• Andy Marston

99: LA Rams make metaverse move, Verstappen goes D2C, and Brady v Mahomes to face-off in 'The Match'

Here's hoping everyone had a lovely Easter Weekend... And if you didn't, you at least hopefully went better than poor Carlos Brathwaite.


The T20 World Cup winner made his club debut for local Birmingham cricket side, Knowle and Dorridge CC, where he got out for a duck and had his car stolen. Luckily he was able to see the funny side, promoting jokes on Twitter at his own expense. It always pays to be positive!

 

TOP STORY

LA Rams make a move into the Metaverse

The Super Bowl LVI Champion Los Angeles Rams have announced the launch of a year-round virtual venue to provide innovative opportunities for fans, corporate partners and other stakeholders to engage with the team. The Virtual Rams House, the first virtual venue in the sports industry, was built by 6Connex, a leading provider of event technology platforms worldwide.


The virtual environment will be the setting for the Rams first End of the Season Summit, an event which will feature Rams executives and welcome season ticket holders for a recap of the previous season and discussing offseason plans and expectations for the upcoming 2022 season.


The Virtual Rams House allows fans to connect with each other via community chats on gamedays and beyond, and debate on discussion boards. Rams Season Ticket Members will be able to connect specifically with other Members in their seating section, creating communities within the community.


Executives boast that the 6Connex-powered environment will allow fans to stay connected with the Rams year-round, providing unique content around various NFL tentpole moments and community-focused events. In addition, Rams partners can leverage the Virtual Rams House to engage with fans in unique ways.


While this is a first-of-its-kind to launch within the sports industry, they aren’t the only ones looking to the metaverse to engage with fans. Manchester City announced back in February that they had begun the preliminary phases of constructing a replica of the Etihad Stadium in the metaverse. From this virtual venue, viewers will be able to take part in live and recorded matches from all around the world.


Our Take:


As sports teams and franchises continue to become more global, this move to create a virtual venue could become increasingly widespread among rightsholders that want to be able to cater beyond the city limits. The virtual venue allows fans of the Rams (and soon Manchester City) from all over the world, to congregate within a shared space.


Beyond reaching a global audience, the metaverse also provides an interesting opportunity for any sports organisations that have natural no home venue. For instance, fans of a road cycling team such as INEOS Grenadiers - who coincidentally won the one-day classic Paris-Roubaix this past weekend.


p.s. There's also the case of appealing to new demographics, too... (see UEFA's recent partnership with Roblox).


📚 Further Reading

  • Lars Rensing: The metaverse can provide sports fans with ‘a new stage of innovation’ - Insider Sport

  • UEFA enters Roblox metaverse with one goal—to get more kids playing soccer - AdWeek

  • In the Metaverse, live concerts hold more appeal than live sports and shopping - Morning Consult

 

THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK

Max Verstappen has announced the launch of Verstappen.com, the official platform combining all the content, fan engagement, and commercial activities around the current Formula 1 champion.


In addition to the official Verstappen shop and Verstappen travel, Verstappen.com is branded as, "the number one destination for everyone who is interested in Max Verstappen and racing in general and is fuelled by the passion for racing that Max Verstappen has."


Colin Lewis says that it is interesting, "How certain sports people are 'bypassing' standard channels to go 'direct' to the consumer to sell merchandise and deliver content."


"This sort of DTC model that combines eCommerce in the form of merchandise, travel, and the sport in general is something [that] will go exponential over the next few years."


This comes as athletes, teams, and leagues wake up to the realisation (re: Barcelona & Spotify) that many of them know little about their fans and own almost none of the data. As a result, the social platforms are in charge and calling the shots.


As Johan Junker, CEO at Antourage, has previously written, "The significance of owning your audience becomes incredibly obvious when you juxtapose the value of Manchester United versus TikTok. The Red Devils’ estimated $4.65 billion valuation, despite being the highest in the Premier League, pales into insignificance when contrasted with TikTok creator ByteDance, which hit a value of $425 billion for new private equity investors recently."


"Research conducted by global market agency, Kantar, estimates United have a worldwide fan and follower base of 1.1 billion. This much more closely matched to TikTok's parent, ByteDance (who have logged 1.9 billion users across their vast array of services) than their valuations would suggest."

📚 Further Reading

  • How should smaller properties cope with the shrinking sports media pie? - Sports Business Journal

  • Fifa+ OTT platform to air 40,000 live matches a year - SportsPro

  • Social media reacts to unique QR code jerseys for UCF's spring game - Saturday Tradition

 

WEEKLY ROUND UP

Investment

  • The Chelsea sale is down to three bidders with all expected to top $4 billion, which would make it the most expensive price ever paid for a sports team.

Entertainment

  • Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers team up for Golf ‘Match’ against Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen as the celebrity game run by Turner Sports ditches the pros.

Doping

  • British football's drug problem: 88 players return positive test samples, 15 in the Premier League with none having received a ban as of yet.

Sponsorship

  • Ligue 1 leaders Paris Saint-Germain have announced sneaker marketplace Goat as their new sleeve sponsor. The deal is worth a reported €50 million over three years.

Sponsorship

  • Haas F1 has told former title sponsor Uralkali that it will not refund the €12m paid by the Russian fertiliser company before Haas terminated the contract in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

NFTs

  • Autograph, the Web3 brand co-founded by Tom Brady, has announced anexclusive deal with Penske Entertainment to leverage IP from NTT INDYCAR SERIES, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and Team Penske.

 

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