partnership slots ahead of the 2022 World Cup after agreeing a new deal with QatarEnergy.


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