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Posts from March 2023.

TikTok Football PlayerWelcome back to the Spotlight – to you and me alike. With my being AWOL for the past two weeks, I would like to say that I was doing research to perfect my brackets or chasing leprechauns. But, since I do not have a pot of gold from either pursuit, I guess we can chalk up my absence to some behind-the-scenes retooling for the third year (wow!) of this blog/newsletter/digest.

Yes, as we celebrate our third anniversary (leather is the traditional gift, by the way) we show no signs of slowing down. The Spotlight also has the added benefit of not being a national security threat.

The same cannot be said for TikTok, whose name echoes the countdown to its possible shutdown. Understandably, voices throughout the sports and entertainment industry are concerned that cutting the American people off from TikTok’s short form video platform may not only hurt collegiate athletes whose NIL marketing value is highly correlated to their social media following, but also artists and musicians whose music can be taken to new heights through viral dance accompaniments (and other things I am getting too old to understand). But, to them I say: “not to worry.” On the whole, the risk of being spied on by a foreign adversary seems to carry a little more weight. And in any event, once upon a time, there was another short form video platform called “Vine” that was abruptly discontinued and replaced with a short form video platform called…TikTok. So maybe the answer lies in a Vine reboot – after all, nowadays sequels and reboots dominate the entertainment spotlight.

    • Tiger Woods’ TMRW Sports nets a trio of past and present NBA superstars on its cap table as Shaquille O’Neal, Dwyane Wade and Kevin Durant invest in the tech-forward sports venture.

    • Comedian Kevin Hart signs a multi-year extension with SiriusXM for the development of podcasts and radio shows on its satellite platform. No small feat from a man that has two of them.

    • In an apparent victory for common sense, the prospective FIFA Women’s World Cup Sponsorship by Saudi Arabia’s tourism authority has been called off. Turns out that using women’s sports as a vehicle to encourage travel to a nation with an inferior record for women’s rights is not a good look. Go figure.

    • Lindsay Lohan is among a list of eight celebrities accused by the Securities Exchange Commission of promoting cryptocurrencies without adequately disclosing she was being compensated to do so. She can add that to her rap sheet that includes allegedly pushing Regina George in front of a bus.

Welcome back to the Spotlight, and with it (in like a lion…) the college basketball-dominated month of March.  And wow, in case it was not on your radar, madam, allow me to fulfill my civic duty to level with you and refer you to the fact that today’s date (3/2/23) is a palindrome—a mirror-image sequence that reads the same backwards and forwards. Bonus points if you caught all of them in that sentence. With that backdrop, as good a place as any at which to start is with two young women of college basketball who are mirror images of one another: The Cavinder Twins. Haley and Hanna (almost a palindrome) Cavinder are two of the most recognized names in the NIL era, leveraging their star power and social media following to command multiple six figure endorsement deals at Fresno State University and more recently at the University of Miami. So, that is perhaps why late last week the NCAA made its very first NIL era enforcement action with regard to conduct surrounding the Cavinders and the apparent inducements given to them to become Miami Hurricanes.  In doing so, the NCAA appears to this writer and to many other observers to be taking a shot across the bow to universities and their boosters (i.e., affiliated alumni who support the school’s athletic programs) alike, notwithstanding the relatively light penalties (a three game suspension for the Cavinders’ coach, a fine and a limited restriction on recruitment activities), but it stopped short of dissociating the billionaire booster from the University. However, as much as the move seemed calculated to send a message to take another look in the mirror before acting, it also seemed to signal self-restraint out of fear of being embroiled in a politically and financially costly antitrust litigation. Speaking of politics, the NCAA’s best chance of again wielding decisive enforcement power lies with comprehensive federal legislation from the house of mirrors that is the US Congress. So the question remains: unless/until that happens, is the NCAA’s use of the Cavinders’ recruitment a high profile bluff or a prelude to its dropping the hammer on the next booster looking to lure an athlete with a spotlight?

    • Music copyrights still appear to be an attractive investment for private equity markets, as Lyric Capital closes a fund with $800 million in commitments. Meaning, it’s still not too late for me to begin writing music. On the other hand, singing is out of the question. 
    • Undoubtedly fueled by the success of the Netflix docuseries, Formula 1, Formula One racing enjoyed record fan attendance last year. Fan engagement that brings people from their living room to the stands seems to be a formula won. 
    • Adidas renewed its partnership with Major League Soccer to outfit its players for the 2023 Season, narrowly averting the prospect of barefooted, shirts and skins soccer matches. 

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The Sports, Arts & Entertainment group at Foster Garvey provides full service legal representation on sports, entertainment and business matters, including handling transactions related to brand management, licensing, joint ventures, venture capital, private equity, technology, the Internet and new media.
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