Happy World Health Day. Go for a nice walk (after you read this newsletter).
Sacramento Kings Have Big Plans for Bitcoin
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports/Design: Alex Brooks
The Sacramento Kings want to further incorporate Bitcoin into their business practices, and they could be trendsetters in how they use it.
In 2014, the Kings became the first pro sports team to accept Bitcoin as payment at their arena. Now, the organization is making plans to provide salaries in the cryptocurrency.
“I’m going to offer everyone in the Kings organization, they can get paid as much of their salary in Bitcoin as much as they want, including the players,” Vivek Ranadivé — the chairman, CEO, and governor of the Kings — said on Clubhouse, according to a tweet from Bitcoin personality Neil Jacobs.
However, NBA teams are currently prohibited from paying players in Bitcoin, or any method other than cash via live check or direct deposit, per the collective bargaining agreement between players and the league.
NFL offensive lineman Russell Okung recently became the first player from any major U.S. sports league to be “paid” in digital currency. Last season, half of his $13 million Carolina Panthers salary was converted to Bitcoin through Bitcoin payments startup Zap.
As cryptocurrency continues to become a viable payment option, more teams and leagues are buying in.
The Oakland Athletics sold a full-season suite for one Bitcoin — or around $60,000 — this year. The Dallas Mavericks have started to accept Dogecoin as payment for tickets and merchandise.
“Sometimes in business, you have to do things that are fun, engaging, and hopefully generate a lot of PR,” Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said about the decision.
Topps Going Public in $1.3B SPAC Deal
Tom Jacobs-The News Leader/Design: Alex Brooks
Those old forgotten Topps cards in your attic could be worth a small fortune. Pretty soon, the same might be said for Topps stock.
The 83-year-old trading card company is planning to go public via SPAC through a merger with Mudrick Capital Acquisition Corporation II, per The New York Times.
The deal will value Topps at $1.3 billion, with a $250 million expected investment from funds and accounts managed by Gamco Investors and Wells Capital Management, as well as Mudrick Capital itself.
Current shareholders of Mudrick will own 28% of the company following the merger.
Topps’ net sales rose 23% in 2020 to $567 million due to its shift to digital, including the launch of apps and NFTs, and the rising interest in sports memorabilia during the pandemic. The deal to go public was made before the NFT popularity spike, according to Topps chairman Michael Eisner.
“This is the icing on the cake, going digital completely, with the analog still in place,” he said.
Physical cards still have a play in the game — Topps has been making cards since 1949, and the sector continues to boom. A Tom Brady rookie card recently sold for $2.25 million and a Topps Mickey Mantle card sold for $5.2 million in January.
Topps, which also has a digital gift card business and candy segment, has sports partnerships with MLB, MLS, and Formula 1, among others. The company estimates that its revenue will reach $692 million in 2021.
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Planet Fitness Survives Pandemic
Planet Fitness/Design: Alex Brooks
With 2,124 locations — 95% of which are run independently — Planet Fitness has stayed afloat through the pandemic and is now looking to open 100 new gyms, all while investing in advertising and its app.
A gym expansion during the pandemic is rare. Around 6,800 gyms were forced to shut down permanently due to COVID-19, or approximately 17% of all fitness locations, per the International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association. 24-Hour Fitness and Gold’s Gym both filed for bankruptcy.
Planet Fitness was able to stick it out.
While 50 of its gyms are currently closed due to government guidelines, Planet Fitness added 123 locations and rose its national advertising 22% year-over-year to $61.3 million. The money was spent even as the club recorded a 41% loss in revenue, down to $406.6 million.
“We consider ourselves as much a marketing company as a company that operates gyms,” said chief financial officer Tom Fitzgerald.
The fitness club was able to lean on recruiting members who have never been part of a gym, but the business still marked some loss. Member count fell 6% to 13.5 million, almost 1 million less than the 14.4 million it counted in 2019.
Some smaller gym owners feel their businesses have been ignored during the pandemic and unfairly grouped with big brands like Planet Fitness. After taking their concerns to Washington, 75 Republicans and Democrats have co-sponsored legislation to provide up to $30 billion in aid.
The Budget NASCAR Stock Car
Hendrick Performance/Design: Alex Brooks
Hendrick Motorsports is changing gears with its (relatively) affordable stock car.
Just a few wins short of the all-time NASCAR record, Hendrick is not a brand that needs to undercut the market to survive. Instead, it came up with Track Attack.
Managing director Bill Snider conceived Track Attack as a way to give high-end equipment a second life. Most track cars lack comprehensive safety features and regularly sustain five and sometimes six figures’ worth of damage on the track. Furthermore, many stock car parts are disassembled or discarded after a race.
Track Attack cars are available for $125,000, less than half many similarly high-performance or exotic cars.
The vehicle line has brought in over $1.65 million in revenue.
Track Attack cars can also take super-unleaded fuel, as opposed to more expensive options. The Track Attack sources its engine from Chevrolet and has a replaceable composite skin of a Chevrolet SS or a Camaro ZL1 stock car, depending on the customer’s preference.
The Track Attack has a limited racing record, but Hendrick used it to make its debut in the Ultimate Track Car Challenge shootout last July, placing third and seventh in the contest.
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Equinox Group lost roughly $350 million last year due to the pandemic, but the gym is gaining interest from SPACs to take the company public.
Tyson Fury, in collaboration with artist George Rollo and Fomo Labs, is the first boxer to launch his own NFT collection. It’s slated to release within the next two weeks.
Play Ventures closed a $135 million funding round to invest in game studios. It’s the second round for the fund, which has invested in 24 game companies across 10 countries.
Learn how TeamSnap has utilized technology to help sports organizations and their members get back to playing safely. Watch the recent partner showcase.*
Question Of The Day
Would you take your salary in Bitcoin if an employer offered it?