This Week’s Most Interesting Sports Business Stories

by | Nov 12, 2022 | Golf Apparel

DAYTONA BEACH, FL – FEBRUARY 24: Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe’s Chevrolet, celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 24, 2013 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

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In this week’s SportsMoney Playbook: A sports owner’s billion-dollar art auction, the NFL star investing in gaming, and Malta’s push into esports. Plus: Why Mattress Mack “didn’t make a dime” on his big Astros bet.

Pro Football

Juju Smith-Schuster tells us he loves playing with Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs, but he gets even more excited when discussing esports and his investment ventures in the gaming space.


Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale won a record $75 million with his World Series bets on the Astros but “didn’t make a dime”—he explains why.


Joe Tacopina, an American lawyer and owner of Serie B‘s SPAL, spoke to us about the challenges and opportunities of foreign ownership in Italian soccer after a decade as a top executive across four clubs.

Wilfried Zaha will not play in this year’s World Cup after deciding to represent his birth country, Ivory Coast, instead of his adopted home, England. He’s one of several stars for whom nationality isn’t always simple.

Interest in women’s soccer is building around the globe. TV ratings for the NWSL set records just as the league’s media contract was coming up for renewal. Meanwhile, through seven weeks, Germany’s Frauen Bundesliga has already beaten its attendance total for the entire previous season.

Auto Racing

Nascar legend Jimmie Johnson will return to the Cup Series next season as part of a deal that will give him a minority ownership stake in Petty GMS. But he’ll still have a chance to check two other races off his bucket list.

Despite inflation across the country, Nascar is holding ticket prices steady and seeing sales soar, series president Steve Phelps said.


Tecnifibre, the racket maker that for much of the year sponsored the top-ranked player in both men’s and women’s tennis, aims to double in size in 2022. Babolat, a 147-year-old tennis brand, is also finding new momentum.


A golf apparel brand aimed at younger players is focusing on TikTok in its marketing. It’s working.

Pro Basketball

Through a partnership with OpenSponsorship, NBA players will have access to a marketplace to connect with brands, showing the impact college sports’ NIL policy change is having on the pros.

Featured Story

Inside Paul Allen’s Billion-Dollar Art Auction

Before Paul Allen’s death in 2018, the Microsoft cofounder and owner of the Seahawks and Trail Blazers assembled an art collection that was expected to fetch well over $1 billion at auction this week. An executive at Christie’s called the collection “an achievement I know no parallel to.” Find out what makes it so valuable.

Hot Reads

Upon Further Review

The European island country of Malta wants to be the esports capital of the world, beginning with a deal to host the ESL Pro League. It’s a big bet on the emerging industry, whose biggest teams continue to command higher valuations but are increasingly relying on non-esports revenue streams. See our ranking of the most valuable esports companies.

The Last Word

“Especially as a young girl, I felt like I was always more capable than people would hold me to.” — Nora Vasconcellos

Professional skateboarder Nora Vasconcellos is the first woman to receive an Adidas signature skate shoe. She knows the deal is more than just a personal career achievement; she wants to inspire the next generation of non-male skaters.

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