ESPN Steps into NFT Arena with Tom Brady’s Autograph
ESPN’s announced its first-ever NFT collection with Autograph, Tom Brady’s Web3 company. The limited-run collection is inspired by Man in the Arena. Dropped to the DraftKings marketplace on Wednesday, the collection includes three Brady ESPN magazine covers as well as 50 NFTs digitally signed by the future Hall of Fame quarterback. Man in the Arena aired on ESPN+ from November to January and chronicled Brady’s unprecedented 10 Super Bowl appearances, resulting in an all-time leading seven championships. Additionally, Brady recently purchased Bored Ape #3667 for 133 Ethereum ($430,000).
Fanatics Raises $1.5B, Nets $27B Valuation
Fanatics is on the rise once again. The company has secured contracts with the NFLPA, MLB, and Paris Saint Germain among many, many others. In its most recent funding round, raising an additional $1.5 billion from a wide range of investors at a $27 billion valuation. The NFL led the round with a $320 million investment.
WNBA Doc “144,” Chiney Ogwumike Nominated for Sports Emmy
The WNBA is so important. The league celebrated its 25th season last year in various ways, including teaming up with ESPN for the documentary 144 documenting the athletes’ feats both on and off of the court. Now the film – and its producers, which includes Chiney Ogwumike – is nominated for a Sports Emmy. It is up against LFG, The Alpinist, and Sir Alex Ferguson: Never Give In.
Bills Lock up Stefon Diggs on 4-Year, $104 Million Extension
Stefon Diggs is reaping the benefits of the historic market for wide receivers this NFL offseason. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Buffalo Bills have inked Diggs to a four-year, $104 million extension, including $70 million guaranteed, that ups his overall contract value to $124.1 million through 2027. The guaranteed money slots between Tyreek Hill’s league-most $72.2 million with the Miami Dolphins and Davante Adams’ $65 million with the Las Vegas Raiders. Diggs was traded by the Minnesota Vikings to Buffalo in March 2020. The All-Pro led all receivers in 2020 with 127 catches for 1,535 yards. He has four-straight seasons with at least 1,000 yards receiving.
Lisa Leslie Unveils NFT with LootMogul
LootMogul named Lisa Leslie as a brand ambassador and business partner in late March. On Wednesday, the three-time WNBA MVP shared her first limited edition founder series NFTs on the multiverse blockchain gaming platform, “with exclusive metaverse and IRL benefits.” Collectors of the NFT will unlock five utilities, as listed on OpenSea, including early access to LootMogul tokens upcoming presale and access to surprise LootMogul NFT exclusive airdrops.
Steven Soderbergh Teams with Blockchain-based Decentralized Pictures
Oscar-winning director Steven Soderbergh is putting $300,000 toward the future of film through his production company Extension 765, housed on the blockchain-based nonprofit Decentralized Pictures. Named The Andrews/Bernard Award, the grant “will support multiple filmmakers with finishing funds for English-language fiction features or shorts,” according to IndieWire. Decentralized Pictures launched last year with an aim to support indie filmmakers in underserved, underprivileged communities.
The Weeknd Replaces Kanye West at Coachella
Well, that was fast. No more than 24 hours after Ye pulled from his Sunday headlining set at Coachella for reasons undisclosed, the festival replaced him with The Weeknd and Swedish House Mafia. The tag-team headliners will handle April 17 and April 24, while other headliners remain in place from the original lineup: Harry Styles (April 15, 22) and Billie Eilish (16, 23). This will mark the first Coachella since 2019, and as ever, the festival will take place in Indio, California. The Weeknd most recently dropped his Dawn FM album on Jan. 7, while Swedish House Mafia’s next album Paradise Again is fittingly expected April 15.
Bad Bunny Breaks Latin Touring Record
Bad Bunny topped the Billboard Hot 100 in 2018 alongside Cardi B and J Balvin with “I Like It,” and there has been plenty to like about the Puerto Rican multi-hyphenate star’s world-beating career since then. According to Billboard Boxscore, Bad Bunny’s El Ultimo Tour del Mundo grossed $116.8 million from 575,000 tickets sold across 35 shows in February and March — the highest-grossing tour for a Latin artist since Billboard Boxscore began tracking such numbers over 30 years ago. The tour is in support of Bad Bunny’s third studio album by the same name, released back in November 2020. The 28-year-old will start a new stadium tour — accurately named World’s Hottest Tour — this August.