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SportVerse Podcast Episode 5 – Gujarat Titans in the Metaverse and other stories

The nexus between Sports and Business.

In this week’s episode, I will update you all about The Premier League’s NFT plan, How an Indian Cricket franchise has taken to the metaverse for fan engagement, I will also talk about an emerging sport DAO that could possibly change the dynamics of fan ownership in American sports and I will wrap up the episode with the story of How Puma announced their grand entry on web3 with multiple announcements in 1 day! it’s safe to say that the cat is finally out of the bag.

Once again, thank you for listening to the podcast and let’s get into the details…..

The First Update of this episode is about the Premier League soon joining other global sports leagues in the NFT craze. 

The Daily Mail reported this week about the Premier League mulling over an NFT deal in the range of £220M to £434M! They also reported that there are four tenders that have been shortlisted and the companies that are on the shortlist are Sorare, Candy Digital, Dapper Labs and ConsenSys.

The winning bidder will get the license to produce a range of blockchain-based-products including NFTs based on the popular Panini stickers.

The Premier League will be presenting the detailed plan to all the 20 Premier League teams by end of February which means the detailed plan should be out in the public domain.

My Take on this story: It feels like the Premier League’s strategy of waiting to see how the sports on web 3 space develops has paid off very well. Not only were the Premier League able to understand the types of blockchain products adopted by sports leagues worldwide but they also have managed to negotiate a massive deal. To put that in context the NFL’s NFT deal is in the range of £15M compared to the Premier Leagues’ estimated deal up to £434M. 

I hope the deal includes multiple blockchain products and not just sticker type NFT’s. Premier League fans globally will probably hope to see their favourite FPL game transcend from a point-based game to a Play-2-Earn game and personally, I would love to collect Premier League video moments to add to my NBA Top Shots and NLF All Day collection. Well, by March we will have more clarity in the Premier League web3 journey.

How have the players reacted to this news?

According to The Athletic, the players are paying close attention to the Premier League’s and its clubs’ plans, believing they should be a part of the conversation given the NFTs may be based on their goals, saves etc also there is millions of pounds of sales at stake with NFT sales. 

Greater scrutiny is being put on the money players will get for their images and actions being used and the Professional Footballers’ Association has been consulted on the matter.

Senior players have also contacted PFA chief executive Maheta Molango for support and advice. Mr Molango is a former Brighton striker and is now a qualified sports lawyer.

The Athletic also reported that any Premier League NFT deal would be treated in a similar way to the broadcast agreements, where each club gets a share calculated by finishing position and the number of times shown on television. A £400 million, four-year proposal would see the Premier League receive £100 million annually, to be divided among clubs in a manner yet to be decided.

The Second Update this week is about the Indian Premier League’s newest franchise The Gujarat Titans becoming the first Indian sports team to launch their logo on the Metaverse.

The Gujarat Titans have made a stylish entry into the IPL via the Metaverse where they revealed their logo in the metaverse featuring their captain Hardik Pandya, Subhuman Gill and coach Aashish Nehra.

The Titans have also announced a dedicated space on the Metaverse called ‘The Titan’s Dugout’. 

The Titans Dugout will be a space for engagement with the fan community throughout the Indian Premier League season making them the first sports team in India to introduce a dedicated virtual space for its global community of fans and players.

The Gujarat Titans partnered with Spatial to launch their presence in the Metaverse. Spatial is founded by Anand Agarwala and Jinha Lee and their expertise is in building a Metaverse that offers creators and brands an opportunity to build their own space to share culture together.

Spatial was founded in 2016 by investors including iNovia Capital, White Star Capital, Expa (founded by Garrett Camp), Kakao Ventures, Lerer Hippeau, Leaders Fund, Samsung NEXT as well as angels including Mark Pincus (Founder of Zynga), and Andy Hertzfeld (Co-Inventor of the Macintosh) and Mike Krieger (Co-Founder of Instagram).

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My Third Update is a follow-up to Episode 4 in which I spoke about emerging Sports DAOs, which is my favourite topic.

So, a new DAO has emerged in the USA which aims to purchase the Denver based NFL franchise The Denver Broncos.

The DAO called BuyDenverBroncosDAO has emerged and is led by Sean O’Brien, a 10-year veteran of Cisco Systems’ legal department and has garnered a lot of support from a group of attorneys, accountants, software developers, and athletes. The movement has received moral support from the state of Colorado’s governor Jared Polis, a crypto enthusiast himself who is supporting a change for Colorado to accept crypto for tax payments by the end of the Summer. 

The only hitch – Denver Broncos’ sale value is $4B. Raising this sort of monies via a DAO could be difficult. However, If the sale goes through, the Broncos would join the Green Bay Packers as the only teams in the 32-team U.S. National Football League owned by cooperatives.

What if the DOA fails?  O’Brien has a backup plan If the BuyTheBroncosDAO fails to meet its goal.  Should the DAO not raise all the funds necessary, The realistic forecast by the DAO organisers is to raise about 25% o funds—which amounts to  $1 billion—and the remaining $3B  will be raised through traditional investors.

My Take on this story: This is a crazy idea! Period! Having said that, if this does go through BuyDenverBroncosDAO could set precedence for other major buyouts in sports and other industries.

Sports teams owned by fans either fully or partially is not a new concept. Green Bay Packers is the only fan-owned NFL since 1923 and In Canada, the Canadian Football League has two teams with a community ownership structure: the Saskatchewan Roughriders, and Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

In Europe, there are few Football teams (Soccer Teams) that are fully or partially owned by fans. FC Bayern Munich is owned 82% by the fans and FC Barcelona is owned by 144K members.  While fans have not bought these Football and Soccer teams by way of DAO projects, the future could be DAO. One significant consideration, however, could be regulatory scrutiny. For U.S sports teams, the BuyTheBroncosDAO will certainly draw plenty of interest.

This week’s Fourth and final update is about Puma’s big bang entry in sports on web3 space.

Puma has changed their name to Puma.eth on their official Twitter handle and after doing a quick etherscan you can find that the ENS address holds NFTs like Cool Cats and Kuddle Koalas.

Then there was a poster dropped by Gutter Cats Gang on Twitter which shows that there is an NFT project collab partnership coming very soon. Gutter Cats Gang is a web3 NFT community known for publishing series like Gutter Cats, Gutter Dogs, Gutter Rats and Gutter Pigeons.

Puma didn’t stop there. Catblox which is an NFT project announced a partnership with Puma. The project is said to be a joint collection of NFTs with Puma.

Not many details about the PUMA NFT partnerships are out yet but it’s safe to say that the cat is out of the bag and is going straight into the web3 play.

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Nilesh Deshmukh
I am passionate about sports and passionate about marketing. As a sports marketer, I have built significant expertise in successfully delivering medium to long term digital marketing strategy for global sports entities and brands like Arsenal FC, Manchester United FC, Chelsea FC, Major League Baseball, Formula E, and AELTC, etc to engage with their fans in India. I am currently based in London and lead India business at Engage Digital Partners.