Content & Sports: How It Will Shape The Future of Sports

Sports is changing.

The media landscape is changing.

In this new era, content will be king.

Let Me Explain 👇

What’s Happening

As the media landscape shifted from the internet → mobile devices & social media we saw sports get impacted directly.

Athlete-driven media has taken over:

  • Pat Mcafee ($85M w/ ESPN)
  • Brandon Marshall ($$ w/ SiriusXM)
  • Travis Kelce (~$3M w/ New Heights)
  • Adam Breneman (co-founder Mercury)
  • Will Compton ($3M w/ Barstool Sports)
Brandon Marshall x SiriusXM
Brandon Marshall x SiriusXM

Many of the higher-end athletes have even gone straight to building production studios.

And recently…

Peter Chernin’s new venture North Road Co. invested ~$10M in Peyton Manning’s Omaha productions, valuing them at $400M.

So where’s this going?

Downstream to College

This shift in media will be most apparent in college sports over the next several years.

And for an array of reasons:

1️⃣ NIL

As we’re all aware…

Athletes can monetize their name, image, and likeness.

college sports content

This has created a frenzy to start building brands — which naturally happens on social media.

From there, monetization occurs on the content athletes create (which is mostly achieved through video content).

2️⃣ Transfer Portal

NIL money is having a massive impact on where players decide to go play.

This has created an interesting dynamic…

Schools need to innovate — to attract players (and also retain the current ones they have).

transfer portal numbers
Data via On3 & NCAA (6/6/23)

It’s about becoming more appealing beyond just paying athletes (as donor money from collectives isn’t sustainable).

3️⃣ Conference Realignment

Conferences are all competing now and need to be more than just a “name” with schools that represent them.

Proof of this happening…

Brett Yormark was named the Big 12 Commissioner to help the conference compete with the SEC and Big10 (moving on from his role as COO at Roc Nation).

Big 12 commissioner Brett Yormark

Something I firmly believe…

Conferences that invest in storytelling and original content will win over the next several years.

With paying college athletes on the horizon, conferences need to act more like media companies (just as the NBA and NFL have done to great success).

Companies to Watch

Which companies are at the heart of this downstream movement?

Mercury, which labels itself as the college sports company, is one of the most fascinating.

It was co-founded by former football star turned sports media entrepreneur Adam Breneman.

Breneman w/ PSU QB Drew Allar

Mercury is doing a bunch of interesting things from:

  • school partnerships
  • NIL deals with athletes
  • original content series
  • in-house production house

I would also keep an eye on Barstool Sports, The NIL House, The Player’s Lounge, Altius Sports Partners, Fanatics, and even athlete production companies to start exploring the collegiate space.

Going Forward

Media is now innovating at a rapid pace!

LinkedIn’s Creator & Community Manager Daniel Markovits laid it out best:

2000 – 2008: The Internet disrupted media distribution 🌍︎

2008 – 2016: The rise of mobile and social disrupted media consumption📱

2020 – now: AI is disrupting media creation 🎨

Throw in NIL, increased interest in sports, athletes entering media, and massive media rights deals and things get interesting.

Sports has always been about entertainment — but it’s more so NOW than ever before.

Great opportunity lies ahead for those that can crack the code of…

“Eyeballs, Eyeballs, Eyeballs”.

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