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Sports & Entertainment Spotlight: WWE Hopes to Capitalize on Name, Image, and Likeness Groundswell, and NFTs Compete for Centerstage at Art Basel in Miami

Maybe I am exhausted by the pandemic, jaded by having unvaccinated members of my fantasy football team spend weeks on the National Football League’s (NFL) COVID-19 Reserve List, disheartened by people not looking out for one another or all of the above. But, regardless of one’s views of the virtues of getting vaccinated (or not) against this scourge, if failing to get vaccinated is a selfish choice, then failing to get vaccinated and obtaining a forged vaccination card to evidence your vaccination status to skirt public health protocols is the pinnacle of selfishness. Enter: Tampa Bay Buccaneers Wide Receiver Antonio Brown, who was recently suspended by the NFL for the latter. Brown’s conduct not only calls into question the type of teammate and member of the community he is (prior media reports indicate this is just the tip of the iceberg) , but also may have amounted to a criminal offense – one that could likely give rise to a termination right under Brown’s player contract for a so-called (but in this case, aptly named) “morals violation.” Whatever the case, I will be keeping an eye on that, while hoping that common sense and rationality once again come back into fashion. For now, here’s a knowledge booster dose I like to call the "Spotlight":

    • World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) hopes to capitalize on name, image and likeness groundswell, bringing college athletes real money for the promotion of fake wrestling.
    • Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) took centerstage at Art Basel in Miami, Florida, as electronic dance music DJ, Deadmau5 sought to become Florida’s second most popular mouse and ride the wave of NFTs’ growing adoption to the music industry.
    • On the heels (soles?) of establishing an athlete advisory board a few months ago, footwear brand New Balance takes a further step toward appealing to professional athlete community, this time from the business side, joining forces with sports agent Rich Paul for an endorsement of his own. If New Balance ever wants to pivot back to being a “dad shoe,” I know a 30-something-year-old lawyer with two sons and unabashed dad jokes…

Endorsement Deals, Sponsorships & Investments

New Balance Taps Sports Agent Rich Paul for Latest Product Endorsement
December 6, 2021 via Wall Street Journal - US Business
Sports agent Rich Paul has spent years helping athletes such as LeBron James ink sponsorship deals with major brands. Now he is putting his own stamp on a line of products. New Balance Athletics Inc. has tapped the high-profile executive to customize and launch a shoe and apparel collection.

Notable Celebrities Featured in Profile by Sanford Ad Campaign
December 5, 2021 via Tech Register - Top Stories
The health system announced Profile's new star-studded endorsement lineup in February. “This partnership of strategically selected stars of music, sports and pop culture showcases Profile's commitment to delivering personalized nutrition plans and one-on-one health coaching to transform lives,” a news release stated at the time.

Skateboarder Bryce Wettstein Named Style Director of Skate Apparel Company GEO, Will Launch Signature Line
December 1, 2021 via Forbes – Business (subscription may be required)
At 17 years old, Bryce Wettstein already has a collection of accolades on her résumé that for most appear only on their bucket lists. She is best known, of course, as a teenage pro skateboarder who recently competed for Team USA in the Tokyo 2021 Olympics.

How Artist-Branded Fast-Food Meals Became Music’s Hottest Partnerships
December 1, 2021 via Register Citizen
The most coveted collaboration in music in 2021 isn’t a track from Kenny Beats or a guest verse from Justin Bieber. It’s an artist-branded meal or menu item with a national fast-food chain, thanks to a trend kick-started by Travis Scott and McDonald’s.

Kaia Gerber Earns Calvin Klein Cash in Her Undies
December 1, 2021 via Inquisitr, The (Global)
Kaia Gerber is earning her cash while in skimpy undies. The 20-year-old model and daughter to Cindy Crawford continues to prove her endorsement potential on social media - alongside fronting Marc Jacobs' Daisy fragrance, Kaia is a Calvin Klein face, with a recent photo showing her going #mycalvins.

Paige Bueckers, a College Athlete Who's Cashing In
December 1, 2021 via Bloomberg - Top Stories (subscription may be required)
The basketball star has signed two of the most high-profile “name, image, and likeness” deals since college athletes were free to pursue them starting in July. Her nickname is Paige “Buckets.” Her game day trademark is a Targaryen crown of blond braids.


NFL Wins Oakland ‘Cartel’ Case After $790 Million St. Louis Payout
December 7, 2021 via Sportico – Law (subscription may be required)
In the wake of the NFL agreeing to pay $790 million to St. Louis over the Rams’ move to Los Angeles, a federal appeals court has ruled the league owes nothing to Oakland over the Raiders’ move to Las Vegas.

WWE Turns to College Athletes Via NIL Talent Search Program
December 2, 2021 via Sportico – Business (subscription may be required)
WWE is creating a new collegiate pipeline to find its next generation of stars. The wrestling giant is launching a new NIL program geared toward recruiting and developing college athletes from different backgrounds.

Denver Broncos Interviewing Bankers in Advance of NFL Team Sale
December 2, 2021 via Sportico – Business (subscription may be required)
The Denver Broncos are moving closer to being sold. In the clearest indication yet that an ownership change is imminent, representatives for the team last month interviewed potential sell-side bankers, according to multiple people familiar with the meetings.

NFL Suspends Antonio Brown, Two Others for Lying About Vaccine Status
December 2, 2021 via CNBC
The NFL said Thursday that it had suspended Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Antonio Brown and two other players for three games without pay for lying about their Covid-19 vaccination status.

Film & TV

Korean Formats Agency Something Special Strikes Development Deal With MY Entertainment
December 7, 2021 via Register Citizen
As Korean formats continue their international expansion, Michael Yudin ’s MY Entertainment has partnered with Seoul-based formats agency Something Special to cultivate more creative IP.

BBC Sport Secures Media Rights to Broadcast Next Five World Athletics Championships
December 3, 2021 via BBC - Front Page
The next five World Championships will be broadcast by BBC Sport after an extension to its World Athletics deal. The 2022 World Championships are in Oregon in August, with Britons Dina Asher-Smith and Katarina Johnson-Thompson expected to defend titles won in Doha in 2019.

Nascar Roots Live Racing Events Moving to FloSports, as NBC Sports Gold Winds Down
December 2, 2021 via Variety
Nascar inked a multiyear deal with FloSports that will make the sports streamer the exclusive global home of the Nascar Roots series of 280-plus annual racing events starting in 2022.

Toronto Production Boom Leads to Talent Crunch as Workforce Catches Up to Future Studio Space
December 2, 2021 via Register Citizen
Toronto may have shut down production for nearly four months due to COVID-19, but its film industry has come roaring back stronger than ever now that strict protocols have been launched to manage the pandemic’s impact.

Music Biz

$20 Million In Music Royalties Were Stolen From YouTube
December 6, 2021 via Ubergizmo
Musicians, publishers, and record labels make money from the music they produce through royalties.

ABBA Sues Over Abba Mania Cover Band
December 5, 2021 via Inquirer
In a complaint filed with the United States District Court in Manhattan, lawyers for ABBA accused Abba Mania's managers of “parasitic and bad-faith conduct” by trading off ABBA's goodwill and cachet in promoting Abba Mania.

Comedy Albums by John Mulaney, Patton Oswalt Removed From Spotify Amid Royalties Battle
December 4, 2021 via Register Citizen
Kevin Hart, Tiffany Haddish, Jim Gaffigan and dozens more members of creator's rights group Spoken Giants have content pulled from streaming service.

Musicians Are Dragging Spotify’s CEO For Funding A Military AI Company
December 3, 2021 via VICE
Posting Spotify Wrapped playlists has become an annual end-of-year tradition on social media — and in many ways the shareable listening stats are symbolic of the streaming platform’s dominance over the music industry.

Recording Artist Michael Bublé Receives Official Cease and Desist from Comedian/Upstart Jazz Impresario Bret Raybould
December 2, 2021 via MENAFN - Top Stories
Recording Artist Michael Bublé Receives Official Cease and Desist from Comedian/Upstart Jazz Impresario Bret Raybould.

Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs)

DraftKings Enters Gamified NFT Market With NFLPA Deal
December 7, 2021 via Sportico – Business (subscription may be required)
DraftKings has signed a licensing deal with the NFLPA that indicates the sports gaming company’s intent to expand its blockchain-based offerings. Starting next year, DraftKings’ existing NFT marketplace will sell so-called “gamified NFTs,” digital collectibles featuring the names, images and likenesses of active NFL players.

Platinum-Selling Country Artist Parker McCollum Selects MusicFX
December 7, 2021 via Yahoo Finance - Top Stories, a digital community connecting artists to their fan bases through NFTs, is pleased to announce that platinum-selling country artist Parker McCollum has partnered as MusicFX's first artist. Here's Why the Art Market, Via the NFT Revolution, Will Enjoy Exponential Growth With Artprice
December 7, 2021 via Yahoo Finance - Top Stories
For 25 years now, Artprice by Artmarket – world leader in art market information – has been studying, analyzing and researching the structure of the art market from every possible angle.

Deadmau5 Wants to Go Platinum With a New NFT Song—And a Bus Campaign at Art Basel Miami Is Helping Promote It
December 3, 2021 via Forbes – Business (subscription may be required)
Since the Recording Industry Association of America introduced the idea of “going platinum,” the milestone of selling 1 million albums has been coveted by musicians throughout the evolution of formats. Now, DeadMau5 has a plan to go platinum in the crypto era.

NFTs Next Hit May Be Music Industry, Former Manager For Elton John, Beyonce Says
December 2, 2021 via Yahoo Finance - Top Stories
As a former music manager who once counted Elton John, Beyonce and Guns N' Roses as clients, Merck Mercuriadis has an eye for talent and a knack for identifying trends.

Independent Musicians Are Making Big Money From NFTs. Can They Challenge the Music Industry?
December 2, 2021 via News Break - Top Stories
Independent musicians are making big money from NFTs. Can they Challenge the music industry?

Sports NFT Sales Projected to Double in 2022, Deloitte Says
December 1, 2021 via Sportico – Business (subscription may be required)
Sports NFTs aren’t going anywhere, according to predictions released by Deloitte Wednesday. Its experts predict sports-related NFTs will account for more than $2 billion in transactions next year, roughly doubling the 2021 figure. By the end of 2022, Deloitte projects up to five million sports fans getting into crypto collectibles.

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