The Sports Business Weekly Wrap-up is coming at you a day later than normal but we’re still going to round up some of the big sports business news stories you missed last week. There’s a nice little mix in the stories covered this week, everything from NFTs to darts and Netflix.
Here are some of the key things that went on…
Australian Open launch ‘art balls’ NFTs
We’re starting the week off in the world of NFTs and tennis as the Australian Open. The first grand slam gets underway on January 17 and the organisers announced on Monday that they are offering fans the chance to buy NFTs (non-fungible tokens) in the form of 6,776 ‘art balls’ that will automatically update with metadata from the tournament.
Partnering with Decentraland, Run It Wild and Metakey each ball represents a 19cm by 19cm part of a tennis court. Every time a winning a shot lands in each spot during any match at the Australian Open, the relevant NFT will be updated with match and ball tracking data.
Any of the 11 championship points that land in one of the plots, the owner of that NFT will be given the tennis ball used to win that point in a display case and certificate of authenticity. There are also opportunities for NFT owners to gain limited edition wearables, merchandise and other benefits in future.
During the Australian Open, Decentraland will also be launching a metaverse experience where users will be able to look around a digital recreation of the Australian Open’s grounds, speak to players and other fans.
Craig Tiley, tournament director said “The AO has always been seen as one of the most innovative sporting events in the world and this project is just another example of our team pushing the boundaries to provide our fans with better access and engagement.”
PDC x Cazoo
This might be a first for the Sports Business Weekly Wrap-up that we’re covering the sport of darts but it’s a story that caught my eye.
The PDC (Professional Darts Corporation) has expanded its partnership with Cazoo to continue their title sponsorship of the World Darts Championship and three other events in the darts calendar.
Cazoo now sponsors the World Championship, World Cup of Darts, European Championship, Grand Slam of Darts, PDC Premier League, UK Open, Players Championship Finals and Masters. This expanded deal now also means that the total prize fund for the tour is £15 million.
Matt Porter, pDC chief executive said “Cazoo’s partnership with the PDC has already seen their brand receive huge worldwide exposure and this new multi-event deal will extend their sponsorship to four of our biggest and most prestigious events,”
The car retailer have been really aggressive over the last few years with their sponsorship in sports. Their portfolio now includes shirt sponsorships with Aston Villa and Everton in the Premier League, the EFL, the 2021 Rugby League World Cup, The Hundred (cricket), the World Snooker Tour, horse racing, events on the European Tour (golf), FishOMania and of course, darts.
Klay Thompson’s return sets record numbers
31 months is a long time to be injured and a return to the sport would generate widespread interest but the engagement numbers were shattered this week for the NBA as Klay Thompson returned to the court for the Golden State Warriors.
His return resulted in 110 million views across the NBA’s social media platforms, making it the most-viewed regular season moment. Ever.
Live viewer numbers averaged 844,000 on NBA TV, meaning it became the most-viewed regular season game since 2016. Here’s his intro to the crowd, goosebumps…
The power of players and fans being invested in their journey.
PGA Tour x Netflix
This is probably the biggest story of the week and one you probably won’t have missed but the PGA Tour linking up with Netflix to film a new docuseries across the 2022 season to follow the top players similar to the wildly successful Formula 1: Drive to Survive series.
Golf is one of my favourite sports so this news has made me ridiculously excited because having seen some of the storylines over recent seasons, I know how good this has got the potential to be.
Filming has already begun and the deal also includes covering the four major tournaments in the golf calendar. The unprecedented access that is being given by the PGA Tour and governing bodies of the major tournaments is a first in the sport.
Rick Anderson, chief media officer of the PGA Tour said “This partnership with Netflix presents the PGA Tour and the four major championships an opportunity to tap into a completely new and diverse audience. This documentary will give fans an authentic look into the real lives of our athletes, and what it’s like to win – and lose – during a season on the PGA Tour.”
If you’ve seen Drive to Survive, this needs to be added to your list when it drops.
Content you need to watch…
Raiders’ Week 18 Overtime Victory vs. Los Angeles Chargers | Sounds of the Game | Raiders | NFL
Across our socials this last week, we’ve shared a couple of pieces of content that the Las Vegas Raiders have posted. Those pieces came from their game last weekend against the Los Angeles Chargers and they’ve posted the full BTS video from the game
The Raiders don’t let sites share their YouTube content so you can access it here via this link.
‘Sounds of the Game’ is a really cool concept that takes fans behind the scenes of games but focuses on the audio. Whether you’re a fan of American football or not, give it a watch.
Thank you for reading this weeks 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.