Dear Colleague,

We had another busy month of January in the world of elite sports. 2022 is off to a great start. In the world of soccer, the MLS has reportedly entered an exclusive negotiating agreement with billionaires Wes Edens and Naseef Sawiris to bring the league’s 30th team to Las Vegas.

In the world of pro basketball, the Phoenix Suns are now 38-9 and leading the NBA season. But the Warriors are not too far (35-13) behind with Klay Thompson now back on the court. In the world of American Football, the NFL playoffs are well underway leading up to the Super Bowl. NFL star Tom Brady is now rumored to take time after season before committing to return to Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2022, sources say.

In the world of pro baseball, the MLB’s owners, MLBPA are making progress after negotiations but they remain far apart on key issues. In the world of pro tennis, Djokovic was at the center of a controversy at the Australian Open tennis. Novak Djokovic’s last-ditch effort to defend his Australian Open title by having his visa reinstated failed because a court accepted that people, especially youngsters, could emulate the tennis icon’s opposition to being vaccinated.

In the NFT/Metaverse/Blockchain space, Microsoft made a big splash in the metaverse space by acquiring Activision for $69B. Sorare also made headlines by bringing Tennis star Serena Williams on its board of advisors. In addition, the Brooklyn Nets made history by creating a virtual ‘Netaverse’ to bring new game experience to fans. The UFC also launched its own version of NBA Top Shot called the NFT marketplace “UFC Strike”. Tiger Global and Sequoia India-backed FanCraze also launched cricket NFTs in partnership with ICC.

Tom Brady’s buzzy celebrity NFT startup Autograph also banked $170M from Silicon Valley’s top crypto investors. Facebook and Instagram are also reportedly exploring plans to make, showcase, and sell NFTs while Twitter just introduced a new profile feature enabling Twitter fans to create an NFT profile. In addition, the Australian Open launched a line of interactive NFTs linked to on-court game play and a metaverse for fans. Candy Digital, who is majority owned by Fanatics, also opened its NFT marketplace. Animoca Brands also raised $358M in additional funding as it bids to create its vision of an ‘open metaverse’ based on blockchain technology. Lastly, NBA legend Michael Jordan and his son Jeffrey raised $10M to build a Blockchain-based social platform called Heir Inc that will allow athletes to earn revenues and connect directly with fans.

In the world AR/VR/MR, Apple is now rumored to launch its first AR/VR hybrid glasses for $2,000+, feature M1 Pro-like performance. The NFL also launched a new mixed reality experience in association with Nickelodeon. You can check out the video here. AR contact lenses startup Mojo Vision also raised another $45M from Adidas Running and other sports brands (Trailforks, Wearable X, Slopes and 18Birdies). Manchester United also created an augmented reality matchday viewing experience at Old Trafford to honor the pandemic’s frontline workers.

In the world of wearables, Peloton launched some new Peloton bike shoes. The Apple Watch with blood pressure measurement capabilities is also one step closer to reality.

In the world of sports tech investments, investments reached $661M and were up +63% in January 2022/December 2021, compared to November 2021. Like in November 2021, 80% of funding came from Metaverse/NFT startups. This should not come as a surprise given VCs’ continued appetite for NFT/Metaverse startups.

?Upside Monthly Recap Chat: Dr Ron Dick, Duquesne University, Ex NBA/NCAA exec, on the NFL Playoffs, the NCAA & Sports Betting, the MLB lockout, the Djokovic Visa Saga, and much more.

To listen to the podcast interview with Dr Ron Dick, click here.

As a reminder, we launched our Upside Global platform to bring together our sports, tech & health community of 6,000+ executives under a single web platform. Members include executives from the NBA, NFL, NHL, MLS, MLB, NCAA, Laliga, English Premiere League, Ligue 1, Bundesliga, Series A, Brazilian soccer league, Olympic teams, Pro rugby, Pro tennis, as well as representatives of startups, brands, VCs, and athletes.

If you are a head athletic trainer, CTO, CMO of a major sports team or league looking to connect with the most innovative startups or connect with your peers to network, or if you are a startup CEO looking to connect with top teams or investors, you can join our Upside community of executives from the NBA, NFL, NHL, MLS, MLB, NCAA, Laliga, English Premier League, Olympic teams, top VCs, startups (AR, VR, wearables, sleep tech..) and more!

Your opportunity for growth starts now, create your free executive profile today to join our online community and click on “become a member today” as a first step. It is free to join! It only take one minute to create your profile.

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? Top Stories We’re Reading This Month

? 2022 Upside Top Sports Tech Predictions (NFT/Metaverse, Sports Performance, IPOs/M&As..)

?Upside: AMS Ecosystem Analysis: Key Trends, Vendors and Recommendations to Teams

?Upside Analysis: The sweat and heat sensing market (Key Trends, Vendors)

?Upside Video Chat: Satoshi Ochi, Head of Strength and Conditioning Coach at the USTA

? Facebook and Instagram are reportedly exploring plans to make, showcase, and sell NFTs

? Microsoft to gobble up Activision in $69 billion metaverse bet

? Serena Williams joins Sorare’s board in effort to make Web 3 more inclusive

? Brooklyn Nets create virtual ‘Netaverse’ to bring new game experience to fans

? Tom Brady’s buzzy celebrity NFT startup Autograph banks $170M from Silicon Valley’s top crypto investors

? Apple’s AR/VR headset could be priced above $2,000, feature M1 Pro-like performance

⌚ Peloton launches new Peloton bike shoes

⌚ Apple Watch blood pressure is one step closer to reality

? Startup investment recap (December /January 2022)

? Tech Stats of the month

? Snapshots & videos of the Month

Let’s jump right into the insights and upside for all of these top stories

? 2022 Upside Top Sports Tech Predictions (NFT/Metaverse, Sports Performance, IPOs/M&As..)

Over the past 3 months, the Metaverse has become the new buzzword in the tech A lot has happened in 2021 in the world of sports and tech. 2021 saw the emergence of NFT/Metaverse startups unicorns such as Sorare and Dapper Labs. The Metaverse has become the new “buzzword” in the world of sports and tech with many startups pivoting into this space and literally every single major tech companies, sports apparel companies and brands announcing their Metaverse/Web 3.0 strategy. Now that fans are back in stadiums, sports teams and leagues are now looking at NFT/Metaverse as a way to improve fans engagement but most importantly as a way to drive their top line to continue to mitigate the impact of COVID-19. But, as we noted previously in our Metaverse sports analysis, most clubs and leagues are still trying to figure out their web 3.0 strategy and the majority of the Metaverse sports startups do not have a solid business model or no business model at all.

In the world of wearables, in 2021 we saw a continued adoption of wearables (smart watches, fitness bands..). but pro teams are now looking for next generation wearables embedded with advanced sensors and capable of providing actionable health insights. Injury prevention tools, sleep technologies and mental health devices and solutions, remained top of mind for teams in 2021 as well. In the following section we will discuss our Upside 2022 Top sports tech predictions.

To Read the full Upside analysis, click here.

?Upside: AMS Ecosystem Analysis: Key Trends, Vendors and Recommendations to Teams

AMS systems, also known as Athlete Management Systems, have become one of the most common types of technologies used by pro teams today. With 20+ AMS vendors out there the space has become extremely competitive and fragmented over the years with sometimes teams using and testing multiple AMS systems at the same time. It has now become a bit overwhelming for teams to pick and choose the right AMS system due to the myriad of vendors out there. The space is now moving towards AMS systems capable of preventing injuries and better analyzing the data. In this analysis, we will discuss the current and future market trends, VC/M&A investment trends, the AMS vendor ecosystems, and the key AMS vendors. We will also provide recommendations to pro teams looking to adopt an AMS solution.

To Read the full Upside analysis, click here.

?Upside Analysis: The sweat and heat sensing market (Key Trends, Vendors)

Monitoring and analyzing sweat and heat is one of the most complex areas of biometric sensing. This has become extremely important as athletes are sometimes exposed to very high temperatures. In December 2019 in Australia, the country was exposed to very high temperatures with an average of 105.6 degrees, or 40.9 degrees Celsius, breaking the record of 104.5, or 40.3 Celsius.

Playing under those types of conditions has become very challenging for most athletes. This is another reason why over the past few years we have seen a lot of innovation in the area of sweat and heat sensing. We plan to cover the key technology vendors in this area later on in this analysis.

To Read the full Upside analysis, click here.

?Upside Video Chat: Satoshi Ochi, Head of Strength and Conditioning Coach at the USTA

Here is the video interview we did there in December 2021 at the USTA Player Development Center in Orlando, Florida, with Satoshi Ochi, the head of strength and conditioning coach. In this video Satoshi gave us a quick tour of his facility, and talked about the types of technologies (e.g. Kinexon’s real time tracking solution, Plantiga’s smart insoles, Polar H10 HR monitor, PlaySight’s on-court video analysis, AMS (Athlete Management System) mobile app, etc..) he uses to help improve players’ fitness and prevent injuries.

To read the full article on the USTA’s player development center in Orlando Florida, click here.

Upside Podcast Interviews of the Month

?Upside Chat with Top Sports Performance Execs (NBA, NHL, MLS) on Load Management, Mental Health, Technologies.

?Upside Chat: Mert Ergeneci, Co-Founder, Neurocess (Leading Startup Building Sensors to Assess Injuries)

?Upside Chat: Mohammad Ali Abbaspour, CEO, Sponixtech, Leading Immersive Replay Sports and Virtual Advertising Startup

?Upside Chat: Jesse Richman, 7 Times World Champion in Pro Kite Surfing, on Technologies & NFTs/Metaverse.

? NFTs/Metaverse/Blockchain News

? Facebook and Instagram are reportedly exploring plans to make, showcase, and sell NFTs| Via : The Verge

Social media conglomerate Meta is exploring plans to let users create, showcase, and sell NFTs on Facebook and Instagram, according to a report from The Financial Times. If the company launches such tools, it would be the biggest show of mainstream support for NFTs to date, and help solidify the controversial assets’ place in the digital world. As per the FT, the plans are “at an early stage and could yet change.” The publication says teams at Facebook and Instagram are “readying” a feature that will let users display NFTs as their profile pictures, as well as working on a prototype to let users mint new NFTs. Others at Meta are reportedly discussing “launching a marketplace for users to buy and sell NFTs.”

Instagram chief Adam Mosseri said last December that the company is “actively exploring NFTs and how we can make them more accessible to a wider audience,” while last October Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg spoke about how the metaverse will need to support “ownership of digital goods or NFTs.”

⬆️ The Upside: We believe that this would be a smart move by Meta to start enabling Facebook and Instagram users to create and sell their own NFTs. Meta is well positioned to bank on the NFT market for several reasons: 1. It can convert a good portion of its 2.6B FB users and 1.4B Instagram users to the NFT space and get a rev share of the NFT space. 2. Meta has become one of the most vocal advocates in the NFT/metaverse space. That being said Meta is set to face fierce competition in the space, starting with Samsung which announced the support of NFTs on its Smart TV. Twitter also announced that it is now enabling Twitter to create their NFT profiles. Microsoft, which just bought Activision, and Apple, are also set to play a major role in the NFT/Metaverse space. NFTs ballooned to a $41B market in 2021 and are catching up to the total size of the global fine art market. For more info, you can check out our latest analysis on the NFT Sports market here. You can also check out our sports metaverse ecosystem analysis here.

? Microsoft to gobble up Activision in $69 billion metaverse bet| Via : Reuters

Jan 18 (Reuters) – Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O) is buying “Call of Duty” maker Activision Blizzard (ATVI.O) for $68.7 billion in the biggest gaming industry deal in history as global technology giants stake their claims to a virtual future.

The deal announced by Microsoft on Tuesday, its biggest-ever and set to be the largest all-cash acquisition on record, will bolster its firepower in the booming videogaming market where it takes on leaders Tencent (0700.HK) and Sony (6758.T).

It also represents the American multinational’s bet on the “metaverse,” virtual online worlds where people can work, play and socialize, as many of its biggest competitors are already doing.

“Gaming is the most dynamic and exciting category in entertainment across all platforms today and will play a key role in the development of metaverse platforms,” Microsoft Chief Executive Satya Nadella said.

⬆️ The Upside: This acquisition from Microsoft makes sense for several reasons: 1. Gaming is set to be at the center of the Metaverse race. Microsoft knows this which is why they bought Activision a major player in the gaming space. 2. It will allow Microsoft to boost its market share in the gaming space. According to Newzoo, Microsoft’s gaming market share was 6.5% in 2020 and adding Activision would have taken it to 10.7%. 3. It will also enable Microsoft to increase its gamers install base to 500M. Activision has 400M monthly active users. Microsoft’s X box has 100M monthly active users. By comparison, the PlayStation network has 104M monthly active users. So through this acquisition Microsoft would now have an install base of 500M gamers. For more info, you can check out our latest analysis on the NFT Sports market here. You can also check out our sports metaverse ecosystem analysis here.

How Microsoft Buying Activision Blizzard Might Affect You | Wirecutter

Picture: Microsoft, Activision

? Serena Williams joins Sorare’s board in effort to make Web 3 more inclusive

| Via : Fortune

If sports are the great equalizer, then sports-focused NFTs have the potential to attract an underserved community to the Web 3 space, argues Serena Williams, tennis star and venture capitalist, who announced Thursday she was joining the board of Sorare, a player-owned fantasy sport game leveraging NFTs.

In her newly appointed role, Williams will provide guidance to the board on a range of topics, including developing Sorare’s relationship with athletes, as well as advising on its expansion strategy and its future initiatives to make Web 3 more inclusive and diverse.

“NFTs have the potential to be a powerful tool for bringing equity and investment to women’s sports,” Williams said in the press release. “I’m excited to start working alongside [CEO] Nicolas [Julia] and the team because they understand the relationship between athletes and fans unlike anyone else in the category, and I believe Sorare will be setting the culture and tone of the future of sports entertainment.”

⬆️ The Upside: This announcement from Sorare and Serena Williams should not come as a surprise and makes sense for several reasons. 1. Serena Williams’ husband Alexis Ohanian is already on the board of Sorare and one of Sorare’s angel investors so it was only a matter of time before Serena joins the board of Sorare given her interest in technologies companies. 2. This is part of Sorare’s big push into the US market and Serena Williams’ extensive network should play a key role there. 3. Sorare is another great vehicle for Serena in her quest to promote more diversity in the tech world. We expect some of Serena’s athlete friends to join the Sorare network in the coming months which should help Sorare get more exposure in the US market. For more info, you can check out our latest analysis on the NFT Sports market here. You can also check out our sports metaverse ecosystem analysis here.

Serena Williams Joins Sorare as Board Advisor to Propel Athletes and Fans  Into the Web3 Revolution | Business Wire

Picture: Sorare, Serena Williams

? Brooklyn Nets create virtual ‘Netaverse’ to bring new game experience to fans | Via : USA Today

The Brooklyn Nets are expanding their fan experience to a new virtual realm. The Nets and broadcast affiliate YES Network unveiled their virtual “Netaverse” at the Barclays Center.

The “Netaverse” brings a unique spin to basketball games. It takes live images and creates lifelike 3D renderings in a matter of seconds. The technology is a similar concept to a video game that provides a 360-degree experience for fans.

The Nets debuted the technology against the New Orleans Pelicans this week. The YES Network put together a social video that explains their latest innovation.

⬆️ The Upside: We expect many more NBA teams to follow the footsteps of the Brooklyn Nets. This is the type of hybrid 3D experiences that we will see more in the sports metaverse world. Pro teams will increasingly bring those types of Metaverse experiences as they are already using cameras to enable 3D experiences. Of note, the company that powers the camera to enable such experience, works with NBA, NFL teams and other sports such as pro tennis (e.g. French Open), pro racing (NASCAR). So we expect this tech vendor to bring this type of 3D metaverse experience to other sports in the coming months.

Source: Brooklyn Nets, 2022

? Tom Brady’s buzzy celebrity NFT startup Autograph banks $170M from Silicon Valley’s top crypto investors | Via : TechCrunch

Autograph, an NFT agency co-founded by athlete Tom Brady with a particularly deep bench of star power, has banked new funding from crypto investors who hope the platform can bring a new generation of celebrities and their fans into the fold of crypto collectibles.

The startup tells TechCrunch it has closed a $170 million Series B round led by Andreessen Horowitz and Kleiner Perkins with participation from Katie Haun’s new fund and Lightspeed partner Nicole Quinn. This comes on the heels of a Series A round co-led by 01A and Velvet Sea Ventures that closed this past July. The raise adds three new members to the board, including Haun, a16z’s Arianna Simpson and Kleiner Perkins’s Ilya Fushman.

They join an expansive board with some major names, including Brady, Apple’s Eddy Cue, FTX’s Sam Bankman-Fried and artist Abel Tesfaye, also known as The Weeknd.

⬆️ The Upside: This announcement should not come as a surprise given the growing appetite in the NFT/Metaverse space. It is a win win for all parties. Tom Brady and the other athletes (Tiger Woods, Naomi Osaka..) will be able to capitalize on Autograph’s momentum and leverage their large network of social media followers. For the VCs like Andreessen Horowitz and Kleiner Perkins, this is part of their strategic focus on NFT/Metaverse startups as they are all trying to bet on the next NFT startup unicorn after Dapper Labs and Sorare. Of note, Autograph has now raised $205M to date. You can check out our latest analysis on the Sports Metaverse market here.

Source: Tom Brady

? AR/VR/Video/Digital Sports News

? Apple’s AR/VR headset could be priced above $2,000, feature M1 Pro-like performance | Via : MacRumors

A Friday report indicated that Apple was having trouble with its rumored AR/VR headset due to overheating, camera, and software challenges, which could make the company delay its plans to unveil its Mixed Reality headset this year. Now, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman is back with some more tidbits regarding the product.

In previous reports, Gurman had indicated that Apple’s AR/VR headset will be “pricey.” Although analysts were predicting the product will cost around $3,000, Bloomberg’s journalist says in his latest Power On newsletter that Apple has discussed price points above $2,000.

Apple typically charges a bit more than its competitors for products, locking in margins that have helped it become one of the most profitable consumer-electronics companies ever. The new headset won’t be an exception, but the main reason why the company has discussed price points above $2,000 is because of some of its internal technologies.

Not only that, but Gurman had already pointed out that Apple will likely use the M1 Pro chip – or something similar – to the new AR/VR headset. Today, he explains a bit more about why he thinks that will happen.

⬆️ The Upside: We believe that $2000 would make sense for Apple to price its AR glasses. We even believe that Apple will price its glasses at a higher price for a premium version with better specs. $2000 might just be the entry price point. As we mentioned before, unlike other tech companies like Facebook, Microsoft, Google, Apple has been in no rush to launch AR/VR glasses. In our opinion, Apple is set to change the game in the Metaverse/AR/VR glasses market. According to our sources, all of Apple competitors (Facebook, Microsoft, Google..) are working on a AR/VR hybrid headset. In our view Apple is well positioned to be a leader in the Metaverse space as it can leverage its 1B iOS customers, growing ARkit install base and developers, strong brand, solid history of tight hardware/software integration, and loyal customer base. Apple also has the highest multiple devices ownership rate than any other OEMs out there today. And we expect Apple to convert a good portion of its large install base to its hybrid AR/VR glasses offering.

Picture: Sketch of rumored hybrid AR/VR glasses.

? Wearables, Health, Nutrition News

⌚ Peloton launches new Peloton bike shoes| Via : Bloomberg

For the first time in years Peloton has released new Peloton bike shoes. The Peloton Altos Cycling Shoes are now available for purchase online. The Altos Cycling Shoes retail for $145 USD / $185 CAD. Customers can expect to receive their new shoes within 5-7 days in the U.S. and 14 days in Canada, and will be granted a 30 day return window. The shoes only appear to be currently available in the U.S. and Canada at time of publishing, and are not yet appearing on the U.K., German, or Australian sites.

⬆️ The Upside: This announcement from Peloton makes sense. It nicely complements its new product offering (e.g. new Peloton’s HR band and the AI camera). This is part of Peloton’s overall strategy to create a lifestyle brand with a Peloton’s branded clothing line. But Peloton is set to be a tough year as the company reported a net loss of $372 million in fiscal Q1 2022. Peloton’s market cap has also fallen by at least 80% in the past year. Lastly, there are speculations that Peloton is now looking to cut 41% of its sales and marketing workforce.

The new Peloton Altos Cycling Shoes

Picture: Peloton, 2021

⌚ Apple Watch blood pressure is one step closer to reality| Via : Wareable

Apple Watch blood pressure tracking is one step closer to reality, after one of Apple’s hardware partners reported successful trials of its sensor tech. Health sensor company Rockley Photonics, which already lists Apple as a customer, has developed an infrared (IR) spectrophotometer-based sensor technology, which it says can monitor blood pressure non-invasively.

It’s has been conducting its own in-house pilot human study with a view to performing a larger study on the capabilities of the technology. That pilot human study examined whether its laser-based approach and advanced algorithms could match up to the method that blood pressure monitoring wearables currently on the market adopt. The likes of the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 use optical PPG sensors, but require calibration with a cuff monitor to offer reliable blood pressure monitor readings. The Rockley pilot study featured 40 people using its photonics-based sensor, which was worn on the wrist by participants, and captured over 480 total measurements. And according to the company, the results showed a strong correlation with control blood pressure readings from a cuff.

⬆️ The Upside: This trial is encouraging for Apple but one should not forget that measuring blood pressure from the wrist is not easy and getting reliable BP measurements from the wrist is even harder. We have worked with companies that tried to go that route and failed. What Apple is trying to accomplish here is a difficult task. We believe that Apple is in no rush to release an Apple watch with BP capabilities until the BP measurements can be consistent and reliable. We believe that Apple is likely to launch an Apple Watch that can measure hydration/electrolyte level first then it will introduce an Apple watch with BP capabilities later one. Based on our sources, Apple is currently evaluating 3 vendors to enable the hydration measurement capability.

Wearables that non-invasively monitor blood pressure gets one step closer

? Sports Tech & Health Investment Recap – January 2022/ December 2021

Here is the recap of the major sports startups’ investments in in January 2022/December 2021, which investments reached $661M and were up +63% , compared to November 2021. Like in November 2021, 80% of funding came from Metaverse/NFT startups. This should not come as a surprise given VCs’ growing appetite for NFT/Metaverse startups.

Source: Upside, Confidential, January 2022

New Tech fund & M&As:

  • Animoca Brands has raised $358M in additional funding as it bids to create its vision of an ‘open metaverse’ based on blockchain technology.
  • FTX, a cryptocurrency agency, launched a $2B enterprise capital fund to spend money on blockchain and Web3 applied sciences.
  • Smash Ventures, Backer of Epic Games and Manscaped, raises $500M for New Fund. Click here for details.
  • David Blitzer and Ryan Smith have been confirmed as the new owners of Real Salt Lake (MLS) after completing a $400M takeover.
  • Dragan Solak’s Sport Republic buys ownership stake in Southampton FC. Click here for details.
  • The New York Times Co. bought sports news site The Athletic for $550M as the newspaper print ads business fades. Click here for details.
  • Fanatics acquired Topps trading cards for $500M. Click here for details.
  • New Zealand Rugby (NZR) sold its 40% stake ($1.2M) in Auckland-based Super Rugby outfit the Blues to The Better Blues Company Limited. Click here for details.

? Key Tech Sports Stats of The Month

$13B: StubHub Holdings has expressed interest in going public via a direct listing that could value the ticket exchange and resale company at more than $13 billion, according to Bloomberg.

The parent company of StubHub and London-based Viagogo has filed paperwork with the SEC and could go public as early as this year. StubHub is working with Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and JPMorgan Chase & Co. to facilitate the potential move to the public market.

StubHub to go public in US$13m direct listing, say report - SportsPro

$10.4B: In just one year, the Premier League can bolster the British economy by billions — even amid a global pandemic. In 2019-20, the league made a $10.4 billion economic impact on the U.K., according to a report prepared by Ernst & Young for the league. The impact was widespread. London only received 28% of the economic impact — the rest was felt outside the city.

  • The Premier League supported 94,000 jobs, paying about $4 billion in salaries.
  • Clubs paid $4.9 billion in taxes.
  • $2.5 billion went to the supply chain.
  • International fans traveling to Premier League games generated $602 million.

The league, which began in 1992, hasn’t always offered this much to the nation’s wealth. Its contribution has grown about 840% since the 1998-99 season.

Economic benefits of Premier League confirmed by report

$7.7B: Puma has posted record sales and earnings following the release of preliminary results for the company’s fourth quarter and FY2021. The German sportswear and shoe manufacturer generated $2.01 billion in sales in Q4 2021, up 14% compared to the same period the year prior. Puma’s full-year sales reached a record $7.7 billion, up from $5.8 billion in FY2020 — surpassing Wall Street estimates by over 25%.

Puma’s record financial year is the result of strong global demand for its products despite supply chain constraints and COVID, as well as staff disruptions and shutdowns in Asia.

Puma continues to lean on athlete partnerships to broaden the brand’s global reach.

  • Last September, Brazilian soccer superstar Neymar inked a long-term deal after a 15-year, $210 million deal with Nike ended following an allegation of sexual assault.
  • In December 2021, the company signed 19-year-old Fort Lauderdale CF forward Romeo Beckham to a long-term partnership.
PUMA Launch The Future Z 'Creativity' - SoccerBible

$3.9B: That year-end bump helped make 2021 the second-best year ever for VR/AR investment with nearly $3.9 billion of venture coming to startups—trailing only 2018 which saw nearly $4.4 billion thanks to some large rounds by companies like Magic Leap and SenseTime, according to Crunchbase numbers.

$372M: Peloton continues to struggle following a tumultuous year and revelations of potential layoffs, halted production, and a stock sale by insiders. The company reported a net loss of $372 million in fiscal Q1 2022, a steep increase from the $49.8 million loss in the same period a year prior. Prior to the decline, Peloton executives and insiders sold roughly $500 million worth of stock when share prices were in better shape in the fall of 2020 through much of 2021, per SEC filings.

The at-home fitness brand’s market cap has fallen by at least 80% in the past year. Shares of the company closed at $24.22 on Thursday.

A number of drastic cost-saving measures are underway.

  • Peloton is temporarily pausing production of its bike products from February to March and won’t manufacture its Tread treadmill for six weeks — or its Tread+ at all — in fiscal 2022.
  • The opening of a $400 million Ohio factory has reportedly been delayed.
Peloton Rides a Coronavirus Surge in Home Workouts

$325M: Sorare’s trading volume has grown from $7 million in 2020 to $325 million in 2021, and has over 1 million global users and 230 sports organization partnerships, according to the press release. This year, it aims to expand into women’s sports and new sport categories.

SoftBank leads $680M funding for NFT fantasy soccer game maker Sorare |  VentureBeat

$325M: Major League Soccer has reportedly entered an exclusive negotiating agreement with billionaires Wes Edens and Naseef Sawiris to bring the league’s 30th team to Las Vegas.

The ownership group of the 30th team will reportedly pay $325 million. Phoenix and San Diego were among potential expansion cities named by the league.

  • Edens was part of an investment group that purchased the Milwaukee Bucks in 2014, which also landed the franchise the $524 million Fiserv Forum in 2018.
  • The same year, Eden and Sawiris purchased the Premier League’s Aston Villa.
  • Sawiris serves as Aston Villa’s executive chairman, director of Adidas AG, and executive chairman of investment company NNS Sarl, among other positions.
Report: Multiple groups interested in Las Vegas MLS expansion |

$57.3M: The world’s highest-paid female athletes have made a name for themselves in their respective sports, but most of the women make more money from endorsements than they do competing.

The top 10 accounted for a combined $167 million in pretax earnings according to Forbes, a 23% increase compared to 2020. Tennis star Naomi Osaka topped the list at $57.3 million, with just $2.3 million of that coming from prize money.

The rest of the top five saw similar discrepancies.

  • 2. Serena Williams, tennis: $45.9M ($900K on the field)
  • 3. Venus Williams, tennis: $11.3M ($300K)
  • 4. Simone Biles, gymnastics: $10.1M ($100K)
  • 5. Garbiñe Muguruza, tennis: $8.8M ($2.8M)
The Highest-Paid Female Athletes Score A Record $167 Million

$1,600: Sports fans are now able to buy tickets for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 in November, and the best seats are running around $1,600 each. The least expensive tickets will start around $70 for international travelers and $11 for Qatari residents – the cheapest since Mexico had $3 seats.

Ticket sales, which run until Feb. 8, will be a significant contribution to the $20 billion economic boost anticipated from hosting. Qatar is hoping to attract more than 1.2 million visitors for the World Cup, though the pandemic could affect that goal.

Qatar 2022: 1.2 million tickets sold in 24 hours - The Nation Newspaper

47%: Football athletes dominated the NIL scene, making 47% of NIL earnings. The rest of the top five:

Women’s basketball – 27.3%

Men’s basketball – 15.6%

Women’s volleyball – 2.4%

Baseball – 1.1%

An athlete could make an average of $4,923 per agreement for a “multi-activity” endorsement. Content creation could yield more than $3,000 per item, and an in-person appearance could pay out around $1,700 an hour.

How Much Is NIL Really Worth To Student Athletes?

41%: In a leaked audio recording, Peloton executives discussed plans to terminate 41% of Peloton’s sales and marketing teams and implement minor layoffs throughout its e-commerce and retail divisions.

Peloton Is Imploding, and Leadership Wants Workers To Take the Fall for  Them | After cashing out hundreds of millions of dollars in stock, Peloton  executives plan to cut staff and close

28.2%: In 2Q21, Apple captured 28.2% of the wearable market, but its market share was down YoY. However, shipments were up 9.2% YoY. In 2Q21, Indian boAT wearables storm into top 5 globally. Lastly, the large majority of wearable sales were still cost under $200.

Source: IDC, Top 5 wearable companies market share, 2021.

? Snapshots & Videos of the Month.

New Mixed Reality experience in the NFL: Last week the NFL launched a new mixed reality experience in association with Nickelodeon. You can check out the video here.

WNBA goes “Marvel” style: Check out this awesome video of Brittney Griner ⚡️ ? #wnba #dunk “Marvel style”. There is some magic to it:)

Neymar enters the NFT space: Neymar Jr. has entered the NFT space, reportedly spending over $1.1 million on these two Bored Ape Yacht Club NFTs.

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Dallas Mavericks (NBA) owner looks to bring affordable healthcare to America: Mark Cuban made headlines last week by launching an online pharmacy that offers more than 100 generic drugs at an affordable price.

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Marketing at its best. Adidas has unveiled a giant, floating tennis court off the coast of northeast Australia. Built to bring awareness to Great Barrier Reef conservation, the recyclable court has been donated to a local school. Adidas has pledged to use recycled material for 90% of its lines by 2025.

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