Welcome to this week's edition of Extra Innings. December will mirror July when sports leagues began to return to action. The college basketball season is quickly approaching as states add restrictions, which will threaten the opening weekend. NBA rookies are searching for shoe endorsements during the draft process as the NBA season is only one month away.
There is typically great fanfare associated with the NBA draft as brands look to capitalize on the promise of each year’s new players. This year is different, with the pandemic surging as companies debate how to spend marketing and sponsorship dollars. Nike and Adidas currently have no shoe-deal budget.
It is highly unusual for top-10 picks to approach a draft without a shoe deal. This year, one player, LaMelo Ball, has a deal with Puma prior to the draft. That leaves rookies in a unique position as the new season approaches. If signings are delayed, lower drafted players who typically sign deals in the days leading up to the season will miss out on deals entirely. Even if this year’s drafted players play well during the season, there may not be a big paycheck waiting as the attention turns to the next draft class.
Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney purchased a fifth-division English soccer team called Wrexham AFC. This is the latest example of American capital invested in a European soccer club. This purchase is meant to create a “Hard Knocks” - esque documentary of the team.
Soccer, the most popular sport in the world, has fans who have an insatiable appetite for additional content. In the last few years, six top division teams created documentaries on Netflix and Amazon. Reynolds and McElhenney plan to invest $2.64 million into the club and could potentially double the return depending on the success of the documentary. The actors plan to generate significant buzz as the team climbs the promotional ladder.
Notable Information From the Sports World:
Olympics: Despite the surge in Coronavirus cases worldwide, IOC President Thomas Bach is confident fans will be present at the Olympics summer of ‘21. Bach spoke to the success of the trial runs last week and used that as evidence that fans can participate in the games.
Cricket: Major League Cricket will enter the US sports market in 2022. The league secured its first stadium in Texas, as it plans to retrofit the Texas Airhogs’ Stadium in Grand Prairie, TX. MLC hopes to have six franchises by its launch in 2022.
March Madness: With college basketball starting the last week of November, officials have started planning March Madness, as the NCAA can’t afford to cancel those games. The NCAA tentatively plans to play all 68 games in Indianapolis, IN, due to its central location and access to multiple field houses.
Pro Bowl: The Pro Bowl has seen many modifications since its inception and has officially gone digital. Selected players will play against each other in the popular Madden ‘21 video game. This platform will allow the league to engage with new brands and provide fans with unique access to star players.