- The Sports Slice
- SBJ’s Dealmakers Conference Asks Top Sports Execs: Buy, Sell, Or HODL?
- F1 Considers Risk Profile Of Crypto Partnerships
- As Bear Market Persists, Candy Digital Makes Cuts
Is it doom and gloom for crypto engagement and sports? The answer from top crypto executives is a mixed bag as the Sports Business Journal Dealmakers Conference inquiries from some of the highest ranked sports executives in the business.
Meanwhile, the World Cup heads to knockout rounds and departs group stages with little major fanfare in the crypto space. And FTX’s demise has led Formula 1 to take another glance at the risk profile surrounding cryptocurrency partners.
Each week, we review the biggest stories in sports and crypto with The Sports Slice – let’s dive into the past week of action.
The Sports Slice
SBJ’s Dealmakers Conference Asks Top Sports Execs: Buy, Sell, Or HODL?
Sports Business Journal sat down with different sports executives at it’s annual Dealmakers Conference, asking many execs if they advocate buying, selling, or holding Bitcoin. The responses varied, but overall expressed a positive sentiment: Monumental Sports & Entertainment’s Ted Leonsis express bullish sentiment around blockchain technology at large – rather than a specific token or chain – while Professional Fighters League Chairman & Founder Donn Davis was less enthused, describing a story of giving his son some money to buy Bitcoin “and it’s all gone.”
Other bullish and bearish sentiment scattered throughout responses: Take-Two Interactive CEO Strauss Zelnick says “run for the exits,” while AEG Global Partnerships COOs Nick Baker and Russell Silvers were practically taken aback at the question, replying “buy… big buy.”
Even a little middle-ground responses made their way, such as WNBA player and WNBPA Secretary Elizabeth Williams expressed that she shies away from the volatility, and fellow WNBA hooper and WNBPA President Nneka Ogwumike said that she simply wants to be more educated on the area before making a real decision on ‘buy, sell or HODL.’
Finally, frequent crypto converser and serial entrepreneur both in and out of sport, Mark Cuban, broke down how differentiated and nuanced crypto can get; Cuban separated the ideas of centralized exchanges, the extra speculative investments, and more blue-chip crypto investments. Cuban closed out in expressing that when a smart contract app brings true utility, we’ll see the next big boom; but just like with early internet, it will take time.
Bitcoin (BTC) was a focal point of questioning at Sports Business Journal's Dealmakers Conference this past week. | Source: BTC-USD on TradingView.com
F1 Considers Risk Profile Of Crypto Partnerships
FTX’s ripple effects continue. Sports sponsorship perspective has taken a major hit from the centralized exchange’s downfall; Formula 1 racing has seen a spike in dialogue around the topic, as Mercedes F1 team saw it’s FTX sponsorship collapse, it’s a stark reminder that crypto partnerships carry a risk profile.
Other perspectives have emerged this past week as well: SBJ Marketing’s blog posted a piece expressing that it will take time for momentum to re-emerge; Playfly Premier Partnerships CEO Randy Bernstein was quoted in the piece as saying that “crypto overheated so quickly… there was irrational exuberance on both the buy and sell side.”
Finally, another article from the Dallas Morning News headlined “Crypto is done” expressed a less optimistic perspective on the matter: the article cites Jonathan Jensen, a former sports marketing executive at Omnicom and Publicis Groupe, who states that “the vetting process is, ‘Who’s going to pay the most?… most do not undergo a great deal of scrutiny.”
Jensen isn’t wrong and FTX is a prime example. However, this is far from being exclusive to the crypto industry. Just take a look at Houston Rockets past jersey partner, ROKiT, which was exposed on Reddit for it’s questionable business presentation. The jersey patch partnership was terminated a short time later.
As Bear Market Persists, Candy Digital Makes Cuts
Candy Digital, the NFT platform with a major sports focus, partnerships with the likes of the MLB and Netflix, and backing from Gary Vee and others, has laid off “a large part of it’s staff,” according to reports throughout last week.
According to the story, first released by Sportico, roughly one-third of the team’s 100-person staff has been laid off. The news comes following layoffs from fellow sports NFT platform Dapper Labs and from broader NFT marketplace OpenSea, among others, in recent months.