The new Premier League owner with a power struggle off the pitch


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Last year, when my colleague Christine Zhang and I started reporting on the first FT story about a lesser-known market. NBA top shotWe joked that we needed two full-time journalists a week to worry about the idea of ​​NFT, an irreplaceable token. Now it was unbelievable that they would be ubiquitous both inside and outside the sports industry.

This week’s scoreboard delves into how the industry has evolved in a very short amount of time. But something else has changed. Two years after the pandemic, it’s clear enough that modern life is becoming more and more established in the digital realm.It’s clear from MicrosoftBig bet Activision Blizzard, from Facebook Owner MetaPush to NFT, and NikeAcquisition of collectable platform RKFKT.. In other words, the big bet is that you can live more online, not less.

But first, we’ll step into the Balkans in search of another type of acquisition story. Please read- Sarah Germano, correspondent for US sports business

Southampton’s new owner is fighting a political battle at home

Dragan Shorak (second from left): Red and White © Peter Nicholls / Reuters

Dragan Shorak A millionaire who likes to work out of the limelight.He spent more than 20 years building the Medes, which is English Premier League A soccer club that changed everything.

Through a London-based investment vehicle Sports Republic, Solak Purchased 80% stake of SouthamptonThe Southern England-based team is confident that the demand for football rights will continue to grow as online streaming platforms compete with traditional broadcasters to show sports around the world.

“Looking at the inflation of elite sports rights prices, if we went crazy like this, we wanted to be a sports business rather than a broadcasting business,” he told the scoreboard.

Serbian-born media tycoon He says he’s on the phone Since the acquisition was confirmed, the club’s value, including debt, has been around £ 250m to confirm his net worth from the editors of the extensive list.

This is far from Solak’s first encounter with the Premier League, the world’s wealthiest domestic football division.As the founder of United GroupDespite being a minority shareholder, he still owns the right to screen top-class British football games in much of the Balkans.

On the surface, the acquisition also shows Solak’s swing from the buyer of the broadcast right to the indirect recipient of the television money paid by the broadcast right.

Below the radar is United’s grip on Premier League broadcast rights ending at the end of the season. This shows a clash between a businessman and Serbian President Alexander Vucci, who accuses Solak of cracking down on independent media.

This is because Serbian state broadcaster Telekom Srbija invested an estimated € 600 million last year over the next six years. This is about 10 times the annual price paid by United.

Solak’s theory is that TS is acquiring sports screening rights from his independent news channel with a political tactic designed to seduce subscribers to non-governmentally critical state channels.

The TS did not overpay, denied political incentives, and added that it “funds the transaction solely from its financial resources and capabilities.”

This controversy poses an unpleasant question to the Premier League. I was forced to break up With the former chair Gary Hoffman About the decision to approve last year’s Saudi-led acquisition Newcastle United At £ 305m, while transactions with state-sponsored entities are being scrutinized.

People near the Premier League say it’s not uncommon to see the value of broadcast transactions jump.

Solak argued that the acquisition of Southampton had nothing to do with the interests of the media and vowed that he “did not want to abuse his position in the Premier League.”

$ 2 Billion Sports NFT Industry Profit and Pit

Ibtihaj Muhammad: en garde, encryption © Lucy Nicholson / Reuters

Around this time last year, the acronym “NFT” had little meaning to anyone but the true blockchain Die Hard. But it was the NBA top shot. National Basketball Association When Dapper Labs, NFT-based crypto consumer product platform.

Basketball star athlete today Kevin Durant To Olympic fencing players Eve Tihar Jim Muhammad Is publishing digital merchandise, and sports NFTs are expected to become a $ 2 billion industry in 2022, doubling in size over the past year. Deloitte..

This astronomical growth has attracted the same amount of enthusiasm and skepticism for NFTs from some of the top sports athletes and deal makers. Latest scoreboard movie..

As a fun exercise, another recent documentary about collectable madness, HBO’s “Beanie Mania“. Anyone over the age of 25 may remember the sharp rise and disastrous fall of stuffed animals in the late 1990s.

So what’s the difference between NFT mania? If so, how can a knowledgeable collector or entrepreneur avoid a potential bust?

Keep in mind that leagues jumping into the blockchain aren’t looking for a quick source of revenue enough to identify the next big tech giant.

“This is the Internet in 1996,” he said. Joe Ruggero, Senior Vice President of Consumer Products in the United States National football league. “Looking back, I’m going to say that some great things happened and some things probably didn’t make sense. But the next Amazon, Google, and perhaps anyone who is there now, I’m starting to think about what this means for the next 10 years. “

There are many potential NFT pitfalls, including the potential for use as a means of money laundering.Regulatory authority Scramble ring To catch up with the explosion of crypto products. The speculative nature of NFT values ​​— collectibles traded with millions in the secondary market — Create digital natives like gamers, I doubt it.

But for sports enthusiasts, there are more ways to derive “true” value from digital assets. Facebook and Instagram Prepare the method For users to create their own NFTs and display them in their profiles. Professional athletes see NFTs as a rare way to build direct relationships with their fans, and in some cases incorporate privileges such as welcoming them to the sale of fan tokens.

There is no right answer as to the proper price for NFTs. “People need to decide whether to buy for the true love of collecting NFTs, so if you want to make money with it,” he said. Rich Clayman, Co-founder with Durant 35 ventures. “That’s the value to you.”


FIFA: Virtual Soccer © Mark Ralston / AFP via Getty Images

  • Electronic Arts, Manufacturer FIFA With soccer Formula one Video games Next target The $ 200 billion gaming industry is discussing FT’s Lex column.Such transactions will continue Microsoft$ 75 billion acquisition Activision BlizzardA move designed to drive technology companies to the Metaverse, the immersive virtual world is being built by leading technology companies.

  • China is trying to prevent confusion Winter olympic games With harsh behavior Sacrifice economic growth For international fame. Rex analyzes the economic impact and shows that games are becoming an expensive exercise for China.

  • With technology investors Golden State Warriors Minority owner Chamath Palihapitiya It was a fire this week After saying in a podcast, “No one cares what’s happening to Uighurs,” Republican politicians rallied after Paris Hapitiya’s latest special-purpose acquisition company proceeded to buy a healthcare company. ..

  • Lacoste, one of Novak DjokovicMajor sponsors of I’m going to “review” The event that led to the deportation of tennis stars from Australia highlighted the potential fallout of athletes who had not been vaccinated against Covid-19.

  • Djokovic has financial influence, while Australian OpenForbidden to attend such a lucrative event will be debilitating for most tennis players.This will dig deeper into tennis finances Scoreboard videoFeaturing the legendary tennis champion Billie Jean King..

  • Joe Gebbia, Co-founded Home Sharing Platform Airbnb Participated in 2008 Investor group Owns San Antonio Spurs, With Holt Family remains the largest shareholder National Basketball Association team.Investment company Six Street And computing billionaire Michael Dell I am a fellow shareholder after the transaction in June last year.

Transfer market

Serena Williams: Irreplaceable © Gonzalo Fuentes / Reuters

  • Tennis champion Serena Williams Served as an advisor to the board of directors SolareRun an online fantasy sports game featuring NFT goods. The French tech company was worth more than $ 4 billion in led funding. Softbank last year.

Final whistle

Mark Mollesley: Aldershot from the hips © @ Official Shots

Soccer players and managers are accustomed to being criticized in wooden, script and media management match interviews. But sometimes, the boring exception goes just for that.Therefore, the latest great pre-match press conference has become viral thanks to Mark Mollesley, Manager Aldershot Town, Penguins in briefcases, bath water, and “4 Japanese-speaking dogs” took an unconventional approach to preview the club’s next match.

He became viral.. Not bad for teams playing in the fifth tier of England football. Speaking of seagulls and trawlers Eric Cantona I’m proud…

The scoreboard was created by Samuel Agini, Murad Ahmed, Arash Massoudi in London, Sara Germano in New York, James Fontanella-Khan and Anna Nicolaou, and is the team that creates the Dew Regency Newsletter, a global network of FT correspondents and data. There is a contribution from.Visualization team

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