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It's been a torrid couple of days for the Glazers. After seeing Manchester United get demolished by Liverpool 5-0 at Old Trafford on Sunday, the family were then blown out of the water by CVC and Sanjiv Goenka in their bids for one of the two new IPL franchises, Ahmedabad and Lucknow, in Dubai yesterday evening. Let's hope you're all enjoying a better start to the week! 

The future of NFTs in sport.

Over the past year, dozens of teams, leagues, and athletes have minted their own NFT collections with varying levels of success. NBA Top Shot sold $500 million worth of NBA history, Formula 1 sold digital collectible car components, while WWE was… less popular.
Looking at these examples, we can safely assume that reputation and scarcity has played a big factor. If the basketball clips sold by Dapper Labs weren’t officially endorsed by the NBA, they wouldn’t be as valuable. Likewise, the scarce quantity of the drops has led to irrational behaviour and speculation. 
However, with many of the projects we’ve seen in the sports industry to-date, there’s been a lack of utility. Except for the likes of Sorare and Animoca Brands, many NFT collections have failed to consider a use case. 
As argued by Samuel Huber in this article for Forbes, “to truly emerge into the mainstream, NFTs need to prove their utility beyond pure collectible and speculative value.”
The answer to this utility layer, Huber believes, is hiding in plain sight, with countless users ready to engage in NFT gaming – quite possibly the next phase in the NFT revolution. As such, we’ve recently seen NBA player-backed Chibi Dinos partner with GameOn in a ‘first of its kind gamification.’
Taking this utility layer a step further, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has invested in Alethea AI, a company that is “wrapping avatars in AI that animates them, giving them conversation skills and knowledge,” transitioning NFTs to iNFTs (intelligent NFTs), which become something like chatbots that can be owned, trained, or sold.
Our Take:
Whether this catches on in the short run, rightsholders should consider this move to “utility-first” when considering which NFT projects to commit to going forward. 
📚 Further Reading

  • A beginners guide to multiverse NFTs - Leeway Hertz
  • ViacomCBS gets into NFTs via a partnership with Recur - TechCrunch
  • Pro sports leagues no longer resisting NFTs: Dapper Labs - CoinTelegraph
  • Bored Ape Yacht Club NFT makers eye expansion into film, TV and music - Decrypt
  • GreenPark Sports raises US$31m to accelerate metaverse vision ahead of NFT launch - SportsPro
The United States has thrown its hat into the ring as a potential host for the men's Rugby World Cup in 2027 or 2031, as well as the women's tournament in 2029.

Rugby's premier men's international tournament has never been held in the Americas, but organisers behind the World Cup bid are "confident" in the country's capacity to break the mould.

New RFU chairman, Tom Ilube, confirmed in September England 's intent to host the 2031 competition, while Australia and Russia are considered the frontrunners for 2027.

For Richie Metcalfe, a former professional rugby player and now a Senior Project Manager at Axiom Project Services, believes that if it is a decision between England and the US for 2031, it has to be the latter.

“Another World Cup in England is doing nothing for the global game. We’ll be thrown into another cycle stuck in the echo chamber,"

The US have put forward an ambitious plan to stage the biggest RWC ever – selling more than 3m tickets with every game attracting 50k +, move the tournament dates, harness NFL backing, and fund it with private equity.

"Sport in the USA is proper business, ruthless in fact. Add private equity into the mix and you’ve got a catalyst for huge growth,” Metcalfe continued.

What do you think? Let me know by replying to this email.
📚 Further Reading

Private Equity in Sport
  • LaLiga president Javier Tebas on CVC, the European Super League and an evolving media strategy - SportsPro
  • CVC and Sanjiv Goenka to pay $1.7bn for new IPL cricket teams - Financial Times*
  • Private Equity Eyes France for Latest Bet in European Sport - Bloomberg
  • Endeavor, Silver Lake looking to buy Minor League Baseball teams: Sources - The Athletic*
  • Why athletics needs a silver bullet in the form of private investment - City AM
  • ELEVEN and OneFootball have struck a groundbreaking global nine competition broadcast deal that will see live matches and highlights from nine European professional football leagues across the world in a landmark collective deal with The Association of European Professional Leagues (European Leagues). 
Global Expansion
  • L’Équipe report that the management of both Monaco and Lyon have indicated that the proposed February fixture in Shanghai is now unlikely to happen. Ligue 1 authorities had initially put forward the idea of playing the matchday 23 game in China in order to boost French football’s profile abroad. However, it has since been deemed best to "back out". 
  • The Professional Fighters League now has an official theme song, courtesy of promotion’s investor and hype man Wiz Khalifa. The song, “Million Dollar Moment” was released on Thursday ahead of the World Championships, which take place tomorrow (Oct. 27) at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. If you'd like more PFL-inspired listening, feel free to check out PFL CEO, Peter Murray's appearance on our podcast.
In Episode 5 of Sports Pundit Explains… Sponsorship, Andy is joined by Peter Murray, CEO of Professional Fighters League, to discuss the unique commercial proposition of the PFL, the importance of a content strategy, and how sports betting is being embraced across North America.
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