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Tom Brady-Backed Autograph NFT Platform Raises $170M

Autograph NFT drops read like a best-of list. From Tony Hawk to Simone Biles, Naomi Osaka to Gronk, millions of collectors have scooped the limited-run NFTs at record-setting rates. And the Tom Brady-backed company is only getting started, announcing on Wednesday that it had successfully completed a $170M Series B round led by Andreessen Horowitz and Kleiner Perkins. With the news, the company has also added three more people to its power-packed board, including Lightspeed’s Katie Haun, a16z’s Arianna Simpson, and Kleiner Perkins’s Ilya Fushman.

Sotheby’s to Auction 200 pairs of Virgil Abloh-designed AF1s

Starting next week, 200 pairs of the Virgil Abloh-designed Louis Vuitton x Nike Air Force 1 Low sneaker will be sold online through Sotheby’s. The event runs from Jan. 26th through Feb. 8th, with bids starting at $2,000. Sizes range from US 5 to 18, and each pair is packaged in an exclusive trunk. Proceeds from the auction will benefit Abloh’s “Post Modern” Scholarship Fund, first launched in 2020 through an initial endowment of $1 million.

Francis Ngannou Teams up with Gymshark

On Saturday at UFC 270, Francis Ngannou will walk out to the octagon for the very first time as UFC heavyweight champion for a clash with challenger Ciryl Gane. He’ll also do so for the first time as an official partner of fitness and apparel company Gymshark, which revealed its new campaign featuring “The Predator” Wednesday. It’s a rare, introspective look at the Cameroonian-born power-puncher’s journey from humble beginnings to MMA legend status — and his desire to use his growing platform to give back and strengthen communities like the one he himself came from.

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Gaming Spending Eclipses $60B in US

The last few weeks have brought major moves in the gaming space as Microsoft announced that it is set to acquire Activision Blizzard and Take-Two took over Zynga. These multi-billion dollar deals were fueled by the surging gaming industry. Market research firm NPD released a report that estimates that gaming spending in the United States surpassed the $60 billion threshold, posting an eight percent year-over-year increase. The Nintendo Switch emerged as the most popular gaming console. The number reflects hardware, content, and other relevant gaming components.

Fendi, Prada, and Gucci Get Into Blockchain Game

Crypto enthusiasts will not have to sacrifice their signature luxury accessories. Fendi announced on Wednesday that it will release a hardware wallet. The Italian luxury brand teamed up with Ledger to design two customized crypto wallets that feature Fendi’s signature “F.” The new products retail for $149, making them far more affordable than the brand’s fiat currency wallets. The news comes on the same day as adidas announced that it is pairing with Prada for its first NFT collaboration and that Gucci teamed up with SUPERPLASTIC for its “SUPERGUCCI” NFT line. 

UCLA Softball Standout Maya Brady Signs with WME Sports

Maya Brady has put together a killer campaign to kick off her UCLA career. Now, the All-American Bruin can add another item to her CV: NIL athlete represented by WME Sports, as the agency announced Wednesday. As a freshman in 2020, Brady practically tore the cover off the ball, hitting .356, slugging .699, and leading the team with seven home runs. Brady has pulled together an extensive list of accolades including 2020 Pac-12 All-Freshman Team, 2020 Softball America Freshman of the Year 2021, and 2021 NFCA First Team All-American. 

Steph and Ayesha Curry Bring Trivia Show to HBO Max

Steph Curry is having a standout season; however, his interests extend far beyond his three-point range. The Warriors star and his wife, Ayesha, will host a new game show, which is set to debut this February. “About Last Night” will have eight episodes on HBO Max and feature pairs of celebrity couples competing against one other in challenges and trivia including Zooey Deschanel and Jonathan Scott, Terry Crews and Rebecca King-Crews, and Tituss Burgess and Pablo Salinas.

Cheech and Chong Get High with Crypto Cannabis

The legendary Cheech and Chong have joined Crypto Cannabis Club. Cheech Marin purchased #2463, while Tommy Chong went with #3638. The news comes on the same day as the two announced that they are launching a line of CBD cigarettes and hemp rolling papers with Hempacco.

HBCU Legacy Bowl Inks Exclusive Zebra Tech Partnership

The HBCU Legacy Bowl has announced a multi-year partnership with Zebra Technologies Corporation, an industry leader in tracking technology. As part of the agreement, Zebra will provide RFID (radio frequency identification) player and ball tracking technology to bring player performance insights to the practices leading up to the 2023 HBCU Legacy Bowl and the game itself. Zebra will also donate to the Black College Football Hall of Fame. The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. 

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