It’s Sunday which means one thing, the Sports Business Weekly Wrap-up is back.
Last weekend was a good weekend of sport. The Monaco Grand Prix is for me, one of the most aesthetically pleasing sporting events in the world. We also saw Phil Mickelson make history as the oldest player to win a major golf championship with his victory at the PGA Championship. Weekends like the last one remind me why sports are so incredible.
Anyway, here are the biggest sports business stories from each day of the last week…
Leicester City have a new shirt sponsor
I wanted to start the week off with a bit of news that I think went under the radar with so many big sporting events happening over the weekend. Leicester City announced yesterday that they have signed a new three-year agreement with the global online trading platform FBS as its principal club partner.
Susan Whelan, Chief Executive Officer for Leicester City, said: “We are tremendously proud to be beginning this partnership with FBS, one of the most exciting and dynamic global financial services companies. Establishing key partners of this scale and ambition has always been a central part of our vision for the Club, enabling us to keep investing in improvement and growth while enhancing the Club’s profile all over the world. We are looking forward to working with FBS to bring to life our vision for the partnership to the world and our global fanbase.”
Extreme E launches Twitch channel
Extreme E, the new international off-road racing series that uses electric SUVs to race in remote parts of the world has launched a Twitch channel. Called HighVoltage, it will host behind the scenes content and run regular competitions and giveaways and give access to exclusive themed game servers for subscribers and followers.
Ali Russell, chief marketing officer at Extreme E, said: “As a championship we are targeting a younger audience, many of whom are engaged in platforms like Twitch.tv, so for Extreme E to have its own channel, HighVoltage, to engage with the demographic is fantastic.
Echoing what Ali Russell said, it’s cool to see Extreme E embracing new platforms that will help them target newer audiences. It makes a lot of sense for a sport that is big on fighting global warming to target a younger generation of fans, one that will incredibly important in the fight against climate change.
UFC x Fabacus
The Ultimate Fighting Championship is linking up with the tech startup, Fabacus to launch a global fan rewards programme. The London-based company will supply the technology required to enable fans to redeem exclusive UFC experiences, rewards and VIP content.
It’s interesting to see the UFC bringing gamification into their consumer experience.
PSG open a retail store in LA
Another thing that caught my eye on Wednesday was the news that PSG have become the first ever European club to open a permanent retail store in the US. It’s hard to believe that no club from Europe has done so before considering how well they are followed in North America. The move comes as part of the partnership that PSG have with Fanatics.
Fabien Allegre, Brand Diversification Director at Paris Saint-Germain said “During the past year, our business has grown by 49% and international markets now represent 86%. North America has become our second largest market, with an 11% share, and our latest collections have had a great success here.
Looking at those comments, it makes sense. I do wonder how long it will be before other major European clubs look to make similar moves.
Burnley x YellowHeart
There was a bit of blockchain and NFT news that caught my eye on Thursday. Now, I’m far from an expert on this sort of thing but Burnley FC have linked up with YellowHeart to explore the use of NFTS and blockchain technology for fan ticketing.
Initially trialled through the Burnley FC Women’s team, the partnership with YellowHeart – the NFT marketplace for music and ticketing – is one of the first instances of a professional European football club exploring alternative ticketing options through the blockchain, as well as engaging and connecting with fans through NFTs.
YellowHeart and Burnley FC will experiment with using NFTs as a way for fans to collect historic moments from the club’s history, reward loyal fans with special discounts and experiences and own digital collectibles dedicated to their favourite players.
Under their new owners, Burnley have been doing a lot of cool things including using AI technology to help search for new academy players. It’ll be worth keeping an eye on Burnley and what they get up to.
Will Tokyo 2020 go ahead?
I’ve seen this story pop up a few times this week but the Covid-19 situation in Japan is continuing to worsen which has resulted in a number of people calling for the upcoming Olympic Games to be postponed again.
The country has extended the state of emergency for Tokyo with less than two months to go until the Tokyo games. Overseas fans have been banned from attending but they are yet to decide if spectators will be banned altogether. Polls show that the majority of Japanese people want the the games either cancelled or postponed again, there are a number of reasons for this but the slow roll out of vaccinations is a major factor with only 2.3% of the population have been fully vaccinated.
Who knows what will happen next, who knows…
That’s the Sports Business Weekly Wrap-up done for another week, there was a good mix of things happening this week. There was quite a lot of tech talk and the story I’m really interested to see how it progresses is the Burnley and YellowHeart partnership. NFTs have seen a massive rise in interest and popularity recently so it’s not really that surprising to see clubs now taking an interest.
You can also read previous editions of the Sports Business Weekly Wrap-up here.