Press Review - November 2021

NBC renews with EPL for media rights in U.S.

NBC has retained rights to the EPL, paying $2.7B over six years. “EPL execs in private conversations described the $433M annual payout as huge and said that it blew them away. NBC currently pays more than $150M for EPL rights. The sense among U.S. media companies was that NBC felt pressure to keep rights to the EPL, which has been a big driver of subscriptions to its Peacock streaming service”, Sport Business Journal reports on the 11th November 2021.

This agreement for six new seasons (380 matches per season) extends the partnership between the Premier League and NBC, started in 2013. While no amount has been officially revealed, the New York Times claims that NBC had outbid its competitors ESPN and CBS with an offer worth $2.7B ($450M per season), nearly triple the previous contract of $1.1 billion between 2015 and 2021. “NBC has pegged its coverage of football around the Premier League and as the profile of the game becomes more mainstream through the 2026 World Cup (which the US is co-hosting), the broadcaster will have the world’s biggest league in its rights portfolio”, notes.

The new deal dwarfs the amounts paid by U.S. broadcasters for other foreign soccer leagues. In May, for example, ESPN signed a deal worth $1.4 billion over eight years (€1.2B, about $175M per season) to broadcast Spain's La Liga. “It was our goal that we got the No. 1 soccer property renewed, and the Premier League is clearly the best property in all of soccer” said Jon Miller, NBC Sports Group president of programming.

Nike Creates NIKELAND, a Metaverse game place on Roblox

Nike has launched, on the 18th November 2021, NIKELAND, an online video game based on Metaverse technology. In this digital NIKELAND, players can interact in free sports games and use articles of the firm in their virtual form. “Nike created this bespoke world with the backdrop of its world headquarters and inside Roblox’s immersive 3D space, building on its goal to turn sport and play into a lifestyle. Below are five things to know about NIKELAND on Roblox,” Nike said in a press release.

Nike announces that NIKELAND is a virtual space giving access to several sports fields and a showroom where the user can dress their avatar with Nike brand articles. The company emphasizes the fun and the user-friendly side of Nikeland. Moreover, the environment of this Metaverse is greatly inspired by the real world, as Nike says: “Buildings and fields inside NIKELAND are inspired by Nike's real-life headquarters and hold detailed arenas for the Roblox community to test their skills competing in various mini-games. At launch, visitors can participate in games such as tag, the floor is lava, and dodgeball with their friends. The creativity, however, is unlimited. With the NIKELAND tool kit, creators can easily design their own mini-games from interactive sports materials.

With the aim of merging its digital space with the physical one, Nike will propose from next month an augmented reality experience in its flagship store in New York. Clients will be able, thanks to a Snapchat filter, to recreate, in the physical environment, the virtual reality of the NIKELAND universe. "Nike's commitment to inspiring the advancement and innovation of the future of sports experiences will continue this December when the brand brings the immersive world of Roblox and Nikeland to life at Nike's HOI (House of Innovation) in New York", Nike explains. "This filter will allow people who visit the floor reserved for children's collections to see the space transformed into an augmented reality version of Nikeland," they add. This will include "their avatars, fun games and an egg hunt inspired by the version that can be played from Nikeland."

Staples Center in L.A. to be renamed Arena

The Staples Center sports and entertainment arena in Los Angeles will be renamed the Arena under a naming rights agreement. “The 20-year agreement for the AEG-owned and operated venue, which is home to the NBA's Los Angeles Lakers and LA Clippers, the NHL's LA Kings and the WNBA's Los Angeles Sparks, will be effective from Christmas Day”, AEG said to Reuters on the 17th November 2021. The amount of the agreement is estimated at $700M.

The New York Times reports that “ Arena will not be the first stadium named after a cryptocurrency brand. FTX, a cryptocurrency exchange based in Hong Kong, signed a deal this year with the Miami Heat and the local authorities -worth $135 million over 19 years- to rebrand the arena where that N.B.A. team plays. Instead of American Airlines Arena, it is now called FTX Arena.

It should be noted that has existing sponsorships with Paris Saint-Germain (football), Philadelphia 76ers (Basketball), and Fighting Championship. The Financial Times underlines that “sports sponsorships have become a popular marketing tool for retail crypto platforms. Italian Serie A clubs AC Milan and Lazio have this year signed partnerships with crypto companies BitMex and Binance, respectively, while Major League Baseball has agreed to make FTX its official cryptocurrency exchange.

The 20,000-seat arena has hosted home games for the Lakers, the Clippers (NBA), the Kings (NHL), and the Sparks (WNBA) since it opened in 1999. It also hosts concerts by major artists and prestigious annual events such as the Grammy Awards. Each year, the site hosts over 240 major events.

NBA becomes a shareholder of Sportradar data company

The National Basketball Association (NBA) and Sportradar Group AG, the world's leading sports technology company creating immersive experiences for sports fans and bettors, announced a multi-year partnership agreement on the 17th November 2021.

Under this contract that will begin with the 2023-24 NBA season and provides the NBA with an equity stake (3% according to CNBC) in Sportradar, “the NBA, Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA), and NBA G League [will] utilize Sportradar's extensive international capabilities to expand U.S. operations, increase their international footprint and drive fan engagement”, Sportradar’s press release says. Sportradar, which has had Michael Jordan as a shareholder since 2015, works with numerous sports organizations such as the NHL, MLB, NASCAR, UEFA, and ITF.

"We are thrilled that the NBA has selected Sportradar as an official partner that can support the game's global popularity and explosive growth," said Carsten Koerl, global CEO of Sportradar. "Basketball is the largest American sport in the world in terms of popularity and, as the market leader, we are uniquely positioned with the technological expertise and industry relationships to help the NBA entertain fans around the world."

This agreement extends a relationship that began in 2016. Under it, Sportradar will remain the exclusive provider of NBA data worldwide, including data for sports betting operators. In addition, Sportradar will continue to distribute video streams to betting operators.

Leila Pereira: The first female president at Palmeiras

Leila Pereira, 57, is the new president of Brazilian football club Palmeiras.

Receiving 1,897 of the 2,141 votes, the first female president at Palmeiras was elected on the 23rd November 2021, for a term that will run until 2024. underlines that “since 2015, she has sponsored the club with bank Crefisa, pouring hundreds of millions of Reias, as outright investment or loan, into the club.”

On the sidelines of the election, Pereira said that her strategy for Sao Paolo based club has “two main pillars […] Firstly, a more and more victorious Palmeiras at the forefront. We are already protagonists, but we want to be victorious. I don’t want second place, I want first. Let’s work for it. And bring the fans closer to their team. It’s clear to me, this is what I’m here for, to look out for our millions of fans. Our greatest asset is outside the club. I will continue to do the work with the members but we have to look at this crowd outside the wall, give access to our club, proximity, with the possibility of buying affordable tickets, the fan being able to buy a shirt.