Press Review - February 2022

Premier League on the way to its first NFT deal

Sorare, Dapper Labs, Candy, and ConsenSys are the non-fungible token (NFT) platforms in the final shortlist competing to win the tender concerning The Premier League’s digital assets’ licensing. The Daily Mail reported on February the 18th, that “bids for football collectible rights are between £220 million ($300m) and £434 million ($590m) over the course of the next four years.”

The winning bidder for the Premier League’s digital collectibles will gain the license to produce a range of blockchain-based products – including NFTs. The Daily Mail indicates that the Premier League’s delay in putting out a tender has “allowed the market to grow, drawing bigger guaranteed returns as blockchain companies are attracted by the English football clubs’ global fan-bases”.

During last months, several top sports leagues in the world have launched their NFT based projects. Regarding the future provider of the Premier League in this area, all competitors already have experience in sports: Dapper has deals with the NBA, the NFL and UFC, Candy has a licensing agreement with the MLB and some NASCAR teams, and Sorare has deals with top football teams in Europe as well as with Bundesliga and LaLiga. However, according to, “the presence of Sorare is potentially controversial. The UK’s Gambling Commission industry regulator is making enquiries into the French company in October after it launched a blockchain-based fantasy soccer game without obtaining a UK license. That probe remains ongoing. ‘Consumers are being advised to consider this information when deciding whether or not to interact with the site,’ the statement read.”

Manchester City signs a ‘multimillion dollar’ partnership with OKX cryptocurrency exchange platform

Manchester City have announced OKX as their official cryptocurrency exchange partner in a multi-year global agreement, the club announces on March the 4th. Forbes reports that the new partnership is a multimillion dollar fee annually and covers City’s men’s, women’s and e-sports teams. It will see OKX branding displayed across the 55.000-seat Etihad Stadium, the 7,000-person Academy Stadium, on the Etihad Campus, and on the club’s digital assets.

This partnership replaces the one Manchester City had concluded last December with Key Technologies before cancelling it: “The cryptocurrency brand, which was later found to have no digital footprint or formal business operation, was announced in November as City’s ‘official regional partner in decentralized finance trading analysis’ but that deal was abandoned in January amid questions over 3Key’s legitimacy”, underlines.

Roel De Vries, chief operating officer of the club’s City Football Group (CFG) underlines that “the new partnership aligns our shared values of innovation, drive for success and being at the cutting edge of our respective industries. Their broad and inclusive approach to targeting diverse audiences resonates with our approach. We look forward to working together throughout the partnership.

Jay Hao, chief executive of OKX, adds that: “For OKX, Manchester City is a club that represents the effect football has to make a positive difference in people’s lives, to bring people together around a shared love of the beautiful game. We are entering the Premier League for the first time as City’s official crypto partner to celebrate this community spirit in the world of football because it’s something we both share.”

OKX, formerly known as OKEx, is the second largest exchange platform in the cryptocurrencies industry. It has more than 20 million customers and over $4.3 billion in transaction volume. This total puts it ahead of Coinbase, which is in third place with about $3.3 billion. On the other hand, it is still far behind Binance at the top of the table with a transaction volume of over $16.2 billion.

Nashville Soccer Club becomes first MLS club to accept partnership fee in Bitcoin

Nashville Soccer Club announced, on March the 8th, the addition of Valkyrie Investments, a Nashville-based investment manager focused on digital assets, as a Founding Partner. This partnership makes Nashville SC the first MLS club to accept its full partnership fee in bitcoin.

As an activation of the partnership, the Premier Club, an 850-seat premium club located in Nashville SC’s new stadium, and which has been sold out for nearly a year, will be renamed the Valkyrie Premier Club. “In addition to the naming rights to this premium space, Valkyrie’s logo will be featured on the sleeve of the team’s training top”, the club’s press release adds.

As a club we want to be pioneers both on and off the pitch while also being Authentically Nashville. Partnering with Valkyrie provides both a local tie and a platform to connect sports and entertainment to cryptocurrency in the hottest city in the United States”, Dan Farrell, Nashville SC Vice President of Corporate Partnerships, says.

On her side, the Valkyrie Investments CEO, Leah Wald, indicates: “Our industry is all about community, and soccer is very much a community-driven sport. This partnership with Nashville SC is such a natural fit for both of us, and is only part of our broader efforts to help establish Music City as a global hub for blockchain and digital assets.”

UEFA Women’s Euro 2022 names LinkedIn as national sponsor

LinkedIn becomes the 4th national sponsor of the UEFA Women's Euro 2022 held in England (31 matches played from July the 6th to July the 31st, UEFA and the English Football Association, the co-organizers of the competition, announced on February the 22nd. The professional social media platform will launch a number of fan activations around the tournament.

LinkedIn is engaging with the Women's Euro 2022 under the slogan "make work work for women." "LinkedIn's activations will demonstrate how the platform and its community can help women achieve their goals, regardless of their profession or industry, and will fuel content and conversations around women's empowerment, leadership, well-being and diversity", the two parts detail.

The Euro 2022 deal certainly marks the platform’s most significant agreement in sports to date. “At LinkedIn we’re championing a gender equal world that’s diverse and inclusive, and it’s a privilege to support UEFA Women’s Euro 2022 which actively shares and celebrates these values”, said Ngaire Moyes, vice president of communications and brand, international at LinkedIn. She adds: The tournament is set to be a landmark event that will provide professional female footballers with a platform to showcase their remarkable talent and achievements. Off the field, we’re increasingly seeing sports professionals use LinkedIn to share interesting stories and insights into their careers, and we know how powerful they can be to encourage and inspire others.

On the UEFA’s part, “This collaboration offers significant opportunities to further promote the competition through their platform and bring it to new audiences. We look forward to working together on what is set to be a record-breaking tournament that further grows the women’s game”, Guy-Laurent Epstein, director of marketing at UEFA, said.

MLB and Apple reach agreement for “Friday Night Baseball” broadcasting rights

Apple officially announces, on March the 8th, its agreement with Major League Baseball (MLB) to broadcast live regular season games.

Apple TV+ will exclusively broadcast two games on Friday nights. The American giant is thus entering the market of live sports events broadcasting. Apple TV+ will offer "Friday Night Baseball" live broadcasts before and after games. The program will be available to baseball fans in eight countries. In the U.S. and Canada, fans will also be able to enjoy a new 24/7 streaming channel that will include game replays and league news. With this acquisition, the video platform has further enriched its content and "responded" to its competitor Prime Video, which broadcasts NFL games in the United States.

Peter Stern, Apple’s vice president of Services, said: “Just like all baseball fans, we can’t wait for the season to open. Baseball has a special place in the heart of so many Apple customers — not just in the United States, but in many countries around the world. We’re proud to make Apple TV+ the home for great baseball moments throughout the season.”

On his side, Noah Garden, MLB’s chief revenue officer, states that “Apple is the ideal partner to bring "Friday Night Baseball" to fans around the world. Following milestones like the launch of At Bat on day one of the App Store in 2008 to the integration of Apple technology in ballparks across the country, this robust new game package is the perfect next collaboration in our long history of offering quality and innovative content to our fans. With national availability and international reach, MLB on Apple TV+ offers an exciting new platform to fans that allows a wider audience to connect with the game.

The 2022 MLB season is currently stalled as negotiations continue between franchise owners and players to sign a new collective bargaining agreement.