On the latest Sporticast episode, hosts Scott Soshnick and Eben Novy-Williams discuss some of the biggest sports business stories of the week, including takeaways from a gathering of global players associations, hosted on Wednesday by the NBPA in New York.
Executives from the major U.S. unions all discussed how the dynamics between leagues and athletes are shifting. Players need to “stop thinking like the hired help,” MLBPA head Tony Clark said at one point. That change in attitude has been accelerated by new technology and new forms of licensing, such as NFTs, which have highlighted the value of player-specific IP such as name and likeness.
The two talk about two prominent corners of the sports economy, where players have vastly different levels of involvement. In trading cards, unions are a key part of business, and many have already become equity partners in Fanatics’ growing vertical. In sports betting, leagues sell official data (which includes player-specific performance metrics) without the unions being directly involved in those transactions.
Lastly, the hosts discuss a pair of semi-related incidents involving NFL players over the past week. On Sunday, Los Angeles Rams linebacker Bobby Wagner tackled a fan who ran onto the field with a flare, and on Monday, Las Vegas Raiders receiver Davante Adams knocked a photographer to the ground on his way off the field. Police reports were filed in both incidents, and Adams was later charged with misdemeanor assault. The hosts talk about the interplay between athletes and civilians, and how leagues are beginning to handle those issues.
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