On the latest Sporticast episode, hosts Scott Soshnick and Eben Novy-Williams discuss some of the biggest sports business stories of the week, including the recent $10.4 billion valuation for Fanatics’ new trading card venture, which is yet to produce a single product.
Fanatics shocked the trading card industry earlier this year when it pried long-term licensing deals with the NBA, NBPA, MLB, MLBPA and NFLPA away from incumbents Topps and Panini. That made Fanatics, overnight, one of the biggest players in sports collectibles. The group recently raised $350 million from investors that include Silver Lake and Endeavor. All of its league and union partners will also hold equity.
The hosts also discuss the NFL’s new partnership with Dapper Labs, and the success of the ManningCast, an alternate Monday Night Football feed offered by ESPN in which retired quarterbacks Peyton and Eli Manning offer casual analysis and interview guests. The Manning telecast has drawn impressive viewership on ESPN2, and become the most popular example of the trend toward “narrow-casting.”
Lastly the hosts touch on two big pieces of news in college sports. The general counsel of the National Labor Relations Board wrote this week in a memo that college athletes should be afforded rights as employees, and the NCAA said it would let its women’s basketball postseason tournament use the “March Madness” branding previously reserved only for the men’s tournament.