Sports Business

From The Gist Team

Hey there!

Happy almost long weekend! We’re taking Monday off to celebrate, but we’re not leaving you empty handed. Another Sports Biz Breakfast will land in your inboxes tomorrow as women's sports are officially in their documentary era.

  • We’ll be back to our regularly scheduled programming on Wednesday, as will our sports news and college counterparts. Hit subscribe, then start your weekend off right with the latest in the business of women’s sports!

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The Latest


🏀 It girl status

Source: C. Morgan Engel/NCAA Photos via Getty Images

The GIST: Angel Reese is giving new meaning to Barbiecore. On Tuesday, the LSU basketball champ became a brand ambassador for Black-founded Mielle Organics, Reese’s first major beauty deal on an ever-growing list of sponsors.

The details: Bayou Barbie will promote the Procter and Gamble subsidiary on social media and at events and will feature in Mielle’s marketing campaigns. This summer, Reese and the brand will also collab on a limited-edition bundle of her favorite products.

  • Mielle recently reached out to the hooper, who was actively searching for a beauty partner to align with her glam nickname. She’s in impressive company — rappers Megan Thee Stallion and Saweetie are also Mielle ambassadors.

The context: Reese is still basking in that championship glow. Since April’s big game, her name, image, and likeness (NIL) valuation skyrocketed from $371K to $1.4M as she scored a slew of new sponsors, including Campus Ink and Caktus AI. Reese’s popularity transcends college sports — she was the subject of a Saturday Night Live skit last month. Star power.

Zooming out: Reese’s cultural relevance makes her an ideal ambassador for brands like Mielle that cater to more than just sports fans. Her deal also underlies a larger trend — beauty routines are becoming increasingly important to women’s basketball culture, which may boost the potential for collaboration between brands, the pros, and college hoops.

Quick Hits

🏀 Chicago Sky’s the limit

Yesterday, the WNBA’s Chicago Sky inked a partnership with AI chat platform GameOn Technology after working since January to bring the chat feature to the team’s revamped app. The tech will also debut on the Sky’s website ahead of today’s home opener, as will broadened merch options courtesy of the team’s deal with Campus Customs.

  • But wait, there's more! Following in the footsteps of the Las Vegas Aces and the Seattle Storm, the Sky are scouting locations to build a new training facility of their own. Leveling up.

⚽ Gotham’s muito bom alliance

The NWSL’s NJ/NY Gotham FC formed a strategic partnership with Portugal’s SL Benfica on Wednesday to share on-field resources and jointly build their brands. Benfica, for example, hopes to establish itself within New York and New Jersey’s large Portuguese community, with future business collaborations also on the table.

🏐 PVF’s bicoastal expansion

Orlando and San Diego were awarded Pro Volleyball Federation (PVF) teams yesterday and will begin play during the PVF’s inaugural 2024 season. The former is owned by local business exec David Forman, while the latter counts Olympic gold medalist Kerri Walsh Jennings and her longtime business partner Mitch Grossbach as co-owners. Coast to coast.

🎓 Students’ major wagers

Per a survey commissioned by the NCAA, 58% of those aged 18 to 22 have placed sports bets, while a whopping 67% of those who live on college campuses have wagered. Thirty percent of respondents said their typical single wager was between $10 and $20, while 6% said they lost more than $500 in a single day from sports betting.

  • The NCAA will conduct a similar survey that focuses on student-athletes in the fall. The research comes amid investigations at Iowa and Iowa State, where baseball players violated NCAA rules against athletes placing wagers.

You’ve been following how Angel City FC has been shaking up the sports biz landscape, and now we want to give you an opportunity to see the magic happen up close with a chance to win a three-day all-expenses paid trip for two to LA to see ACFC and the Sparks IRL. What dreams are made of.

Buzzer Beaters

🥇 6.8M tickets have been sold for next summer’s Paris Olympics, accounting for almost 70% of all available tix. Très bien.

The NWSL’s Angel City scored a partnership with The Grand, a group coaching platform that shares an investor with the club — Alexis Ohanian.

🏄 Cup Noodles is now a sponsor of the World Surf League and will back the league’s California competitions.

🏆 Michele Kang won Sports Business Journal’s Deal of the Year award for her $35M acquisition of the NWSL’s Washington Spirit last year. BFD.

🏀 Local businesswoman Kimberly Lewis picked up a minority stake in the NBA’s San Antonio Spurs and will serve as a strategic advisor to the franchise.

💰 Nike exec Heidi O’Neill will become the company’s president of consumer, product, and brand, while Sarah Mensah was tapped to be president of Jordan Brand.

The GIST's Picks

Here’s what has The GIST team currently hyped:

👖 What to add to your closet

The pant. Everlane doesn’t miss, and this staple pair of trousers will be your go-to year-round.

🎧 What to listen to

This pod. From two of our very own GIST writers, Play Like a They is all about sports beyond the binary.

📚 What to use

A library card! Did you know public libraries offer a lot more than books? Get access to online newspapers, museum passes, and even join The GIST’s monthly book club, all with a free card.

🥾 What to explore

Utah’s Wander Camp Bryce Canyon. Enter this contest to win a two-night, three-day glamping experience with three of your closest friends. It’ll be a rockin’ time.