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Sports & Entertainment Spotlight: Power Moves in the Sports Arena: Coca-Cola Buys Remaining Control of Sports Drink, BodyArmor

Part of what I love about having a Sports Law practice is exactly what makes it difficult to cram everything I want to discuss into each week’s installment of the "Spotlight." No, it’s not that athletic prowess is not required. Rather, my work is wildly diverse, as it's comprised of many constituent bodies of law. By focusing on just one legal issue, a heap of thought-provoking, topical stories are given short shrift. That is why, to make the Spotlight a little more well-rounded (incidentally, “well-rounded” is exactly why I lacked athletic prowess in my early years), I have decided to retire the “Right of Publicity” section in favor of a broad “Sports” category.  This will enable me to cover more ground, and perhaps allow me to sleep at night (my kids have other ideas). With that explanation out of the way, let’s take this souped-up knowledge machine for a spin:

    • With this week’s $8 billion acquisition of sports drink brand BodyArmor, Coca-Cola not only shored up its sports beverage portfolio (which already includes Powerade), but also boosted the portfolios of many stars who invested in the brand. Among them, was the late Kobe Bryant, whose estate reportedly netted a whopping $400 million.
    • Trailblazing a path for those who come after him is 17-year-old basketball phenom Mikey Williams who has linked up with athletic apparel brand Puma, becoming the first American high schooler to land a global endorsement deal.  From the sound of it, his back to school clothes shopping for his senior year of high school will be all taken care of.
    • Electronic dance music mega-group Swedish House Mafia forges a partnership with Swedish household furniture retailer IKEA. Exact compensation details of the deal are undisclosed, but it is rumored (by me) that a portion of it will be paid in meatballs and difficult-to-assemble furniture.
    • Quentin Tarantino’s name is synonymous with film storytelling from the end, but it may soon be with NFT monetization of “never before seen” clips, repurposing uncut scenes from Pulp Fiction. A Royale with Cheese NFT may soon follow.

Endorsement Deals, Sponsorships & Investments

San Diego State Football Team Receives Sponsorship From College HUNKS Hauling Junk and Moving
November 2, 2021 via 24-7 Press Release
College HUNKS Hauling Junk and Moving, an industry leader in stress-free solutions for moving and junk-hauling needs, recently announced an endorsement deal with the San Diego State football team.

17-Year Old Mikey Williams Signs a Historic Endorsement Deal With Puma
November 2, 2021 via EBONY
17-year-old basketball phenom Mikey Williams has signed a multiyear footwear and apparel deal with Puma, making him the first American high school basketball player to sign an endorsement deal with a global footwear company, ESPN reported.

Beckham Brands Partner GBG International Close to Administration
November 1, 2021 via Sky News – Business
David Beckham's consumer products licensing joint venture partner is close to financial collapse – a move which could hasten the former Manchester United midfielder gaining full control of the business.

Stars Cash in With Coca-Cola’s $8 Billion BodyArmor Purchase
November 1, 2021 via Sportico – Business (Subscription may be required)
Over the past decade, there has been a surge in the number of athletes forgoing cash in exchange for equity in endorsement deals with startup companies.

Epoch Lacrosse Signs University of North Carolina Star Jamie Ortega to Sponsorship Deal
November 1, 2021 via Forbes – SportsMoney (subscription may be required)
When Jamie Ortega heard about the NCAA creating an interim policy this summer that allowed college athletes to profit off of their name, image and likeness, she found the concept intriguing.

Street League Skateboarding Strengthens Partner Roster
October 28, 2021 via Shop Eat Surf Industry Releases
Street League Skateboarding announced two new additions to its stable of 2021 SLS Championship Tour partners.

Matt Damon Stars in Ad—the Latest Celebrity to Endorse Cryptocurrency
October 28, 2021 via Ad Age, a crypto currency platform, kicked off a new global ad campaign today starring Matt Damon.

11 Celebrities Cashing in on Cannabis
October 27, 2021 via LA Weekly
As cannabis becomes a go-to source for a myriad of health benefits, celebrity endorsements are normalizing the herb more than ever.


Alex Rodriguez, Serie A and FaZe Clan: This Week’s Most Interesting Sports Business Stories
October 28, 2021 via Forbes – Business (subscription may be required)
In last week’s SportsMoney Playbook: the billion-dollar esports company, the NHL's highest-paid players and an MLB bat maker ready to expand.

NFL Faces Public Backlash and Unresolved Media Deals at League's 2021 Fall Meetings
October 28, 2021 via CNBC - Business News
The NFL held its first in-person owners meeting in over 600 days to discuss the latest issues surrounding the league.

NILs, Surrogate Markets and the Future of College Sports
October 27, 2021 via Forbes – Business (subscription may be required)
Big changes are underway that will change the face of college sports in the United States.

Jamie Ortega’s Epoch NIL Deal Marks One of the First Major Brand Deals for a Female Lacrosse Athlete
November 1, 2021 via Forbes (subscription may be required)
Epoch Lacrosse, a design and technology company specializing in lacrosse, has signed UNC senior attacker Jamie Ortega to help promote its brand.


Film & TV

Sony Renews Media Rights Deal With UEFA for Three Years
October 30, 2021 via BrandEquity (Economic Times) - Recent Stories
Sony Pictures Networks India will have exclusive TV and digital rights for UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League, UEFA Youth League, UEFA Super Cup and the newly launched UEFA Europa Conference League.

Scott Evans Expands Relationship With NBCUniversal, Inks Talent and Development Deal
October 27, 2021 via Greenwich Time
Mónica Marie Zorrilla provided by Emmy-nominated entertainment journalist and USA Network's “America's Big Deal” host Scott Evans will expand his existing NBCUniversal relationship with an overall talent and development deal with the network.

The Office Star BJ Novak's Face Accidentally Ended up in Public Domain, so He's Being Used to Sell Random Products Across the World
October 27, 2021 via Metro
Celebrities' faces are often slapped on perfumes, herbal aids and even cryptocurrency without their endorsement or knowledge, leading to customer confusion and often legal action from the star in question.

Media Rights Value Set to Soar and Digital, New Franchises Could be Game Changers
October 27, 2021 via Money Control
From a larger focus on digital rights to sports being a key genre for TV, analysts point to different facets that will drive up the value of the media rights.


Music Biz

Dr. Dre, Will.I.Am, Issa Rae Give Early 'Yes' to Proposed School Arts Initiative
November 2, 2021 via Los Angeles Times - Education News
Depleted public schools arts programs would get a huge boost under a proposed statewide ballot initiative with A-list endorsements from entertainment and music industry figures including Dr. Dre, Jimmy Iovine, Will.I.Am, and Issa Rae.

Devo Don't Know if Would-Be Reagan Assassin Got Royalties for 'I Desire,' But it's Also Not Their Problem
October 27, 2021 via Register Citizen
John Hinckley Jr. recently claimed on Twitter he hasn't seen a cent for the song, which incorporates and interpolates a poem he wrote for Jodie Foster.

Swedish House Mafia x IKEA: a Partnership Made in Heaven
October 29, 2021 via CelebrityAccess
In a brand pairing that’s at the same time obvious and unusual, IKEA is teaming up with electronic music’s Swedish House Mafia to explore music and creativity at home.

Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs)

Deadmau5, Gregory Siff Merge Digital and Physical Art With Solana NFT Drop
November 2, 2021 via CoinDesk - Top Stories
Electronic music staple Deadmau5 is tapping Looks Rare, a new metaverse studio, to launch NFTs on the Solana blockchain.

Warner Bros Launches 'Matrix' NFTs
November 2, 2021 via Benzinga
Warner Bros, an entertainment brand owned by AT&T Inc., intends to launch NFTs featuring its "Matrix" franchise.

Tebow NFT Company to Debut ’08 Gators Art as Colleges Join Craze
November 2, 2021 via Sportico – Business
At the intersection of evolving NIL policies and explosive NFT growth, Tim Tebow-founded Campus Legends will put out its first set of school and athlete-licensed college sports digital collectibles starting this week.

Our Lady Peace to Release Canada's First-Ever NFT Album
October 28, 2021 via BNN Bloomberg Canada
Archive Award-winning rock band Our Lady Peace is releasing their latest album as an NFT, becoming the first artists in Canadian history ever to do so.

GigLabs Raises $4.5 Million Seed Round Led By Dapper Labs and Panoramic Ventures to Help Brands Launch NFTs
October 28, 2021 via Latest VC & PE News
Leading brands have relied on GigLabs to launch NFT projects on Flow blockchain including CNN, Turner Sports, Speedway Motorsports, and University of Miami.

Quentin Tarantino to Offer Seven Uncut Scenes From ‘Pulp Fiction’ as NFTs
November 2, 2021 via CNBC
The award-winning director and writer is auctioning off seven uncut scenes from “Pulp Fiction” as NFTs, also including original handwritten scripts from the film and exclusive audio commentary from Tarantino himself.

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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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