More Sports, Yet Less Sports: The Looming Thing In Athletics
GenZ follows more sports, yet colleges continue cutting sports. Interesting time across the industry.
Over the last two days, we’ve had completely opposite news in sports.
❶ Loyola Marymount University announced they’re cutting 6 sports due to “pending rulings on student-athletes as employees and NIL”.
❷ Billionaire Peter Thiel invested in an event to challenge the Olympics, The Enhanced Games.
So while LMU is dropping sports, The Enhanced Games is opening up additional opportunities (with their drug-testing-free league).
Let’s Dive In 👇
Total Number of Sports
According to the World Sports Encyclopaedia, there are over 8,000 indigenous sports played across the globe.
But what activities constitute a sport?
According to the Oxford Dictionary — “an activity involving physical exertion and skill in which an individual or a team competes against another or others for entertainment”
It comes down to three requirements:
physical exertion or skill
competition between players or teams
and a defined set of rules that the competition has to follow
There will always be some gray areas about what is considered a sport — such as hunting, esports, and ostrich racing.
200 sports: are recognized through an international governing body
32 sports: will be at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games
24 sports: compete across the NCAA’s three divisions
7 sports: are considered major in North America (basketball, football, ice hockey, soccer, golf, tennis, baseball).
Interestingly, 14 sports leagues did over $1B in revenue last year.
Compared to technology, 11 private companies currently do more than $1B in revenue a year.
And when looking at this graph you’ll pick up a few things:
Fanatics and Epic Games are considered sports-niche companies
Databricks is an intelligence platform that has a handful of clients in sports
Bytedance (parent company of TikTok) has been influential in sports
Most of these companies spend millions in advertising across sports
We inside the industry know of the immense power of sports…outsiders are starting to pay more attention to its power.
Fewer Sports or More Sports
We’re at an interesting time in the industry where there’s a push to have fewer impactful sports while also seeing an influx of more sports in the market.
NIL is creating a dynamic where everything from pro to youth sports is being commercialized.
This creates some questions for different stakeholders…
Will there be more of a focus on revenue-generating sports at colleges?
With life-changing money in sports like basketball, soccer, and football will more parents/athletes choose these if college programs cut other sports?
What happens to Olympic sports?
If a new organization such as The Enhanced Games challenges the Olympics what would that look like?
Where is the blurred line between cyborg and athlete? Elon Musk’s Neuralink is now successfully implemented into the first human.
We’re going through an interesting time in not just sports (but technology as a whole). It’s like a sci-fi movie but real life. Wild.
While we may see fewer sports at the college ranks…
The truth is that Millenials/GenZ like more sports than previous generations.
Fans under 34 years old follow an average of 6.3 different sports (with 65 total listed in a recent Nielsen study).
This is evident in the rapid emergence of alternative leagues and sports over the last few years.
It’s easier than ever to start a new sport, but also increasingly harder to make it mainstream.
Two super interesting guests:
Wade Floyd - Founder, CoachTube (listen here)
Listen to Wade’s incredible insights on marketplaces, determining what sports to scale into, and how they have more sales daily than the entire first two years.
Dave Mirynech - CEO, FanClub Sports Capital (listen here)
Great podcast breaking down the investment appeal in sports, the rise in crowdfunding, and trends to keep an eye on.
🏟 Sports Business
Tom Brady merges brands with NOBULL.
PGA Tour eyeing $12B valuation with $3B investment.
Several NFL players invest in Boomerang’s $4.9M round.
Peter Thiel backs Olympic competitor, The Enhanced Games.
PlayVS partnered with NFHS to expand esports in high school.
Participated in an 𝘪𝘯𝘵𝘦𝘳𝘦𝘴𝘵𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘱𝘢𝘯𝘦𝘭 regarding the future of sports last week alongside:
Ajay Nwosu: CEO Teqball
Thomas Rudy: CIO leAD VC
Jackie Lamping: Ava Ventures
𝗢𝘃𝗲𝗿𝗮𝗹𝗹 𝗜𝗻𝗱𝘂𝘀𝘁𝗿𝘆 𝗧𝗮𝗸𝗲𝗮𝘄𝗮𝘆𝘀: 🏟️
❶ Sports is one of the few industries with built-in "𝘤𝘰𝘮𝘮𝘶𝘯𝘪𝘵𝘪𝘦𝘴" making it a great place to test product market fit.
❷ Think bigger - if you're building a company for just one 𝘯𝘪𝘤𝘩𝘦 𝘷𝘦𝘳𝘵𝘪𝘤𝘢𝘭 it will be tough to attract venture capitalists.
❸ Lots of 𝘵𝘢𝘭𝘦𝘯𝘵𝘦𝘥 𝘪𝘯𝘥𝘪𝘷𝘪𝘥𝘶𝘢𝘭𝘴 from media and technology companies are entering sports as it goes through an innovation boom.
❹ GenZ's viewing habits are ushering in a 𝘸𝘢𝘷𝘦 𝘰𝘧 𝘯𝘦𝘸 𝘭𝘦𝘢𝘨𝘶𝘦𝘴 that have the potential to challenge the traditional powerhouses for eyeballs.
𝗔𝘁𝗵𝗹𝗲𝘁𝗲 𝗜𝗻𝘃𝗲𝘀𝘁𝗼𝗿 𝗧𝗮𝗸𝗲𝗮𝘄𝗮𝘆𝘀: 🎽
❶ Having athletes on the cap table is great, but only if you utilize them in the right way (and select the correct ones).
❷ Alignment is optimal when athletes come in on equal terms as other investors. They should be treated with the same level of sophistication.
S/O to Hamptons Tech Week for putting on a great event.
As always, appreciate you reading today!
I had the founder of The Enhanced Games on the podcast yesterday so that will drop next week.