10/25/21: The Costacos Collection continued the NFT push for sports collectables

 

Medias First Morning Read

 

Monday October 25, 2021

There is no doubt the NFT rise will continue to be one of the key sports business growth stories of 2021. However, what we are still learning is where the value is and how the market will play out with collectors and fans. One thing that has stood out is that original content, and the owner of the IP is the path to success. We have seen that with the NBA and Top Shot, and in the recent valuation of Candy Digital. Another growing example of valuable IP is in the non-licensed creative world, where original works of digital art are now finding a new audience.

Case in point was last week when The Costacos Collection launched. Anyone who knew sports in the ‘80’s ‘90s or 2000’s probably had a Costacos on their wall, as John Costacos’ unique way to capture athletes from Charles Barkley to The Oakland A’s “Bash Brothers” to Jim McMahon and Michael Jordan. Now relaunched as digital art, Costacos’ work will reach a new audience as NFTs. We asked CEO Justin Moorad, no stranger to success as the son of legendary super agent and former MLB owner Jeff Moorad, to break down the opportunity

Moorad on the unique interest in the Costacos Collection: The Collection combines some of the most memorable sports art in history and is partnered with many of the athletes who John worked with in the 1980’s and 90s, many of whom we have brought along for the digital project, which will not just recreate the artwork millions know and love, it will also create new pieces with new elements of production that can now be done as an NFT. For collectors and fans, especially those of a certain age, this artwork brings back amazing memories that made these static posters a must have. Now they can enjoy and share them in a digital form. Most importantly, John’s iconic coolness in creating the artwork resonates with a younger audience as well, one which embraces and understands the value of NFT’s. So we start out winning with a very large audience, and can only get bigger.

On the athletes involved: We have signed exclusive deals with some of the biggest names to develop and distribute the pieces John creates with them. Even more important to many of these elite athletes of the past is that a percentage of sales goes to their charity of choice. For example, this past Sunday we dropped our first NFT, a unique homage to Wille Mays, and Willie donated all of his proceeds to his “Say Hey Foundation.” The ability to use this new medium toward that end was of huge importance to Willie and his family.

On the value of Topps as a partner: Those who are bemoaning the death of Topps given some recent news are going to be in for a surprise, and we are glad to be able to be working with them on a series of future initiatives. There is great interest in creating limited edition custom on-demand cards from John’s existing work, but even more fun as word has gotten out is that there are a host of athletes, many of whom have relationships with Topps, who want to have their own “Costacos” moment. That is very interesting to us, and we think Topps is a great partner to help us reach an extremely engaged collector audience in the card. Pop culture and art space.

On how digital art differs from what the leagues offer: Creating works of art, especially art that is deeply ingrained in pop culture for years to come, is something that John Costacos has already done at the highest level of success. We know that John will be more than successful in doing this once again, and we know there is tremendous upside. While there is no doubt that the IP the leagues have for live action and licensed content is very important and the market, especially for the NBA and as of this week for the MLB, and soon the NFL, is taking shape, we believe that collectors value unique art with stories well beyond a dunk or a home run. We operate in a unique space that has crossover not just for collectors and the pop culture community, but for fans as well.

On value to brands: The brand involvement in the digital space and the NFT business is just taking shape, but there are plenty of ways that you can create limited edition content with brands that can bring added exposure, revenue, and value for consumers. We think you will especially see endemic brands in apparel, footwear and beverage categories, ones with deep ties to sport, look to this area soon, and we are actively pursuing partnerships that will bring value to our collectors and brands.

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PROGRAMMING

Major League Baseball revealed FOX’s broadcast schedule for the 2021 World Series, set to open tomorrow and pitting the Braves and Astros. ESPN Radio will offer live national coverage of all games of the 2021 World Series while MLB Network will air extensive pregame and postgame coverage throughout the Fall Classic, and produce the World Series broadcast for MLB International. Play opens at Houston tomorrow at 7:30p, with Game 2 on Wednesday. The series flips to Atlanta for the next trio (if necessary) on Oct. 29,30 and 31, with possible Games 6 and 7 in Houston on Nov. 2 and 3.

Thursday Night Football saw the Cleveland Browns’ 17-14 win over the Denver Broncos seen by an average audience of 13.1 million across all platforms, including FOX, NFL Network, FOX Deportes, NFL digital, FOX Sports digital, Amazon Prime Video, Twitch and Yahoo Sports mobile properties. That number was up 23% versus last year’s Week 7 Thursday Night Football matchup between the Giants and Eagles. Season-to-date, Thursday Night Football tri-cast games on FOX, NFL Network and Amazon Prime Video are averaging 14.2 million viewers across all platforms – up 10% vs. the comparable point last season.

Wednesday night saw the Knocks’ double overtime victory over the Celtics rank as ESPN’s most-watched Wednesday season-opening game in 18 years, according to Nielsen. The telecast averaged 1.96 million viewers. Overall, last night was ESPN’s most-watched season-opening doubleheader since 2017.

More movement in the collegiate ranks as Southern Miss is poised to join the Sun Belt Conference, with an announcement expected today. The school would likely join other new members of the conference, which will reportedly also include James Madison University, Marshall and Old Dominion, according to multiple reports. Southern Miss becomes the latest school to depart Conference USA, which last week lost six other members — UAB, Florida Atlantic, Charlotte, North Texas, Rice and UTSA — to the American Athletic Conference.

The 2022 Guaranteed Rate PBA Tour schedule was revealed for next year’s slate with competition starting in January with the first of 13 official events. In April, the top 16 players on the points list earn a trip to the Playoffs. Every match of the PBA Playoffs elimination bracket will be televised, with the ultimate finals match on FOX on May 15. FOX Sports is the primary television home of PBA Tour season coverage for the fourth consecutive year, with more than 50 hours upcoming on FS1, and eight hours on FOX Broadcast Channel. CBS Sports Network will again present the PBA Tour Finals, featuring the top eight players from a two-year rolling points system, live in June.

SPONSORSHIP & PROMOTION

BetMGM signed former NBA star Kevin Garnett as its newest brand ambassador. The Hall of Fame power forward will be featured in the firm’s upcoming marketing campaigns, promotions, social media content and fan events. “I’m thrilled to be working with BetMGM to share their insights with my fans,” said Garnett. “It’s a natural fit for both myself and BetMGM given our mutual desire to stay on top of the ever-changing sports business landscape.”

DIGITAL, DATA & TECH

FIFA is reportedly ending its licensing contract with EA Sports, according to the New York Times. The publication reported that negotiations were halted after the soccer company requested that the gamer double its licensing fee of $150 million per year to $1 billion every four years. Meanwhile, EA registered a trademark for “EA Sports F.C.”

Caesars Entertainment announced its Caesars Sportsbook app is officially available for download and sign-up by eligible sports fans in Louisiana. “Louisiana and the entire Gulf Coast region are a special part of the Caesars family. We couldn’t be more excited to build on our longstanding commitments in the state with the launch of legal sports betting,” said Eric Hession, Co-President of Caesars Digital. “We know how passionate Bayou State sports fans are about their teams and we’re confident our brand-new Caesars Sportsbook app and the exciting offers we have for launch can offer them a sports experience that can’t be matched.”

Meanwhile, the Minnesota Timberwolves announced a partnership with Betway. The multi-year deal will feature Betway branding on-court including the court apron and the top of the backboard, in addition to LED and TV-visible signage inside Target Center.

ESPORTS

The ESL Pro League is adding Big, Furia and Heroic as the series’ newest partner teams. The agreement saw Big, Furia and Heroic each bid almost $20 million for their spot and the three squads will join the 12 existing partner teams to participate in the league on an ongoing basis. “These teams and their investors have recognized the value of what we are building with the ESL Pro League project,” said Alex Inglot, the ESL Pro League’s commissioner.

FlyQuest revealed that the 12,095 trees from the TreeQuest initiative have been officially planted. TreeQuest has been just one aspect of FlyQuest’s Go Green Initiatives. Every item purchased from the FlyQuest store sees another tree planted.

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The Seattle Kraken are the NHL’s latest expansion team, but where did one of the NHL’s 1974 expansion teams, the Kansas City Scouts, wind up? Answer: New Jersey (via Colorado). Kudos: Brian Traynor-Endeavor/NY; Denis Barry-CBS/NY; Chris Long-DraftKings/NY; Bill Hirsh-Learfield/NY; Art Salisch-Nielsen/New Jersey; Matt Sautter-WideOrbit/Harrisburg; Richard L. Mann-Mann Marketing/Dumont; Daniel Rioux-PUSH 22/Bingham Farms; Mike Evranian-NASCAR/Richmond; Jason Brist-Outdoor Sportsman Group/Chicago; Andy Pittman-TAMU/College Station; David Hauptman/Denver; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA; David Westberg-SAG•AFTRA Credit Union/Burbank

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