Good morning! A wild storyline to start the day. Gavin Weir, South Dakota’s Little League ace, threw his 4th no-hitter of the tournament.
He’s faced 132 batters and allowed ONE hit. That’s insane.
In today's Sprint:
🏈No consistency in college football.
🃏 Fanatics becomes the king of collectibles.
⛳ Rory McIlroy needs a rest.
Trivia:When was the first official baseball card set ever produced?
*Answer at the bottom
WATER COOLER TALK
⚽️ Harry Kane announced he’s staying with Tottenham through “this summer.” For the club, that means they better get it together before the January transfer window or the superstar is gone.
Elsewhere in the Premier League, Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola said he’ll step down in 2023.
🏈 Looks like there will be no consistency across the college football world when it comes to Covid-19 restrictions.
Ohio State: requires all coaches and student-athletes to be vaccinated.
Georgia: full stadium with no restrictions.
LSU: proof of vaccination or negative test to enter the stadium.
🎾 Serena and Venus Williams joined a long list of prominent athletes planning to skip the US Open, including Rafa Nadal and Roger Federer.
This is the first Grand Slam event not featuring at least one of those four since 1997, when Naomi Osaka was 0 years old.
Re-Shuffling The Deck
One week ago, Fanatics didn’t have a trading card business. Now, it's the largest trading card company in the world, owning exclusive deals with the “big three” of sports cards.
With Fanatics valued at $18 billion, the company gave each league (and the respective Players’ Associations) equity as part of the individual deals.
Ruining Topps IPO: After 70 years as the MLB’s main card company, Topps was blindsided when the MLB struck the deal with Fanatics.
“Not only were we unaware that Major League Baseball was negotiating with anybody other than Topps regarding our rights beyond 2025,” Topps CEO said, but Topps was told on Thursday by Noah Garden, the league’s chief revenue officer, “that a deal was completed, finalized and exclusive with Fanatics.”
Unfortunately for Topps, it couldn’t come at a worse time… the company had planned to go public later this year via SPAC with a valuation of $1.3 billion. A day after the Fanatics’ announcement, Topps canceled the IPO.
Going digital: Given Fanatics already owned the E-commerce merchandise rights to most leagues, trading card rights were a logical next step.
But that wasn’t Fanatics' biggest selling point.
With NFTs (Non-Fungible Tokens) exploding as an asset class, Fanatics is all-in. It launched Candy Digital to build an ecosystem of officially licensed MLB NFTs, with Lou Gehrig’s “Luckiest Man” speech featured as the first token.
$2.5 billion worth of NFTs were traded in the first half of 2021, up from $13.7 million in the first half of 2020. Who would have thought the MLB would make a move on the forefront of culture.
The big picture: Over the past year, Fanatics tripled in value from $6 billion to $18 billion. With it offering equity plus a compelling vision of the future, the three leagues ditched their current partner to buy in.
(39-86) Baltimore Orioles10vs. (63-65) LA Angels 6
The Baltimore Orioles stopped a 19-game skid (the longest losing streak in the MLB since 2005).
Trey Mancini brought sage into the dugout to bring the team a bit of luck.
(14-10) Phoenix Mercury 106vs. (111-15) New York Liberty 79