As the perfect month of February comes to an end, the Sports Business Round Up returns to see out February! This week, Saudi Arabia set off a new sporting venture with global giants Real Madrid. ONE Championship enters their next phase of international expansion. The power of golf is real. The National Basketball Association (NBA) toast to a new partnership with alcohol brands and video platform Triller, makes boxing history.
Real Madrid and Saudi Arabia discuss a ‘€150m’ sponsorship proposal
The global football giants have been offered €150m to promote Saudi’s state-owned Qiddiya project for a decade. Qiddiya is an enormous tourism venture contributing to Saudi’s Vision 2030 framework worth billions to become leaders in entertainment, arts and sport.
Details of the agreement include Madrid committing four players to endorse the project through Real’s website and social media channels. Qiddiya will also become a primary sponsor for the Spanish titan’s women’s team. Female Madrid stars could attend Saudi to enhance young female sports participation.
Thus far, Saudi has capitalised on accommodating significant sports events to promote its international sporting reputation. Now, the land of the two holy mosque’s intends to practice a more societal approach to promote its global identity.
Could ONE Championship become publicly listed in the US?
The Asian Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) Promotion are allegedly exploring options to unify with a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC), including becoming openly listed in the US. Credit Suisse and Goldman Sachs are two investment banks ONE has recruited to help prepare for a potential listing.
Currently, ONE Championship is supported by institutional investors, including US venture firm Sequoia Capital and Singapore-based holding company Temasek Holdings. The sports promotion firm is valued at around $1 billion, but 2019 saw them lose $130 million, 60%+ from the year before.
The Singapore-based MMA company plans to deliver a Stateside debut after the coronavirus pandemic. If ONE Championship makes itself public through SPAC, they’d debatably become the most prominent sports property to do it against neighbouring firms like Genius Sports Group and DraftKings.
Sportfive create a golf unit to expand its international reach
The International marketing agency has produced a worldwide golf unit to upgrade its position in the sport. Steve Loy, Sportfive’s president of global golf, will expand Sportfive’s outreach across the US and Asia. Plus, the unit will introduce new opportunities for golf rights holders and brands.
Sportfive represents an array of golfers, including Phil Mickelson, Jon Rahm, Keegan Bradley and Brandt Snedeker. Plus, the firm manages several tournaments involving The American Express and Safeway Open PGA Tour stops and Asian events such as the SMBC Singapore Open, the Australian Open and the BNI Indonesian Masters.
Sportfive’s initiative will utilise its transparent network, leadership and specialist knowledge in international sports to boost their profile as a serious global golf identity.
The NBA tap into the world of beer and spirits
The National Basketball Association (NBA) has formed a partnership with Budweiser to utilise their social channels in Brazil to stream NBA games. The language will be dubbed in Portuguese alongside the beer companies local Brazillian content, including fashion and gaming orientated shows linking with basketball.
This agreement strengthens the NBA’s identity across South America, considering the league has obtained similar provisions across Mexico, Argentina and Chile. Budweiser has also been the league’s marketing partner since 2015, solidifying its connection with Brazil.
Cognac brand, Hennessy, becomes the tournaments Official Spirits Partner, where the two parties will exclusively release limited edition bottles, work together on consumer events, localised content and yearly activations.
Specifically, the organisations activate a campaign called ‘Hennessy x NBA: Lines’ across Africa, Asia-Pacific, Europe and South America to endorse those ‘pushing the game forward. This collaboration is the NBA’s first-ever global partnership with a spirits maker that aims to inspire and unite people worldwide.
Hennessy is a trendy drink amongst urban pop culture, with many rappers referring to it in their songs. The NBA joining forces with Hennessy is also a culturally sensitive move for the league to remain relevant in the contemporary sports pop culture space.
Triller outbid Matchroom Boxing & Top Rank for Lopez vs George Kambosos
Video streaming service, Triller, outweighed promotional giants Matchroom Boxing & Top Rank with an enormous offer of $6,180,000 for this lightweight title fight. Both Lopez & Kambosos are young, unbeaten fighters who could create super-fights later in their division.
Triller made a substantial impact in boxing when they hosted the nostalgic bout between Mike Tyson & Roy Jones Jr last November, which secured over $1.6m PPV buys. US creator Jake Paul featured on the undercard and contributed to 40-50% of the total sales by brutally defeating retired NBA star Nate Robinson. Jake’s boxing journey continues under Triller’s wing as he’ll be promoted under the platform for his fight against MMA veteran Ben Askren this April.
Ryan Kavanaugh, CEO of Triller owned company, Proxima Media, mentioned Lopez vs Kambosos would likely be the co-main event on an ‘influencer-celebrity type card’ this May. The initiative behind this will be to introduced two different audiences to one boxing card, which Triller have been successful at thus far.
That’s the Sports Business Round Up done for February! Is a new chapter arising for sport in Saudi Arabia? How will ONE Championship’s public listing impact their profile in combat sport? What’s next for Sportfive’s golf unit expansion? Is there any other sports league as culturally sensitive as The NBA? Is Triller on its way to becoming new broadcasting leaders in the boxing landscape?
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