Spotify enters first esports partnership deal, at-home fitness continues rapid growth, Bleacher Report axes long-form storytelling vertical, and Unity readies to go public.
Spotify has entered the esports landscape, penning a deal with Riot Games. Through the deal, Spotify will launch a League of Legends esports music hub.
Together, the two brands will also release original podcasts. The League of Legends Spotify page already had 4.9 million followers, but the official partnership opens up a broader opportunity. More than 100 million people watched the 2019 League of Legends World Championship.
Spotify has been growing its sports programming, bringing on former Facebook head of sport media partnerships Amy Hudson to lead sports podcasting efforts. Last year, Spotify bought podcast network Gimlet Media for $230 million. Earlier this year, the company purchased The Ringer for $200 million and The Joe Rogan Experience for $100 million. It now has 1.5 million podcasts.
Recently, Spotify also rolled out a new playlist called Daily Sports, bringing together sports commentary and personalized music recommendations.
Gyms have continued to be among the biggest losers from the pandemic from a business standpoint. Closures across the globe in March led to a bump in fitness app installations and May showed a major increase in virtual workout sessions.
While the surge makes sense even for temporary use, what’s more telling is the significant increase in at-home fitness equipment sales. That jump has led to a shortage of workout equipment. Bowflex said they are sold out through the remainder of the year.
All that comes as 59% of respondents to a TD Ameritrade survey said they wouldn’t renew their gym memberships. Gyms have been slowly opening back up across the U.S., but just 17% of U.S. consumers say they feel safe going to the gym.
Home Fitness Stats:
— Health and fitness app installations in March grew 67% compared to 2019.
— User sessions in May increased 61%.
— Daily sessions were up 16% in July.
— Online orders for fitness equipment increased 220% in May and 122% in June compared to 2019.
Everything To Know About Newsletters
There are plenty of email newsletters in your inbox fighting for your attention every day. Ever wonder how these newsletters own their distribution and build their communities?
Trends’ latest case study examines the email newsletter’s rise to prominence, the different business models associated with building an email newsletter, and what’s next for the space.
Read on to learn more about the business of newsletters and how the space’s biggest players are keeping up with one another.
The long-form stories were reportedly not resonating with B/R’s audience as the media company continues to push toward short-form and social content. Earlier this year, Howard Mittman left his role as Bleacher Report CEO.
Notable Recent Sports Media Cuts:
— Sports Illustrated cut 40 jobs last September and laid off another 31 employees in March.
— Vox Media cut approximately 100 staffers in June, including SB Nation employees; SB Nation also cut ties with hundreds of freelancers in 2019.
— In June, The Athletic laid off 46 staffers.
Software company Unity has filed to go public on the New York Stock Exchange, under the ticker symbol U. Unity’s game engine is behind more than half of the top 1,000 games in the App Store and the Google Play Store. It is also used by Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout, one of the fastest growing video games — more than 2 million copies of the game were sold on Steam in the first five days of its release earlier this month.
Along with its game engine, Unity also has a service that helps companies monetize their content. Unity’s client list includes BMW, Electronic Arts, Microsoft, Niantic, Sony, Tencent and Zynga.
In 2019, Unity generated $541.8 million in revenue and tallied a $163.2 million loss. The revenue was a 42% increase compared to 2018. Investors include DFJ, Sequoia Capital and Silver Lake Partners.
As Unity prepares to go public, one of its competitors, Epic Games, is going to court with Apple and Google. A tough court battle could derail Epic’s Unreal Engine — putting Unity in a solid position as the gaming industry continues to grow.
Exploring Franchising As A Career Opportunity
Are you interested in a career change? Are you motivated to own your own business? Franchising may be the perfect opportunity for you.
Join us for a webinar on August 26th at 1 PM EST as David Weaver of FranChoice, Rob Stolker of Hummingbird Sports, Wayne Jordan of FirstService Residential, and Jessica Bisher of redbox+ of Bucks County join Joe Londergan of Front Office Sports for a discussion the economic opportunities that franchising presents, especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.