Caeleb Dressel won his first individual Olympic gold after completing the men’s 100-meter freestyle in a record 47.02 seconds. Swimming’s next big star has arrived. 🏊♂️
Facebook Sees Revenue Spike, Looks to Metaverse
Jefferson Graham-USA TODAY/Design: John Regula
Facebook’s next phase is coming into focus.
The company posted $29 billion in revenue in Q2, a 56% jump from the same period last year. Net income doubled to $10.4 billion.
The growth was driven by ad prices increasing by 47% year-over-year. Monthly active users grew 7% year-over-year to 2.9 billion — 36.7% of Earth’s population.
CEO Mark Zuckerberg said he’s excited for the company to “bring the vision of the metaverse to life,” referring to the virtual world that ties together major Facebook properties including its Oculus VR system and its cryptocurrency Libra.
Facebook is using Oculus to make a play in the fitness space.
The company rolled out Oculus Move, a program that tracks physical activity across Oculus apps and games, in November.
Earlier this week, a developer noticed code in Oculus’ software that suggests a possible integration with Apple Health.
The ubiquitous social network has shifted its sports strategy away from media rights to major leagues, such as MLB and LaLiga.
Facebook has instead moved toward a pay-per-view model for live streaming niche sports. Major Arena Soccer League and the Challenge Miami Triathlon have both broadcast events on the platform.
Editor’s note: Facebook is an FOS partner.
Big 12 Alleges ESPN Conspired to ‘Harm’ Conference
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports/Design: Alex Brooks
The Big 12 Conference and ESPN are squaring up for a messy battle that could end up in the courts.
Big 12 chairman Bob Bowlsby fired off a cease-and-desist letter to ESPN, alleging that the network intended to “harm” the conference by pushing other schools besides Texas and Oklahoma to leave.
Bowlsby claims ESPN is “inducing” other programs to leave the Big 12 for the network’s own financial benefit, telling Yahoo, “I wouldn’t state this if I didn’t know it was absolutely true.”
An ESPN spokesman denied the allegations: “The claims in the letter have no merit.”
The Big 12’s current TV deal with ESPN runs through the 2024-2025 season, and ESPN recently struck a $300 million a year deal to carry SEC games starting in 2024.
If the Big 12 implodes, ESPN would not be responsible for the final four years of its deal, worth $1.06 billion, per Stadium.
Sports attorney Dan Lust tweeted that the Big 12 could be pursuing a “scorched earth” approach as a preamble to a breach of contract suit against ESPN.
Bowlsby accused ESPN of “tortious interference” with the Big 12’s business, perhaps the greatest indication that an intensive legal dispute lies ahead.
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Drafted One Minute, NBA Rookie Cards The Next
During tonight’s 2021 NBA Draft, history will be made and dreams will come true for the league’s next wave of stars — and Panini America will be ready to celebrate by making some trading card history of its own.
On Tuesday, the Panini Instant website launched the 32 cards that will comprise the 2021 NBA Draft Night set. Although the cards feature silhouetted images now, tonight the cards will be updated in real-time as selections are made, meaning each new draftee’s first trading card with his new NBA team logo will be available just minutes after his name is called.
Sony has sold more than 10 million PlayStation 5 units globally since its November 2020 release, making it the fastest-selling console in the company’s history.
PS5 hit the milestone despite a pandemic and supply chain issues caused by the semiconductor shortage plaguing the tech industry.
To ensure high-quality content for the PlayStation brand, Sony is investing heavily into studios.
Last year, it purchased “Spider-Man” maker Insomniac Games for $229 million.
In June, it acquiredHousemarque, the Finnish studio behind PS5 hit “Returnal.”
Earlier this month, it bought Netherlands-based Nixxes Software.
PS5 competes most directly with Microsoft’s Xbox Series X|S consoles, which also launched in November.
Microsoft doesn’t disclose exact hardware sales figures, but on Tuesday the company said that Xbox hardware sales increased 172% during the most recent quarter. Total gaming revenue shot up 11% year-over-year to $3.7 billion.
Sony delivers earnings on August 4 when it reports first-quarter results from fiscal 2021.
Expanded SEC Could Generate NCAA-Level Revenue
Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports/Design: Alex Brooks
Oklahoma and Texas told the Big 12 on Monday that they would not be renewing their contractual agreement ending in 2025.
A day later, they formally notified the Southeastern Conference of their membership request and are set to be officially admitted on Thursday, per 247Sports.
There’s now talk about what a 16-team SEC means for college sports overall.
USA Today reported that a realigned SEC could generate $1.3 billion in revenue in 2024-2025 — equivalent to the NCAA’s projected haul that year.
The NCAA would see most of its earnings from broadcast deals with CBS and Turner that are expected to bring in $990 million in 2024-25. Meanwhile, ESPN will pay the SEC around $300 million annually for its broadcast rights, starting in 2024. Adding Texas and Oklahoma to the conference would almost certainly make that deal more valuable.
Joining the SEC has other financial incentives.
SEC schools received roughly $45 million each in conference distributions in 2019-20 — between $5 million and $9 million more than Big 12 schools.
The schools anticipate making another $20 million each year upon the start of the conference’s new media rights deal.
Still, leaving the Big 12 has a price. Oklahoma and Texas would have to pay exit fees amounting to the final two years of conference distributions — $80 million per school.
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Modern Sports Marketer’s Checklist
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Former president Barack Obama joined NBA Africa as a minority owner and strategic partner to help advance the league’s social responsibility efforts.
ICM is acquiring Select Sports Group to expand its business representing NFL athletes and coaches.
Klutch Sports is launching its first NFT collection to highlight its rookie class during the 2021 NBA Draft.
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