The Business of Sport – August 2022

Written by Harrie Smith

Every month, the team at SM22 brings you the key updates in the world of sports business.

The record-breaking transfer window

From the 10th June – 1st September, Premier League clubs spent a record £1.9bn on players to bolster squads for the 2022/23 season.

With Antony becoming the record deadline-day signing for Manchester United, covid recovery was truly complete as clubs dwarfed the previous record £1.4bn spent back in 2017. Nine of the 20 top-flight clubs spent in excess of £100m as total expenditure bounced back after two seasons of decline.

According to Deloitte, the 2022/23 season already has the highest transfer spend since the two-window season began - exceeding the previous record of £1.86bn set in 2017/18, before the January window has even opened.

Across clubs, Chelsea outstripped all others with record spending of £270m on the likes of Raheem Sterling, Marc Cucurella, Kalidou Koulibaly and Pierre Emerick Aubameyang. Not just a Premier League record, it is the second highest summer spend by any club in the world since Real Madrid in 2019 (£292m).

Across the other ‘big five’ leagues, spending increased to £3.88bn, an increase of 52% on the previous year.

Overtime Sports raises $100m

Overtime Sports, the media company targeted at Gen Z sports fans, has raised $100m in Series D financing, with company CEO Dan Porter indicating a valuation in excess of $500m.

The round was led by Liberty Media and Morgan Stanley’s Counterpoint Global team, joining the network of exceptional current investors including Kevin Durant, Drake and Jeff Bezos.  Overtime has raised $250 million to date and claims over 6% of active NBA players have invested, including Durant, Carmelo Anthony, and Trae Young.

Key revenue streams include sponsorships, licensing, e-commerce, and media rights. Funding will be concentrated to grow the Overtime league offering to complement Overtime Elite and OT7.

Audi joins F1 as a power unit supplier from 2026

From 2026, the premium car manufacturer Audi will join Formula 1 as a power unit supplier.

The project will be based in Ingolstadt, ending a decade-long period without power unit development in Germany.

From 2026, the electric power output for the power units, consisting of an electric motor, battery, and a traditional combustion engine will increase sharply compared to today’s Formula 1 systems. Audi will play a key role in the development of the new electric system.

Leveraging the commercial growth of F1 following the takeover by Liberty Media, Audi is keen to target growing fan segments in the younger age bracket, along with growing markets in China and the USA.

Fanatics and Foot Locker announce strategic partnership

Global merchandise giant Fanatics and retailer Foot Locker have announced a long-term inventory partnership to make officially licensed gear available to Foot Locker shoppers.

Through the deal, Foot Locker will continue to power the front-end online and mobile customer experience across its portfolio of e-commerce brands, while orders will be fulfilled by Fanatics.

Fanatics has long-standing relationships with more than 900 sports rights holders and a database of 80 million worldwide consumers. Coupled with Foot Locker’s 2,800 retail stores across the globe, this is a powerful partnership that redefines the sports merchandise landscape.

BCCI plans to launch women’s IPL in March 2023

The Board of Control for Cricket in India has set aside a window for the first-ever edition of the women's Indian Premier League in March 2023.

Since 2018, the BBCI has run the Women’s T20 Challenge, played as a one-off exhibition match between two, and then three teams. However, following the commercial growth of the domestic women’s game, and the recent £5.13bn rights deal for the Men’s iteration, clamour has grown for a full women’s tournament.

According to BCCI president Sourav Ganguly, "next year will be a very good time to start a full-fledged women's IPL which will be as big and grand a success as men's IPL.”