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January 26, 2022

FTX Reaches $8B Valuation Following $400M Series A

Cryptocurrency exchange FTX has had a wild year. With a diversified strategy that includes a major investment in sports and a deep bench of all-star partners that includes Tom Brady, Steph Curry, and David Ortiz, the company announced that it has reached an $8B valuation following the success of a $400 million Series A. With the new funds, FTX plans various areas of expansion including NFT game infrastructure and stock trading. 

Jake Paul Levels up Dana White Feud with Endeavor Investment

It’s no secret that there’s bad blood between Jake Paul and Dana White. Just last week, Paul announced that he would retire from boxing to take on a UFC career if White agreed to a laundry list of conditions, which included higher base pay and benefits for UFC fighters. The YouTube star-turned boxer took his battle one step further on Tuesday as he announced that he has invested in UFC’s parent company, Endeavor. In sharing the news, Paul cited his hopes for UFC’s future to include better fighting conditions for its athletes. 

Trading Card Authentication is eBay’s Next Big Move

The online auction site announced on Tuesday that it is extending its authentication practices for trading cards. The move signals an extension of eBay’s “Authentication Guarantee” program, and will help the company further its position in the trading card marketplace. In the first half of 2021, eBay facilitated $2 billion in trading card sales as the hobby boomed. 

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Microsoft Outpaces Projections in Q2 Earnings Report

With its earnings report in for Q2 of the fiscal year, things are looking up for the tech giant. Microsoft demonstrated earnings and revenues that outpaced projections. Although the stock initially dropped a bit, it surged after a follow-up report indicated a strong forecast for Q3. The report comes in the wake of Microsoft’s massive purchase of Activision Blizzard, which positions it to take over a major stake in the gaming industry. 

Crypto Cannabis Club Launches Own Bud

The Crypto Cannabis Club NFT community launched its own physical cannabis brand and named cannabis industry veteran Ryan Hunter as its new CEO, the company announced Wednesday. Crypto Cannabis Club is partnering with leading direct-to-consumer cannabis platform Camp Nova beginning in March, with CCC NFT holders getting discounts to start for product delivery in California. Each package of premium flower will include custom artwork from the CCC and three packages will include ownership of an “NFToker,” which has a current $800 average value, per NFT-Stats.

Sports Betting Brand Bally’s to Sell to Standard General in $2.07B Deal

The casino company jumped at the opportunity for a full buyout from existing stakeholder Standard General. The hedge fund currently owns 21% of the company and will purchase the remaining shares at a 30% premium, at $38. Bally’s portfolio includes sports betting licenses and properties in 10 states, gaming, and more. While the arrangement is not official, all signs signal that it is everything but a done deal. 

Athletes Unlimited Brokers Official Sponsorships with EY and Baden Sports

Athletes Unlimited tips off its inaugural season tonight in Las Vegas. The new women’s basketball league is just one of AU’s offerings, which also include volleyball and softball. And on Tuesday, it announced that it has two new key sponsors in its quiver, which already includes Nike, Gatorade, and Topps. EY — officially Ernst & Young, one of the “Big Four” global accounting firms — joins as an official sponsor for its basketball and volleyball leagues and Baden Sports will be the official ball partner of AU Basketball.

Meta and Overtime Elite to Bring Dunk Contest to VR

You can now get up close to the action of the dunk contest thanks to a partnership between Meta (formerly known as Facebook) and Overtime. The companies announced on Tuesday that Meta’s Quest 2 VR headset will be the official VR headset of Overtime Elite, and with that partnership will come some jaw-dropping displays. Central to the deal will be Meta Quest’s sponsorship of four of OTE’s dunk shows, two of which will be broadcast live in VR beginning Wednesday at 7 p.m. ET.

Baron Davis Soars into Web3 with Playrs

Turn2 Equity Partners and Baron Davis Enterprises are joining forces with a new holding company and Web3 venture partnership, Playrs Holdings, that will fund content creation, share resources, and maximize operational efficiencies, the companies announced Tuesday. Turn2 was founded by Houston Astros manager Dusty Baker, former New York Mets and Baltimore Orioles general manager Jim Duquette, and others who approach their business as a mix of venture and mergers and acquisitions in the realms of tech, data, media, events, and consumer products. Davis, a two-time NBA All-Star and entrepreneur, will enhance the joint venture’s access to athletes, entertainers, and Web3 and crypto technology.

Skechers Shapes Up the Metaverse

The metaverse will not be short on footwear options. Skechers became the most recent company to indicate that it is making moves towards the metaverse, as it filed eight trademarks that suggest moves into virtual goods and gamified online communities. The filings include Skechers’ name, logos, and other phrases the company uses, including “Twinkle Toes,” “Arch Fit,” “Go Walk,” and “Bobs.” The company has not made an official announcement of its metaverse plans at this time. 

Kentucky Shaedon Sharpe Inks NIL Deal with SoleSavy

The Canadian five-star stud shooting guard has just announced an NIL partnership with community-oriented sneaker startup SoleSavy. By signing the 18-year-old Sharpe, SoleSavy looks to drive a deeper connection with the new era of sneakerhead through person-to-person interaction, storytelling, and appreciation for footwear that goes beyond price tag and hype.

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