Sports Business

From The Gist Team


Colorado Buffaloes head coach Deion Sanders is doing numbers, and so is everyone around him: his family, his 3-0 team, and even his sunglasses sponsor. The Prime Effect is reshaping the college football landscape and the Buffs’ thrilling OT win on Saturday was just the latest example. Must be the money.

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Women's soccer

⚽️ One league to rule them all

Source: Manchester United Women

The GIST: The Football Association (FA) — English soccer’s governing body — has asked the Premier League (EPL) to fund a $31M relaunch of the Women's Super League (WSL). While a "significant minority" of clubs are reportedly in favor, others appear to be split on whether this is the right time to invest in the women's side. Feels a bit laddish TBH.

The details: The FA hopes to establish an enhanced top flight for U.K. women's soccer next season, but the clock is ticking. December is the deadline to finalize funding before the WSL and the second-tier Women's Championship move under a new subsidiary company. Currently, the FA owns these leagues, but wants them to be owned and operated by a new buyer — ideally the EPL. If successful, the WSL really could become the EPL 2.0.

  • The relaunch would coincide with the WSL's new TV deal after the current one expires in 2024. And with the Lionesses ascending to the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup (WWC) final and winning the 2022 Euro, viewership numbers say putting money on the women's side is a safe bet.

The proposal: To form the relaunched league, 14 of 20 EPL teams must vote in favor of taking ownership of the WSL. The EPL seems interested in the takeover, but hasn’t formally shared the proposal to clubs.

  • If it passes, the FA plans to cover start-up costs with the EPL’s central funds, but faces "considerable disagreement" among clubs about whether all teams should contribute and how much they should pay.
  • EPL clubs own 11 out of 12 WSL teams, although there are other ones that have women's teams in lower competitive tiers, like Crystal Palace and Newcastle. There's well-documented inconsistency in support that could make a revamped WSL a hard sell internally — many EPL teams aren't investing in their women's clubs right now.

Zooming out: According to an independent review, U.K. women's soccer could be a billion-dollar industry within the next decade, if investment starts immediately. The demand is there — soccer is the U.K.’s most-watched women's sport and the fourth-most overall this year so far — and everything in the women's game is trending upward, including club revenues, player values, and match attendance.

  • If the EPL remains divided and the FA misses their upcoming deadline, they'll be missing out on investing in the next big thing. It's kind of like buying pizza with Bitcoin.

Quick Hits

🦘 Catch the Matildas on the telly

On Friday, the Australian government announced that all future WWC matches featuring the Matildas will be included on an anti-siphoning list, meaning free-to-air channels will have priority for broadcasting rights.

  • Australia's free Seven Network broadcasted this year’s WWC to over 18M viewers across all platforms, making it one of the biggest television events in the nation’s history. Plus, the Matildas’ 3-1 loss to England in the semifinals was Australia’s most-watched TV program in over 20 years. Move over, Socceroos.

💸 La Liga F takes it to the bank

Spanish women's soccer’s top flight ended a week-long strike last Thursday after reaching a minimum pay agreement. Although the guaranteed salary is lower than the union initially proposed, there are opportunities to boost it with commercial revenue generated by activities like the national team's increased exposure from the WWC.

📺 It's a small loss after all

Charter CFO Jessica Fischer revealed last week that subscriber losses during the Disney-Charter carriage dispute were far smaller than anticipated. Customers may have missed some US Open and college football matches, but the new win-win deal means no one will miss the WNBA playoffs. No snake in these boots.

Together with Columbia University

👯 Sporty smarties, assemble!

Source: Columbia University

Whether you’re seeking a career boost or just want to learn more about the wild business of sports, you have to attend Columbia University’s Sports Management Conference, hosted by their Sports Management Master’s program.

  • From the evolution of NIL to the women’s athletics renaissance, the industry’s future has never been more unpredictable or exciting, making this year’s conference a must-attend event.

This year's conference is taking place on October 6th, but if you add to cart before Friday, you’ll save $50 on your ticket with code THEGIST. Look at you, already managing your salary cap like a pro.

Buzzer Beaters

⚽ U.S. Soccer found a new home in Atlanta as it will establish a new headquarters and national training center, largely thanks to $50M from businessman Arthur M. Blank.

👟 Moolah Kicks unveiled the first performance basketball shoe designed specifically for girls.

🏦 Goldman Sachs started an investment banking unit dedicated to sports franchise deals, a move reflective of recent European soccer acquisitions and the NFL's potential new ownership rules.

🇲🇽 UFC hosted its inaugural Noche UFC fight night as the MMA promotion focuses on Mexican fans with plans to expand in Mexico City. ¡Órale!

🏟️ Manchester City Women inked a multiyear stadium naming rights deal with Joie that represents a first for the WSL.

🎿 Vancouver will host the first winter and summer hybrid Invictus Games in 2025, featuring new adaptive sports like alpine and Nordic skiing, skeleton, and wheelchair curling.

🏐 Florida women’s volleyball broke a 29-year attendance record when over 10K fans streamed into the O'Dome. Thank you, Gator Nation.

Source: Getty Images

Ready to get your footy on? We teamed up with our friends at Gotham FC to give you a chance to win the ultimate VIP experience at Gotham FC’s October 15th game against the Kansas City Current in the Big Apple.

  • The prize pack includes signed jerseys, an opportunity to watch the players warm up from the sidelines, premium seating in the Founder’s Club and a post-game autograph session with the team in the tunnel. Unreal.

The best part about this contest? Even if you don’t win the big prize, you can claim one free ticket and a discount code for additional tickets to the game. Everyone’s a winner here so test your luck and enter today.

The GIST's Picks

Recs from our roster!

🎧 What to listen to

This podcast. Sports Explains the World highlights unusual and wild sports stories. It's sports storytelling like you've never heard before.

📚 What to read

This article about the impact of CTE on young athletes. These heart-wrenching stories shine a light on their loved ones.

💻 Where to work

With us! The GIST is hiring an Integrated Marketing Manager to help us level the playing field. Sound like you? Apply now.