Weekly Column: Changes in Entertainment and Sports Dealmaking

In his capacity as a Columnist for California Sports Lawyer®, Founder Jeremy Evans has written a column about how technology and the metaverse are changing the dynamics of entertainment, media, and sports dealmaking.  

You can read the full column below.

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With Web 3.0 creating the pathway for talent and creatives to go direct-to-consumer, the structure and content of deals and dealmaking in general are changing. This means agents and attorneys will be tasked with coming up with creative ways to get their clients the freedom, creative control, and payment to their liking beyond traditional deals and measurements. With so many new areas of business expanding into podcasts, athlete-led sports and entertainment production, gaming, sports betting, NIL, the metaverse, and much more, the possibilities are truly endless.

If the Super Bowl is anything, it is (at least in terms of sheer viewership) the greatest collection of entertainment, media, and sports talent and industry professionals showcasing the two best teams and most popular entertainers. The Super Bowl is a ridiculous spectacle for non-attendee viewers as well, those who get to experience all of the aforementioned from the comforts outside the stadium, but also to view the wide variety of commercials on television. With $170 million in brand exposure, it is no wonder companies clamor and pay for the television advertising spots. The National Football League (NFL) and particularly the Super Bowl dominate television ratings and are clearly the leader in live sports content distribution today and have been for at-least twenty-five years.

The NFL has an advantage over other team sports in that the NFL plays one Super Bowl, not a series of playoff games (best of seven for baseball, basketball, and hockey). The NFL also plays fewer games in a season (17 vs. 162 for baseball and 82 for basketball and hockey). The NFL has nonetheless done an amazing job at building a national model of television contracts, media rights, and brands that is growing internationally and will possibly host the 2026 Super Bowl in London at Tottenham.

For example, in Hollywood, how talent is paid for streamed content is completely different than backend deals based on ticket sales at the box office. Streaming is about subscribers, views, and minutes watched. In sports, contracts can includes provisions about standard yearly pay, but also brand partnerships, appearances, performance bonuses, and more, but off-the-field opportunities continue to grow. Athletes, entertainers, franchises, studios, and brands all have consider whether it is best to build your platform or to house content with an established distributor.

The age-old truth about control and opportunity still applies—the larger the platform likely means less control. Less control over your own content, but also on what the platform says and distributes. Then again, a big distributor means more reach and people engaging with your content, which is an essential measurement in how much one gets paid.

Measurements, business returns, and analytics have always been important, but today there is so much more data that is easily available. In many ways, it is waiting for the processes and technology to catch up with the idea and vision. Some of the delay is deliberate as to process or resistance, but it does seem that the more blockchain and crypto grow as accepted monetary and business resources particularly through the metaverse and digital interactions, there will be increased talent-to-consumer content consumption and payment without a middleman. The digital relationship will change the way entertainment, media, and sports deals are constructed. The change will present new opportunities to not only see and measure true value, but also to pay based on those measurements.    

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About Jeremy M. Evans:  

Jeremy M. Evans is the Chief Entrepreneur Officer, Founder & Managing Attorney at California Sports Lawyer®, representing entertainment, media, and sports clientele in contractual, intellectual property, and dealmaking matters. Evans is an award-winning attorney and industry leader based in Los Angeles. He can be reached at Jeremy@CSLlegal.com. www.CSLlegal.com.

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Jeremy M. Evans is the CEO, Founder & Managing Attorney at California Sports Lawyer®, representing entertainment, media, and sports clientele and is licensed to practice law in California.