Sports & Entertainment Spotlight: Why the risks of holding the Tokyo Summer Olympic Game remain high, and how PGA Tour golfer Bryson DeChambeau’s simple disparaging remarks could hurt his endorsement deals

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Strange as it may be, with vast majority of the world still reeling from the COVID-19 pandemic, we are on the eve of the opening ceremony for the “2020” Tokyo Summer Olympics. Olympic games in “normal” times are logistical feats involving tons of preparation and organization. Pair that with the challenge of trying to prevent a full-blown outbreak of COVID-19 (and potential losses in the tens-of-billion-dollars range) in a densely populated country seeing a new surge of cases, and you have Olympic officials in dire need of Japanese whisky. While these Olympics will be held without the usual crowds in attendance, making for another eerie sight (unless you’re used to watching Mets games), the risks of holding the Games still remain high. Hopefully, the Games go on without a hitch and will highlight their virtues of human resiliency and cooperation on the global stage, but I, like many others, cannot help but wonder about the further propagation of this virus, and whether we would be better served to stay on the sidelines just a little longer. Besides, I generally favor spotlights over torches.

…Which reminds me, it’s time to dive in to the Spotlight for this week:

  • Although PGA Tour golfer Bryson DeChambeau missed the cut in The Open Championship last weekend, in declaring “my driver sucks,” he did an excellent job reminding brands of the importance of including non-disparagement clauses in endorsement agreements and public relations teams of the importance of…well, not having your client say a product that he/she endorses sucks.
  • New York Giants star running back (and rightful owner of massive quadriceps) Saquon Barkley is the latest sports figure to embrace cryptocurrency, announcing that all of his endorsement deals will be paid in Bitcoin. Perhaps an omen that Bitcoin will quadruple in value.
  • Perhaps in a shameless attempt to lure college football recruits with the specter of name, image and likeness marketing potential, University of Alabama Coach Nick Saban announced that the team’s quarterback, Bryce Young, had already scored about one million dollars in endorsement deals. Not bad for a kid who has not played a single down for his team.
  • From virtual runners to virtual runways, athletic apparel brand ASICS and luxury fashion brand Dolce & Gabbana, each announced their own NFT collections.

Endorsement Deals, Sponsorships & Investments

Right Now, It’s Olympics for 17-Year-Old Skateboarder Brighton Zeuner. Next? Fashion Design School
July 20, 2021 via Forbes – Business (subscription may be required)
Team USA teen Brighton Zeuner is about to introduce herself to the world as one of the three U.S. women’s park skateboarders who will show the world what they can do on a board in Tokyo — and, hopefully, come home with an Olympic medal. But Zeuner has also embraced the opportunity to express herself on a skateboard — especially when combined with her love of fashion.

Are Olympic Athletes Taxed on their Winnings?
July 20, 2021 via Yahoo Finance - Top Stories
Professional athletes earn money through sponsorships, endorsements, and prizes, all of which will be treated as income by the IRS.

One of China’s Biggest Stars, Kris Wu, Faces a #MeToo Storm
July 20, 2021 via New York Times - Most Recent (subscription may be required)
Several major luxury brands have severed ties with Kris Wu, a Chinese Canadian singer, with a huge following, after an 18-year-old accused him of targeting and pressuring her and other young women for sex.

Alex Morgan’s Net Worth Is Way Too Low for Her Stardom
July 19, 2021 via FanBuzz - Sports News
Alex Morgan is Messi famous, but she isn’t paid anywhere close to the level her status deserves.

What Is Chris Paul's Net Worth? Suns Star Was Second-Highest Paid Before Pandemic Reduction
July 19, 2021 via MEAWW
As per Celebrity Net Worth, Paul has a net worth of $130 million. Forbes reported that his 2020-21 salary, before a reduction for the pandemic, was tied for the second-highest in the NBA.

Mike Tyson’s Biggest Money Grabs Outside Boxing
July 18, 2021 via EssentiallySports
Under the umbrella of American promoter Don King, Mike Tyson became the biggest name in boxing through the 1990s. Within that decade, his net worth soared to $300-$400 million. Most of his earnings stemmed inside the ring; however, the youngest heavyweight champion also bagged several promotion deals and brand endorsement offers outside the realm of boxing.

NFL Star Saquon Barkley Becomes the Latest Celebrity to Accept Bitcoin Payments
July 17, 2021 via Coinnounce
Popular celebrities have been turning to adopt Bitcoin (BTC) over the last few months, and the latest to join is NFL star from New York Giants, Saquon Barkley. While appearing on "The Best Business Show," Barkley said that he will accept Bitcoin payments for all future marketing and endorsement deals.

Richard Sherman Net Worth: Contract, Endorsements, And Assets Of The NFL Star
July 16, 2021 via Washington Newsday
Richard Kevin Sherman is a free agent after being named to the Pro Football Hall of Fame five times. Since his debut in the NFL in 2011, the star athlete has played for a variety of clubs and signed a slew of rich endorsement deals.

'You Want to Get That Reassurance': Why Scottie Pippen, John Legend Are Endorsing Travel
July 14, 2021 via USA TODAY
George Clooney, John Legend and Scottie Pippen want you to travel. All three celebrities star in new campaigns tied to the travel industry: Clooney promotes a fundraiser that offers the chance to visit him in Italy; John Legend stars in a new Vrbo ad that promotes visiting loved ones; and Scottie Pippen offers up his own Chicago home through Airbnb.

Simone Biles Is the Top-Tweeted U.S. Olympian
July 13, 2021 via Women's Wear Daily
Simone Biles is going into the Tokyo Summer Olympics already in the number-one spot. The Olympic gymnast is the top-tweeted U.S. Olympian on Twitter, according to a report from the social media platform, ahead of the Tokyo Summer Olympics taking place this month.


Film & TV

NBC Revs Up Three-Year Renewal With IndyCar
July 20, 2021 via Sportico - Business (subscription may be required)
IndyCar has inked a three-year extension of its standing rights deal with NBC Sports, securing a new distribution agreement that will see a sharp uptick in the number of races that will air on the flagship broadcast network.

‘The L Word: Generation Q’ Showrunner Marja-Lewis Ryan Inks Showtime Development Deal
July 20, 2021 via Variety
“The L Word: Generation Q” showrunner, Executive Producer, Director and Writer Marja-Lewis Ryan has inked an exclusive overall development deal with Showtime, Variety has learned.

Bankside Inks Development Deal With ‘The Babadook’ Producer Causeway Films
July 20, 2021 via Deadline - Hollywood Breaking News
United Kingdom sales company Bankside Film has inked a development overhead deal with Sydney-based production company Causeway Films, which has credits including Jennifer Kent’s The Babadook and The Nightingale.

Disney Plans to Spread Sports Further Beyond ESPN
July 15, 2021 via Variety
An increasing amount of what ESPN does isn’t going to be seen on good ol’ ESPN. “Sunday Night Baseball” has been a mainstay of the Disney sports network since the show’s launch in 1990, but on August 8, the program will air on ESPN’s corporate cousin, ABC.

Apple TV+ Signs a Multi-year Feature Film Deal With Hyperobject
July 15, 2021 via AppleInsider
Adam McKay's Hyperobject Industries has signed a multi-year first-look film deal with Apple TV+. Rather than offer decades of back catalog for customers to wade through, Apple seeks out new and exclusive content deals with several studios.

Netflix Extends Deal For Animation Films With Universal Pictures
July 14, 2021 via GDN Online
Netflix Inc and Comcast Corp's Universal Pictures are extending a multi-year exclusive rights deal in the United States for animated film franchises such as "Minions" and "Puss in Boots," the streaming giant said on Tuesday, July 13.


Music Biz

One Media IP Acquires Don Williams Catalogue
July 19, 2021 via Complete Music Update
One Media IP has acquired the majority of the publishing catalogue of late country star Don Williams.

Sony Music Sues Gymshark Over Songs in TikTok, Instagram Videos
July 16, 2021 via Bloomberg Law - Intellectual Property News (subscription may be required)
Sony Music Entertainment is alleging that a U.K.-based fitness brand has infringed on “hundreds” of its popular songs in social media videos, according to a complaint in a California federal court.

Catalog Releases Now Account for Two-Thirds of All US-Based Music Consumption
July 14, 2021 via Digital Music News
Catalog releases or those that are over 18 months old now account for two-thirds of all music consumption in the United States, according to a new report.


Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs)

First NFT Company Accepted Into UN Global Compact
July 20, 2021 via Yahoo Finance - Top Stories
Blockchain platform Enjin said it has become the first NFT company accepted into the United Nations (UN) Global Compact. Membership of the Global Compact requires companies to align their business models with the Ten Principles derived from U.N. declarations on human rights, labor, anti-corruption and the environment.

How Cryptocurrency Could Change the Way We Travel
July 19, 2021 via Travel + Leisure Magazine
The one-of-a-kind digital files known as non-fungible tokens upended the art world this year. Next up? The travel industry, which may soon use cryptocurrency-backed NFTs to quantify the value of our vacations.

Dolce & Gabbana to Launch High Fashion-Inspired NFT Collection in Venice
July 17, 2021 via Bitcoin
Last week, the Italian luxury fashion house founded in 1985 in Legnano by Italian designers Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana has announced the firm is launching a non-fungible token (NFT) collection.

Japanese Firm ASICS Launches First-of-its-kind NFT Footwear Collection
July 15, 2021 via Fibre 2 Fashion
ASICS, a Japanese sports apparel and footwear producer, has released Sunrise Red NFT Collection, a first-of-its-kind footwear that is available via a digital auction which started on July 15, 2021.

Eight Emerging Projects Powering the Second NFT Wave
July 15, 2021 via Entrepreneur Latest Articles
At a time when the wider cryptocurrency market continues its sideways consolidation, the non-fungible token sector is booming again as NFT projects, platforms and marketplaces witness increasing mainstream adoption of digital collectibles.

‘Fantasy Hollywood’ — Crypto and Community-Owned Characters
July 15, 2021 via Media & Entertainment Services Alliance (MESA)
Today, crypto technologies like decentralized autonomous organizations and NFTs enable a new model of character development and ownership that could not only unbundle creative media, but also lower the barrier to entry for online communities to bring new characters into the world.


Right of Publicity

Sankey Joins Call for Change in College Athletics Oversight
July 20, 2021 via Alabama Daily News
Southeastern Conference Commissioner Greg Sankey echoed the NCAA president’s call for potential changes in how college athletics are governed Monday (July 19), though he did not endorse a breakaway by the five most powerful leagues.

Emmert Pivots on NCAA Role as Breyer SCOTUS Retirement Watch Looms
July 19, 2021 via Sportico – Law (subscription may be required)
Amid the continuing fallout from new NIL laws and the Supreme Court’s NCAA v. Alston decision, two significant and interrelated college-sports legal developments occurred last week. In a forum with reporters, NCAA President Mark Emmert urged reforms that would supply conferences and colleges with more autonomy over amateurism.

Even as College Sports Evolve, Mark Emmert and the NCAA Need to Focus On Providing A First-Rate Education
July 16, 2021 via Forbes – Business (subscription may be required)
Mark Emmert gave an extended media interview last week during which he came up with the novel idea that maybe the NCAA should stop colluding around economic matters. Eureka, the NCAA is a cartel! Perhaps, he seemed to discover, it would be better to leave a lot of decisions up to the conferences and the schools or even to individual sports. But, dare one ask, how will this decentralized oversight of the perimeters of college athletics affect the education of the students who happen also to engage in the extracurricular activity of intercollegiate sport?

University of Wisconsin Wants to Educate Badgers Athletes on NIL, Not Oversee Contracts; Some Proposed Deals Raise Questions
July 16, 2021 via Madison News
UW has taken an educational approach toward players seeking out and signing contracts to capitalize on their right of publicity but added an oversight component. The NCAA has general guidelines — agreements can't be tied to a player attending a certain school and can't be rewards for athletic performance — and UW has more specific ones.

NCAA’s Emmert: It Is Time to Decentralize College Sports
July 15, 2021 via Los Angeles (LA) Daily News
NCAA president Mark Emmert said Thursday (July 15) the time is right to consider a decentralized and deregulated version of college sports, shifting power to conferences and campuses and reconsidering how schools are aligned.

Conway Seeks 30 UCA Athletes to Promote City Under NIL Deals
July 15, 2021 via Arkansas Business Daily Report
Conway Convention & Visitors Bureau said Thursday (July 15) that it wants to sign 30 student athletes from the University of Central Arkansas to "name, image and likeness" agreements to promote the city.

A Scouting Report on the Fast-Moving and Chaotic Change of NIL
July 15, 2021 via Sportico – Law (subscription may be required)
The U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in NCAA v. Alston and the rise of name, image and likeness combined to make June one of the most transformative months ever for college sports.

Parson Signs Bill Allowing Payment of Student Athletes
July 14, 2021 via Jefferson City News Tribune - Headlines
Missouri joined a growing list of states passing laws to protect student athletes' ability to be paid for their likeness and athletic reputation after Gov. Mike Parson signed sweeping higher education legislation Tuesday, July 13.

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