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How the FTX collapse is affecting sports

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Football’s shop windows are filling up. Liverpool FC is The latest club starts looking for new investment, joining city rivals Everton and Italian giants Inter Milan. Liverpool owner Fenway Sports Group, which counts the Boston Red Sox and Pittsburgh Penguins among its other sports properties, enlisted Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley to garner interest. The process could lead to a full sale, in what could be the biggest football transaction ever.

It’s only been a few months since Chelsea and AC Milan set new standards for the valuation of football clubs in Europe, but it seems the mood is changing. Borrowing costs have skyrocketed, while other asset classes have taken a hit. Liverpool, Everton and Inter offer very different investment prospects — the progress of conversations with potential suitors will tell us a lot about whether the bullish case for sports remains. intact or not.

This week we are looking at one of the big stories of the week — the boom of FTX, one of the biggest players in the crypto world. What does this mean for the sports industry? Additionally, we look at online sports betting and half a billion dollar gambles that failed at the US midterm elections. Read on – Josh Noble, sports editor

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How FTX Shows Sports Eagerness for Crypto Wealth

Tom Brady: FTX Ambassador © AP

What links the Heat Miamibasketball arena, NFL midfield star brave cat and Mercedes Formula 1 team? As always in sports, it’s a question of sponsorship. And in this case, they partnered with FTX, the crypto exchange filed for bankruptcy in the US on Friday. The group’s lightning-fast plunge once again raises questions about the relationship between crypto and sports.

The way sport reaches millions of people around the world is the envy of any company. Win or lose, fans remain loyal. Imagine reaching that fan base, connecting with them, taking your brand into the mainstream. That is the crux of sports sponsorship.

Led by Sam Bankman-Fried, FTX has forged sporting partnerships as it has grown into one of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges, a vital piece of infrastructure in the world. complex digital assets. FTX is not alone. Cryptocurrency groups have poured money into sports. At the heart of the investment is your desire to reach beyond your average crypto enthusiast.

FTX’s sports partners were forced to act. The Miami Heat said late Friday that it had terminated its agreement with FTX and began looking for a new arena naming partner. Mercedes F1 says it has suspended its relationship with FTX and that the crypto exchange’s logo will not appear on its cars at this weekend’s Brazilian Grand Prix. Questions for Brady (also an FTX ambassador) went unanswered.

Another concern is that Bankman-Fried has become respectable face of cryptocurrencies. He has done magazine covers, exerted influence in Washington and with regulators, and attracted longstanding institutional investors to FTX’s shareholder list. He even interviewed Bill Clinton and Tony Blair at a conference. So, if FTX can explode, are there any safe bets in this volatile industry?

The bigger question for sports is whether clubs and leagues are too eager to jump into bed with crypto groups looking for legitimacy. In essence, fans are usually not sophisticated financial investors. However, the teams, leagues and athletes that have brought fame to this nascent field, publicize crypto brands to fans who risk losing large sums of money when trading assets. volatile on a vulnerable infrastructure.

Now with FTX in Chapter 11 proceedings, questions about sports and crypto will increase.

Booming: California’s Big Loss of Online Betting Industry

Sports betting in California: denied © AP

Forget the race for governor of Arizona, or the battle in Georgia for control of the US Senate. The most expensive vote in this year’s midterm elections was for a couple voting measures in California: Propositions 26 and 27.

Proposition 26 would legalize sports betting — as well as roulette and dice games — at tribal casinos in the state, while Proposition 27 would legalize online sports gambling. line. Backers of the measures spent $527 million winning support from voters, a signal of the potential wealth on offer if the largest US state opens its doors to them. Eilers & Krejcik Gaming, a research and consulting firm, estimates the state will generate $3.1 billion in annual revenue, making it the largest sports betting market in the United States.

However, both measures failed miserably. With 60% of the votes counted, Proposition 27 – promoted by betting companies including FanDuel, DraftKings and BetMGM – is losing by a margin of more than 4 to 1. Proposition 26 gets less than a share. three voters in favor.

Anthony Roberts, Tribal President of Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation, part of the campaign against these measures, said: “Our internal poll has been clear and consistent for years: Voters California does not support online sports betting.

The setback didn’t have much of an impact on listed betting companies, with disclaimers already included. And those companies are doing well in the states anyway – this week Flutter upgraded its full-year US revenue estimate by $100 million, money that could be used to pay off debt. when interest rates rise.

They could try again in two years at the next general election, after all, California is too big a potential market to ignore. Peter Jackson, chief executive officer of Flutter, FanDuel’s parent company, told FT’s Oliver Barnes that the results were “disappointing” but the industry “can be patient”.

But it looks like a real long shot. “There’s a good chance there will be another initiative in 2024 — I don’t think they stand a chance unless they try a completely new approach,” said game analyst Adam Kreijk.

Paul Leyland, an analyst at consulting firm Regulus Partners, goes even further: “The true story of the failure in California is to admit a colossal and predictable strategic blunder, which had wasting millions of dollars makes the commercial sector look immature and self-interested. Only when a complete rethinking is based on a profound awareness of the causes of failure can the commercial sector hope for success ‘next time’.”

He concluded: “Being back in 2024 just means covering up incompetence by squandering more precious resources that could actually be used to do some good.”

Countdown to Qatar

Qatar World Cup: take off © REUTERS

  • Qatar is not the most obvious choice for this year World Cup. But if you want to know the real story behind how the Gulf nation is small won the right to host the most famous football tournament in the worldlook no further than FT Middle East editor Andrew Anhmagazine’s feature.

  • Ever wonder why Real MadridFrench striker Karim Benzema just getting better with age? Or how? Lionel Messi keep making the killer pass? Simon Kuper have the answer in my column on why the most effective players at the World Cup are in their mid to late 30s.

  • What does it take to win the World Cup? We talk to seven past winners — including Kylian Mbappe and Gerard Pique – to get their advice and memories from past victories.

Highlights

  • Owners headed by Saudi Arabia Newcastle United Football Club injected £70m more into the English Premier League club, bringing their total investment to nearly half a billion pounds including a £305 million acquisition price.

  • Derivatives traders dressed as Super Mario and insurance brokers wearing Hawaiian shirts are rejoicing. But the return of Hong Kong Sevens rugby league this weekend means more than just dress up. It is a question of whether sport will signal Hong Kong’s rejuvenation as a financial hub after strict Covid-19 lockdown measures affected Hong Kong’s standing in the world. international School.

transfer market

Bjørn Gulden: a new cross-city show © Evan Agostini/Invision/AP

  • adidas yes Hire a new CEO In Bjørn GuldenNorwegian industry veteran will join the company in the new year from rival crosstown Puma. The appointment ends a long search for struggling Adidas, which issued its third profit warning in five months last week after splitting from you, rapper and designer formerly known as Kanye West. Gulden, a former professional soccer player who worked at Adidas in the 1990s before advancing at Puma, takes his place. Kasper Rørsted who has led the sportswear company since 2016. Both Adidas and Puma were founded in tiny Herzogenaurach, Germany by brothers Adi and Rudolf Dassler.

  • Giorgio Furlani has been appointed as the next chief executive officer of AC Milan, succeeding Ivan Gazidis. Furlani is a native of Milan, having spent his career in finance, with stints at Lehman Brothers, Apollo, and most recently at Elliott Managementappointed him to the Rossoneri board in 2018.

The end whistle

Undoubtedly, the US midterm elections were the standout story of the week in Pennsylvania, home to one of the most competitive senate races in the country. But Philadelphia had another winner this week with an individual now known as chicken man: he simply ate 40 roast chickens in 40 days, in front of a loving local crowd. His last meal came the next day with not one but two local professional sports teams – the baseball team. Philadelphia and football Philadelphia Union – lost the title of national champion. Hey, everyone has to have a dream.

Transcripts were written by Josh Noble, Samuel Agini and Arash Massoudi in London, Sara Germano, James Fontanella-Khan and Anna Nicolaou in New York, with contributions from the Due Diligence newsletter production team, reporter network and data FT’s global visualization group

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