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Why are the players talking to Ibai?

Sports media is shifting away from institutions and towards personalities. Twitch streamer Ibai Llanos' interview with Leo Messi is the most damning evidence so far.

Photo Source: Twitter/ @TotalBarca
Following Leo Messi’s move from Barcelona to Paris, there was a significant signal change in the sports broadcasting world. The six-time Ballon d’Or winner’s first interview, the kind of prestigious event usually sold to the highest bidder, was instead streamed on Twitch by Ibai Llanos, a Spanish gaming personality.
Llanos has accumulated over 7 million Twitch followers since he started out streaming himself playing video games with his friends at home. He even attended Messi’s leaving dinner in Barcelona, following an invitation to attend from Sergio Aguero. However, it was only last year that Llanos turned into a mainstream cultural phenomenon.
As Spain went into lockdown, Llanos, who was creating content for G2 Esports, announced plans to host a virtual LaLiga tournament. In doing so he discovered several high-profile footballers ranked among his fans. He promptly invited them to play video games with him live on his channel, leading to further introductions. 
The fact that Llanos, a 26-year-old streamer, has been able to attract the likes of Sergio Ramos, and Gerard Pique has not gone down well with some traditional journalists. ESPN’s Gustavo Lopez has rallied against the ease with which Llanos has become major competition for traditional media, “Why are the players talking to Ibai? This makes me nervous.”
Lopez is right to be nervous. Sports viewing is shifting steadily onto streaming platforms, and even overtaking traditional broadcast in regions such as the Asia Pacific. With this, we are also seeing a shift in the power dynamic from institution to individual – perfectly personified by Llanos.
Photo Source: GIPHY


According to a report in Digiday this week, Copa90 is repositioning itself around the creator economy. As part of the plans, Tom Thirlwall, Copa90’s CEO, has announced plans to move the business into the crypto space. 

Those efforts will be led by Petrit Berisha, who joined Copa90 earlier this summer as Copa90’s first head of crypto media. “His focus is to help us establish a hypothesis as to how we’ll able to tokenize our community through crypto technology and explore how we use blockchain to further unite and reward our fans,” said Thirlwall. 

Commenting on the article on LinkedIn, Cristian Nyari, Head of Global Strategy & Partnerships at DAZN Group, commented that he thinks, "we'll see a lot of sports media brands, especially in niche categories, that built social audiences in the Web 2 era now pivot to creator-economy-driven business models."

To do so, Nyari believes they will leverage, "expertise and experience around building and engaging communities rather than just selling them." 

It comes in the same week that Twitter added support for Bitcoin tipping in its recently launched “Tip Jar” feature. This means users will be able to add a Bitcoin Lightning wallet or Bitcoin address to accept crypto tips. Twitter also plans to support NFT authentication so creators can connect their crypto wallets to the social platform. 

What do you think? Let me know by replying to this email.
Here's a few of the top articles that I've come across this week... I hope you enjoy!
Photo Source: The Times - Fabrizio Carabelli/ Sopa/ Alamy
Broadcast and Media
  • DAZN are “really close” to buying BT Sport and the deal could be done by the end of the month, according to the FT's Murad Ahmed
  • Disney CEO Bob Chapek said that the organization will be more 'aggressive' in sports betting, namely through its ESPN property.
  • LaLigaSportsTV is set to launch a premium subscription tier costing €2.99 a month for access to properties such as futsal and handball.
Photo Source: USA Today Sports
Governance and Finance
  • From 2023, MLS and Liga MX have announced they'll expand the current League Cup to stage a month-long tournament in the summer. 
  • Sacramento Kings have confirmed private equity firm Arctos Sports Partners has acquired a minority share in the NBA franchise.
  • Genoa becomes seventh Serie A side under North American ownership as 777 Partners complete takeover at ‘US$150m’ valuation. 
Photo Source: Twitter/ @BurnleyFC
Sponsorship and Marketing
  • The UK Government could ban foreign betting firms from sponsoring professional football team's shirts as part of gambling law reform.
  • Of the $1.5bn in sponsorship revenue earned by Premier League clubs in the 2021/22 season, 81% will be recouped by the ‘big six’, according to GlobalData.
  • Manchester City and Expo 2020 Dubai agree new training kit deal, replacing Marathonbet for 2021/22 season.
Photo Source: The Conversation
Beyond Sport
In Episode 4 of Sports Pundit Explains… Sponsorship, Andy and Murray are joined by Craig Santicchia, Founder of Wolfpad Gaming and Co-Founder at Karta, to debunk myths around the commercial world of esports, why Gucci got involved with Fnatic, and advertising in the metaverse.
Quick ask. It takes me hours each week to put these newsletters together so if you enjoyed this edition, it would mean a lot to me if you could share on social or forward to friends and colleagues! Thank you. 

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