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December 14, 2021

Warriors, FTX Strike $10M Global Rights Deal

FTX‘s sports portfolio got even deeper on Monday as it announced that it has secured a global rights deal with the Golden State Warriors. Although details of the arrangement were not released, insiders indicate that it is worth $10 million. As part of the arrangement, FTX will create a brand presence throughout the Chase Center, as well as forge relationships with the Warriors G-League affiliate and NBA 2K teams. Golden State star Steph Curry is a brand ambassador and has an equity stake in the cryptocurrency company.

Bubba Wallace, 23XI Racing Team Up with Wheaties

Wheaties is commemorating its 100th anniversary with a little help from Michael Jordan and his friends. Jordan will be featured on the box for a record 19th time with a gold foil flare. And on Tuesday, Bubba Wallace will drive the boxes to some lucky fans. Additionally, Wheaties announced that it will serve as the primary sponsor for Wallace’s No. 23 car. The sponsorship will make its debut at February’s race at the Auto Club Speedway. The news is the second major deal in as many weeks for Wallace, as McDonald’s announced last week that it will extend its partnership with the driver in the upcoming NASCAR season.

Mark Cuban, Gary Vaynerchuk Prep for Web3 with Thirdweb Investment

Mark Cuban and Gary Vaynerchuk are no strangers to getting in early on the next big thing, and these days they’re looking towards the metaverse. Cuban and Vaynerchuk announced on Monday that they participated in a $5 million funding round for Thirdweb, which provides a backbone to web3 projects, including the creation of NFTs, social tokens and currencies, and cryptocurrency marketplaces. With the funding, Thirdweb will build out its team and develop educational materials to help people make sense of the new world of the web3. 

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Nike Buys Virtual Sneaker Creator RTFKT

Nike announced the acquisition of virtual sneaker creator RTFKT on Monday. In a statement, Nike President and CEO John Donahoe noted that the acquisition will allow the legacy brand to support its athletes at “the intersection of sport, creativity, gaming, and culture.” ​​The acquisition continues Nike’s digital transformation, following the company’s collaboration in November with Roblox to create the virtual world, “NIKELAND.”

Man City’s Kevin De Bruyne Partners with AI Training App BALLN

Manchester City midfielder and Belgian National team standout Kevin De Bruyne is partnering with AI Football Application BALLN as an ambassador, the company announced on Monday. With the partnership, the two-time English Premier League Champion intends to usher in a new era in providing young soccer players with gamified AI technology to help them achieve their dreams. De Bruyne will also connect with other BALLN users through a series of social media challenges through his social media following of greater than 30 million. 

U.S. Soccer Extends CBA, Stops Allocation Payments for USWNT Players

U.S. Soccer released an official statement on Monday, which indicated that it has agreed to extend its collective bargaining agreement and “no-strike/no-lockout deal” through the end of March 2022. Additionally, after extended speculation, the statement also revealed that U.S. Soccer will no longer pay members of the USWNT to play professionally in the NWSL. With the agreement, there will be no restrictions on the league where athletes play and members of the USWNT will officially be part of the NWSLPA. Negotiations will continue, but U.S. Soccer expressed optimism that a longer-term agreement was on the horizon.

Coinbase, Xbox, & Atlantic Records Team Up for Gaming Series “The Green Room”

Atlantic Records, Xbox, and Coinbase have partnered to launch “The Green Room,” a music, gaming, and sports crossover event series in partnership with gaming giants VaynerSports, eFuse, and Aim Lab, the parties announced Monday. The series will kick off with a $20,000 Halo Infinite celebrity pro-am tournament on Wednesday, Dec. 15 at 6 p.m. EST on Atlantic’s YouTube channel. Recording artists participating in the event include Bankrol Hayden, Childish Major, Bizzy Banks, Lil Eazzyy, and Sueco.

NCAA Files Trademark for “Four it All,” Could it Signal an Impending Gender Equity Breakthrough?

With three months to go before March Madness, the NCAA is prepping for a college basketball postseason that will be under more scrutiny than any that has come before it. And as the season gets underway, the NCAA may be making other moves towards equality. Josh Gerben noted that the NCAA filed an application to trademark the phrase “FOUR IT ALL” last week. Observers hypothesize that the filing may indicate the NCAA’s efforts toward gender equity following last year’s controversy surrounding disparities in the men’s and women’s tournaments and a subsequent report revealing further ills. 

University of Oregon to Auction Jordan 8 Sneakers to Benefit Athletes

In tandem with the upstart athlete branding agency Division Street, which is helping to provide marketing muscle, design resources, and strategy in a new name, image, and likeness landscape for Oregon student-athletes, the Ducks are teaming up with StockX to auction off 100 pairs of their newest Air Jordan VIII PE. The proceeds from the auction – which went live on Monday Dec. 13 – will benefit the Ducks student-athletes. 

NWSL Dives Into Crypto in Partnership with Voyager Digital Ltd.

On Tuesday, the National Women’s Soccer League named Voyager Digital Ltd. as its first-ever cryptocurrency brokerage partner. The partnership calls for a significant amount of Voyager’s investment in the league to be used to fund individual crypto accounts for each rostered player in the NWSL. Each player will be eligible to receive an equal share of the Voyager-established NWSL players’ fund. Voyager will also provide NWSL athletes with financial education and key resources regarding cryptocurrency and blockchain technology to help develop skills for long-term financial success.

La Liga, CVC Deal Goes Through Despite Continued Resistance 

After months of negotiations, CVC Capital Partners has formally invested in La Liga. With the deal, the private equity firm will acquire an 8.2% stake in the company that owns the media rights for the league in exchange for a $2.3 billion investment. The deal was approved by 37 teams, but five – including Barcelona and Real Madrid – voted against it and have indicated that they may sue in an attempt to stop the deal. 

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