• Andy Marston

97: Phil Jones metaverse project, Barca Femini, and Gary Vee MLP investment

It's been a very busy few weeks for everyone at Antourage (myself included) as we get ready to launch the Red Lion Sports Club - a project that is ultimately a manifestation of our whitepaper.


Along with everyone at Antourage, I'm very excited - and hopefully after reading, you will be too!

 

TOP STORY

Phil Jones partners with Antourage for Metaverse-first content project

Manchester United and England defender, Phil Jones, has teamed up with Stockholm-based media platform, Antourage, to launch a new metaverse membership project: Red Lion Sports Club (RLSC). The RLSC is a unique venue in the metaverse where athletes and fans can hang-out together, watch content, play games, support great causes, enter competitions and win prizes. 4,444 algorithmically generated, metaverse-ready Red Lion NFTs will act as membership cards to the Club, granting holders access to members-only benefits, such as the to ‘The Boardroom’ - where they can vote to influence specially curated programming and suggest additional content. Content will play an important part within the project as the RLSC will activate around iconic sports events such as the NBA playoffs, golf’s British Open, and the return of the English Premier League with specially curated fan-influenced content shows released around these pinnacle moments in the sporting calendar. Using Antourage’s proprietary broadcast technology, this content will be simulcast across social channels – maximising the project’s reach and driving new audiences to the Club, whilst also enabling RLSC to host private events by streaming content (such as live player Q&As) exclusively to holders in a members-only 'Sports Bar' in the metaverse. The content will be presented by EA Sports FIFA Global Series host, Rachel Stringer, and will also feature other sporting talent set to be announced in the coming weeks and months. Content will include live virtual chat shows with sporting talent, as well as fan-influenced sporting challenges, and live Q&As. Our Take:

Ultimately, NFTs will disrupt the way that consumers access experiences online and we're only just seeing the start. NFT innovation, such as the RLSC, is now moving way beyond PFP projects. A recent report from PwC, who state that, “NFT media rights … of digital or metaverse events [are going] to propel the growth of the industry…” Ultimately, subscription as we know (i.e. when consumers put their credit card on file with a service to get access to content) is set to be replaced by NFTs that will provide this access. And this project is simply the first steps in this new direction.


📚 Further Reading

  • Phil Jones: ‘I’ll never give up. I feel like I’m still good enough’ - The Guardian

  • English footballer Phil Jones partners with Antourage to launch metaverse project and NFTs - Cryptofiles

  • Meet the NFT Subscription That Ships Free Coffee to its Members - SUBTA

 

THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK

Last week FC Barcelona Femení broke the highest attendance record at a women's club football game when they faced Real Madrid CF Femenino in the UEFA Women's Champions League. Incredibly, the Camp Nou hosted 91,553 spectators - smashing the previous record of 60,739.


Roger Mitchell, founder of Albachiara and Co-Host of award-winning podcast, Are You Not Entertained?, suggest that every football fan should reflect on this.


"Many clubs around Europe get very small crowds for the male game. Yet [almost] 100k for women's football." This perhaps signals that "The 'brand' is [now] more important than the 'gender'." i.e., the appeal to watch Barcelona, male or female, is greater than that to watch a club, male or female, outside the European elite.


"So many clubs need to go semipro amateur or disappear. It's over." Mitchell claims. "Why? Because their appeal is to a dying demographic. And they have next to no chance of attracting GenZ."


The former SPL chief executive continued, "I am frankly sick and tired of 50+ [year old] guys lecturing me about the romance of wee teams. And why we must protect and subsidise them. There are 42 professional teams in Scotland. It's a total nonsense... The country can support no more than 20. And that's a push."


Perhaps nowhere illustrates the shift towards the 'Hollywood' clubs more than Natalie Portman-backed Angel City FC - a Los Angeles-based National Women's Soccer League expansion team which has already sold nearly 16,000 season tickets ahead of it's debut season. Incidentally, 16,500 is the current average attendance in the EFL Championship this season.

📚 Further Reading

  • Study: Women’s college basketball ranks second in NIL earnings - SportsPro

  • ESPN going all-out on women's Final Four coverage - Sports Business Journal

  • “We’ve got to keep pushing forward”: Why greater media coverage of women’s sport will provide the platform for equality - SportsPro

 

WEEKLY ROUND UP

Expansion

  • Formula 1 will have a third race in the USA from next year after securing a deal for a Las Vegas Grand Prix. The 3.8-mile track will include a portion of the Nevada resort city's famous Strip.

Investment

  • Serial entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk has announced that he is to become one of four new team owners in Major League Pickleball as the league expands from eight to 12 teams for the 2022 season.

Esports

  • Usain Bolt has became a co-owner of Irish esports organisation WYLDE with the Jamaican sprinting champion set to be actively involved in efforts to grow the organisation's brand.

NFTs

  • Fnatic has launched their membership programme: "The Keys to Fnatic". As you'd expect, the 'keys' unlock access to exclusive events etc. etc. What you may not have expected though, is that they're offering them completely free - for now.

Expansion

  • Audi and Porsche likely to make entry into F1 with Audi reportedly ready to offer around €500m for McLaren and Porsche intending to establish a long-term partnership with Red Bull Racing.

Fan Tokens

  • Fan engagement platform Socios.com has signed up Argentinian soccer icon Lionel Messi as its first ever global brand ambassador in a three year deal worth a reported US$20m.

 

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