Another week done and another week closer to Christmas… A terrifying thought that 2021 is almost done, I know. There was plenty going on in the world of sports business this week so we will might as jump straight in to it. Here are the latest sports business news stories you may have missed…
Coca-Cola x BodyArmor
Starting the week off with an investment story from across the pond as it was announced that Coca-Cola has acquired full control of BodyArmor for just over £4.1 billion. The American sports drink company has been the centre of takeover rumours since February.
Coca-Cola originally invested $300m back in 2018, which saw BodyArmor valued at $2bn, the full acquiring of control by the drinks giant now means that the company is valued at roughly $8bn. Famously, the late Kobe Bryant was both a sponsored athlete and investor in BodyArmor. Their partnerships also include the US Open tennis grand slam, the MLS, the Drone Racing League and the UFC.
Alfredo Rivera, president of the Coca-Cola North America said “We’re excited to bring BodyArmor into The Coca-Cola Company and work with Mike Repole and his leadership team on the next stage of growth.”
It makes a lot of sense for Coca-Cola to make an acquisition like this considering their biggest rivals, Pepsi, own Gatorade which holds a big share of the market.
Blatter and Platini charged with fraud
Former presidents of FIFA and UEFA, Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini have been charged with fraud by Swiss prosecutors in a long-running case.
This case has been open for 6 years and relates to a payment made by FIFA to Platini in 2011 when Blatter was campaigning to be re-elected as president but faced competition from Mohamed Bin Hammam. Platini was seen to have a lot of influence over European voters. The pair have always claimed there was a verbal agreement for the payment and everything was legitimate.
Legitimate or not, the duo have been indicted by the Attorney General of Switzerland and will go on trial at the Federal Criminal Court in Bellinzona in Switzerland.
I’ve given a very brief overview there but if you want to read more about the whole thing, click here.
‘Bundesliga Pass’ ready to go
The Bundesliga have a direct-to-consumer product ready and waiting to go according to their the DFl Digital Sports chief executive, Andreas Heyden. This was first announced in 2019 but the pandemic meant it was put on to the shelf.
The OTT service has a mobile and paid content focus and could potentially act as a competitor to traditional broadcast deals in future. Heyden explained that the Bundesliga decides on each market individually and bases it on an economic decision but the next cycle may be the right time to roll out the DTC product.
“We always have to weigh the mix of revenue potential and risk of execution,”
A custom built DTC consumer platform certainly gives the Bundesliga an advantage and bargaining power when it comes to the next cycle of broadcast rights. It also allows them potential access to a wider audience further expanding the reach the league has across the globe.
UFC x Crypto.com deal expands to NFTs
The UFC has been partnered with Crypto.com since July but that deal has now been expanded to include an exclusive line of NFTs (non-fungible tokens).
Initially, the partnership saw Crypto.com named the UFC’s first-ever fight kit partner with CNBC saying that this deal was worth $175m over 10 years. That deal will now see the crypto company offer a wider variety of digital collectibles. This includes unique fighter collections, fight night artwork, event posters, championship belts, avatars, artist collaborations, mystery boxes and athlete profiles. UFC 268, which took place last night in Madison Square Garden was the first event which will see the NFTs offered to fans.
Tracey Bleczinski, the UFC’s senior vice president of global consumer products said “Crypto.com is an amazing partner and it speaks volumes about their ingenuity, foresight, and marketplace leadership that we are already expanding our relationship after only a few months,”
The UFC is one of the fastest growing sports in the world and with the surge in popularity of NFTs and the crypto space, an expansion on this partnership is really a no-brainer. I’m no expert when it comes to crypto or NFTs but deep down I know it is going to be huge and part of web3 so if I were you, I would start learning as much as possible. This is only the beginning.
WSL surging in popularity
The growth of women’s football continues as the WSL is set to enter the UK’s top four domestic sports leagues when it comes to viewership.
The new broadcast deals with BBC and Sky which we covered earlier this year could see the Women’s Super League attract a total season audience of 14.5 million in the UK according to Nielsen Sports. At the moment, they are seeing an average of 114,000 viewers per match day on Sky Sports. Live games on BBC have averaged 501,000.
As long as these numbers hold for the rest of the season, the WSL is on track to surpass Premiership Rugby, rugby league’s Super League, the women’s Hundred and Super League Netball. You can find more out here.
Everything is looking up for women’s sport and it is fantastic to see.
A bit of classic bit of sponsorship renewal news to finish the week off as the FA announced on Friday that they have expanded the title sponsorship of the FA Cup with Emirates for another three years.
Emirates have been the title sponsor since 2015 with this being the second three-year extension since then. The competition provides great exposure for Emirates with over 100 million domestic viewers tuning in to watch the competition last year alone.
Marzena Bogdanowicz, the FA’s interim head of partnerships said “Over the past six seasons, the combination of such a recognisable brand and the world’s most historic cup competition contributed towards significant investment back into football and allowed us to reach even more fans than ever before,”
That’s the Sports Business Weekly Wrap-up done for another week, there’s a fair old bit going on as we head towards the end of the year. I’m really excited to see where the UFC and Crypto.com can take their partnership as that space is so interesting and filled with so much potential.
Content you may have missed
Following on from last week, I wanted to drop a few more links to content I’ve watched this week which I think is worth sharing. There’s less of a YouTube focus this week but here’s some of the good things I’ve watched.
Robbie Savage: Making Macclesfield FC
This is great little documentary that takes you behind the scenes of Macclesfield FC after Rob Smethurst and Robbie Savage bought the club last year when Macclesfield Town FC went under. You can watch the documentary by clicking here.
Markus Eder’s The Ultimate Run – The Most Insane Ski Run Ever Imagined
Red Bull are always bringing the most insane things to the table when it comes to content and this is no different. Whether you like skiing or not, watch this. It had me fixated for the whole video. One suggestion, whatever you’re watching it on, make it full screen.
All or Nothing: Toronto Maple Leafs
The All or Nothing series is great no matter which one you watch but the latest one dives in to a completely new sport that they haven’t covered before. The latest series follows the Toronto Maple Leafs during the 2020/21 season and their quest for a Stanley Cup. Considering it’s a sport I don’t think I’ve ever watched, it was really enjoyable and a great gateway to the sport of Ice Hockey. You’ll need an Amazon Prime account to watch but click here to check out the series.
If there are any sports business news stories we may have missed this week then make sure you hit us up on Twitter @BehindSport!
Thanks for reading the Sports Business Weekly Wrap-up, if you want to read previous editions you can click here.