The Sports Business Weekly Wrap-up is back once again to try and make sense of some of the things that have gone on in the world of sports business. On what has been a wild afternoon in the world of Formula One, here are some of the biggest sports business news stories you may have missed from the last week…
World Athletics Championships x BBC
A story that caught my eye early in the week was news that the BBC will show the next five World Athletics Championships after agreeing a new multi-year partnership with World Athletics.
The new deal also covers three World Indoor Championships, including Glasgow in 2024. Barbara Slater, director of BBC Sport said “It’s fantastic news that the BBC will deliver these world-class athletics events, free to air to UK audiences. With so much UK talent emerging and athletes winning medals on the world and Olympics stage, the next few years are set to be an incredibly exciting time for the sport.”.
The BBC has long been synonymous with athletics events so it is no surprise to see this partnership continue.
Arsenal Women x Lavazza
A bit of sponsorship news that I thought was interesting on Tuesday was the announcement that Lavazza, the Italian coffee maker has extended and expanded its partnership with Arsenal to include their women’s team.
Arsenal and Lavazza have been in a partnership since 2018 and the new deal will see the coffee company be the exclusive coffee supplier to both the men’s and women’s home games at the Emirates Stadium. It’ll be available in approximately 150 hospitality boxes with their Kafa Forest Coffee brand being served in the VIP and player lounges as well as key points of sale around the stadium.
Pietro Mazzà, Lavazza’s regional director for the UK and Nordics and general manager of Lavazza UK said “Since 2017, Lavazza has been working to support the 17 goals set by the UN, this partnership showcases our commitment to supporting goal number five, which is focused on gender equality, working to empower all women and girls.”
It’s always seemed a bit odd to me that not all sponsorship deals with football clubs cover all parts and teams of the club but it is great to see both Lavazza and Arsenal take this important step.
Mercedes-AMG drop Kingspan deal
Wednesday was another sponsorship story but a little different this time as it was actually a story about a sponsor being dropped as opposed to a new deal being signed. At the beginning of this month, Mercedes-AMG announced that Kingspan had partnered with the Formula One for the final two races of the season with their branding set to appear on the car in a deal worth a reported £4 million.
Now, this announcement received backlash because Kingspan are involved in the ongoing public inquiry into the Grenfell Tower tragedy where 72 people lost their lives in a fire. The fire had spread rapidly because of the unsafe cladding used on the building. Some of this cladding was provided by, you guessed it, Kingspan.
After consultations between Toto Wolff, Kingspan, the UK government and survivors of the Grenfell Tower tragedy, the decision was made to mutually end the partnership. The right move.
New York Mets have a facial recognition partner
Something else that caught my eye on Wednesday was news that the New York Mets are going to start using facial recognition at Citi Field ballpark. This will begin with facial ticketing and facial access for staff and vendors.
Beginning when the 2022 season kicks off, Citi Field will have “Mets Entry Express’ lanes at all entrances and at entrances to their premium seating club areas. They have run a pilot for this already in the second half of last season and saw good results. The aim for these express lanes is to enable a quicker entry process for spectators.
It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out and in what other situations/sports this technology could be used in. However, I’m not sure how this will work with people who sell their tickets last minute to someone else, assuming the ticket is linked to that persons face…
NHL x Forbes
According to Forbes, the average team value in the NHL has risen by 32% with the average now sat at $865 million. Although the pandemic has lingered, the league has responded well with the 32% rise in value the biggest since 2013 when the value rose 50%.
The New York Rangers top the list once again for the seventh year in a row but this time around they have become the first NHL team to surpass a $2 billion valuation.
Out of the 32 teams in the league, the Arizona Coyotes are ranked lowest with a valuation of $400 million. What I find interesting though is the difference in value between the lowest ranked and highest ranked team is much less than say the Premier League for example.
Considering that the pandemic is still very prevalent and US sport has been hit hard by it with fans being away from their teams for quite a while until this season, the bounce back by NHL teams has been impressive.
Analysis from BBC News published on Friday estimates that football clubs have made hundreds of millions of pounds from crypto “fan tokens”. Those tokens are the ones that fans can purchase in order to redeem perks from their respective clubs, including some real-world perks.
There are 24 clubs across the five major European leagues that have fan tokens, including eight sides in the Premier League. Most of these clubs are signed up with a company called Socios where fans can purchase these tokens.
Socios told the BBC that they had sold between $270m-$300m worth of coins through its app, although they would not divulge how much of that money goes directly to the clubs.
There are mixed feelings on “fan tokens” and how they are being used for “fan engagement”. There’s a lot to digest on this topic so if you want to read more, you can find the full BBC article here.
Content you need to watch
There are two documentaries I’ve been watching over the last week which I think are well worth a watch. Also, after today’s result in the final Formula One race in Abu Dhabi I think we can all agree that the next series of Drive to Survive on Netflix is going to be a good watch…
Bayern Munich: Behind the Legend
Amazon Prime take us behind the scenes of Bayern Munich. Technically, it isn’t part of the ‘All or Nothing’ series but it is basically one. It follows the club through the 2020-21 season and the transition from Hansi Flick to Julian Nagelsmann as manager. Well worth a watch.
All or Nothing: Juventus
Following the Old Lady through the 2020-21 season, Amazon take us behind the scenes at Juventus and Andrea Pirlo’s time as manager.
Thanks for reading this edition of the Sports Business Weekly Wrap-up. If there are any sports business news stories we may have missed this week then make sure you hit us up on Twitter @BehindSport! If you want to read previous editions you can click here.