Ashleigh Barty Retires from Tennis at 25
For Ash Barty, winning the Australian Open on her home turf reflected the pinnacle of her tennis dreams. On Tuesday evening, the 25-year-old shocked the sporting world, announcing her retirement from the sport. She took to Instagram to share the news, saying, “I’m so ready and I just know at the moment, in my heart for me as a person, this is right.” Barty steps back from the sport at the No. 1 spot and having locked the Australian Open victory as her last endeavor on the court.
NFL Expands Crypto and Blockchain Possibilities
The NFL is finally starting to make moves towards Web3. After establishing stark rules around the ways in which teams could interact with crypto and the blockchain, which included both product development and sponsorship opportunities, the shield relaxed its rules on Tuesday. The new rules will allow crypto sponsorships, but deals will be maxed out at three years to allow for the evolution that is sure to come. It also permits NFTs and NFT companies to establish partnerships with teams and individuals, but continues to restrict the use of NFL branding. This is likely due to the league’s existing deal with Dapper Labs and the creation of its NFL All Day collection.
Yuga Labs Prepares to Reimagine the Metaverse with $450M Fundraise
From Rolling Stone to the background of a Super Bowl commercial, Bored Apes are lurking everywhere these days. And after last week’s launch of its own cryptocurrency, ApeCoin, the NFT collection and its founding company are making moves to continue to takeover. Yuga Labs closed a $450 million funding round at a $4 billion valuation led by Andreessen Horowitz to build out its flagship metaverse project, Otherside, and develop NFT-focused games as part of the ever-expanding “Yugaverse.” The investors included Shaq, Snoop Dogg, Google, adidas, and many more. A leaked deck from the company reveals that the project is setting out to enhance the metaverse experience as we know it. Additionally, it has indicated that metaverse offerings will be opened up to individuals who do not own a coveted ape.
Justin Bieber Collabs with Maple Leafs for Coveted Jersey Drop
Bieber fever is on ice. Justin Bieber and his favorite NHL team, the Toronto Maple Leafs, have teamed up on the first reversible jersey in North American pro sports history. The collab — with the Biebs’ drew house and adidas — will be worn by the Leafs on March 23. The jerseys went for $180 and an initial drop sold out immediately; however, fans will be able to purchase them onsite at tonight’s game. The collab was first teased back in September, but this was the first actual drop of merch.
Crypto.com Kicks Off Countdown to the FIFA World Cup with Sponsorship
The FIFA World Cup may not start until November, but the excitement to the event is already building. As Qatar prepares for the influx of fans from around the world, the event announced its newest sponsor on Wednesday. Crypto.com will team up with FIFA for various activations surrounding the event. It will also leverage the opportunity as a chance to educate fans about cryptocurrency. This is just the most recent addition to crypto.com’s deep portfolio of sports sponsorships, which also includes motorsports, MMA, and the naming rights for the home of the L.A. Lakers.
Adidas Lays Foundation for Equity with Groundbreaking NIL Deal
The three stripes are helping nudge the uncertain NIL landscape towards a more equitable future, it announced on Wednesday. Adidas, which outfits 109 Division I universities, has announced an NIL program that will be available to every eligible student-athlete at each of its D-I schools. That means every sport, men’s or women’s, totaling 50,000 athletes across 23 sports. The program will roll out at Power 5 schools and HBCUs and athletes will have a chance to become paid affiliate brand ambassadors for adidas. It is expected to be available to all eligible athletes by April 2023.
Kid Cudi Announces His Directorial Debut, Steps Out for Louis Vuitton
Ever since Day n’ Nite took over early-generation iPods in 2008, Kid Cudi has been everywhere. From the sleeper hit series How to Make it in America to countless albums and collabs, Cudder is a cultural juggernaut who gifts his fans with endless quality content. On Tuesday, he announced the next line item on his resume as he confirmed that he will direct a new film project Teddy for Netflix, which will be produced by JAY-Z, LeBron James, and others. Additionally, he stepped out as the newest face of Louis Vuitton, modeling as part of their new LV Volt line of bracelets.
NFL Taps Athlete-owned Status Pro for First-ever VR Gaming Experience
On Wednesday, the NFL and StatusPRO announced a joint partnership to bring NFL-licensed, virtual reality-driven gaming to fans. StatusPRO is a sports tech and gaming company that uses real-time player data to create authentic extended reality experiences. The company was founded by former football players Troy Jones and Andrew “Hawk” Hawkins and employs former athletes in its U.S. offices. The company completed a successful funding round in Nov 2021, which attracted an all-star bench of investors, including Naomi Osaka, LeBron James, Maverick Carter, Drake, and Jimmy Iovine.
IFPI Global Music Report Reveals $25.9B in Revenues
The music industry is alive and well. A report from the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) revealed that the music industry accumulated $25.9 billion in revenues in 2021, resulting in 18.5% recorded music market growth. Streaming services rose as a big winner, netting $12.3 billion in revenue, a 22% increase from the previous year, and 523 million subscribers. Adele and The Weeknd rose to the top of the charts for the biggest album and single sales, respectively.