Models are Changing: In Sports & Beyond

The world is going through many shifts right now.

And sports is at the forefront of a lot of it.

I want to touch on both today…with stats, graphs, and examples to back it.

Let’s Dive In 👇

Generative AI

Generative AI is going to rip up the creative space and fine-tune it for optimization.

Some examples in sports:

  • Sports stats, game summaries, translations, and more will be automated.
  • Healthcare, nutrition, and fitness will be optimized with personalized plans.
  • Game strategy and analysis will provide scenarios to test — while scouting and talent identification will be AI-driven.
  • The sports experience will be better as broadcasting, media, and fan engagement will be customized.
generative ai chart showcasing future revenue growth

I think we’ll see some huge winners come out of the sports space here.

But it has to be a unique product, not just an extension of other LLMs.

Media Marketing

Creator-brands get a lot of hype but many of them have failed.

A lot of it boils down to this…

People understand why an athlete would endorse Nike — but many customers are increasingly skeptical of creators/athletes going for quick money grabs by starting their own brands.

athlete entrepreneurs with their products

This is a more delicate balance than the internet will lead you to believe.

Customers want:

  • a top-end product
  • an authentic story
  • long-term commitment

I still believe that 99% of athletes should affiliate with established brands rather than starting their own.

Athlete Pay

It’s wild how much money pro athletes are set to be making.

NBA players will make nearly $100m/year with the new media deal.

nba annual media rights fees chart

Questions it has people asking:

  • do they really care about playing when making that much?
  • do athletes have more of a philanthropic responsibility?
  • do fans start to be turned off by the insane disparities?

Remember sports started with…🤔

Athletes being the low class, fans being the middle class, and those putting it on being the elites.

Now the elite class includes both athletes and owners, with fans being a mix of middle & lower class.

art showcasing athletes in olympic greece vs modern day olympic athletes

Is this a reflection of broader societal issues of income inequality?

Anyway, this is why I’m bullish on…

Emerging Leagues

Humans crave the underdog story.

Just like we root for Cinderella teams in March Madness and lower-tier soccer clubs to get promoted…

I think we’ll start rooting for emerging sports leagues.

images showcasing emerging leagues

Nothing against the traditional leagues…but we need some alternatives (a.k.a competition):

  • There’s a desire for a more authentic and grassroots approach to sports that is connected to the community.
  • Fans who feel priced out of traditional leagues may turn to alternative ones for a more affordable experience.
  • Emerging leagues often bring innovative formats, rules, and approaches to sports that leads to more opportunities for fan interaction and engagement.

Historically people have rooted against new emergents — but as the traditional leagues get bloated and do everything in the name of revenue…

I think we start to see a shift in rooting for emerging leagues.

College Sports

College athletics are going to look a lot different in a few years.

  • Olympic sports on the brink of irrelevance.
  • High school recruiting on the back burner to the transfer portal.
  • Football and basketball players getting paid serious money.

Everything will be commercialized.

saudi arabia prince with sports star giving him money

Athletic Departments will NEED to look more like pro-team operations.

The evolving role of college sports in higher education and society is worth keeping an eye on — along with the traditional values, sustainability, and integrity of college sports programs.

While private equity wants to come in here similar to pro sports — I think the space needs more builders (VCs) and not revenue optimizers.

Venture Capital

VC is going through a seismic shift right now — it’s no longer just about raising capital and deploying it.

Several things are changing:

  • increased transparency is expected
  • creating more public visibility for portfolio companies
  • greater reliance on data-driven decision-making processes
  • more alignment between LPs and GPs on the long-term goals

venture capital image showcasing founder giving idea to investor giving capital

Venture capital funds are essentially country clubs — the only difference is you hope to get a larger check back one day.

Several LPs at Profluence Capital have said the connections and network opportunities we’ve provided are worth the investment itself.

As we build…

We’re ensuring we continue innovating ourselves and are more than just a capital provider to those transforming the future of sports.

Ending on this…

Sports are often a projection of where we’re at as a society.

The United States has dominated the sports world for all of our lifetimes (along with the world economy).

world superpowers on flat map of earth

What Saudi Arabia is doing in sports (and what the East plans on) will fundamentally shake up not just sports, but the global economic order.

Interesting times are ahead — the world is changing at a rapid pace right before our eyes.

Are you paying attention?

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