Lionel Messi to Microsoft’s $69 Billion Acquisition of Activision Blizzard.

The Takeaway is Trippant’s round-up of essential stories on communications trends in sport, entertainment and experience.  

This week: Lionel Messi is the world’s most marketable athlete, Microsoft has its big gaming prize, the metaverse is not quite ready for business, Disney is betting big at 100, Netflix is getting physical and Sue Anstiss is on The Story Board. 

SportsPro names the world’s 50 most marketable athletes

Lionel Messi has been ranked as the most marketable athlete in sport. 

The 36-year-old replaced his great footballing rival, Cristiano Ronaldo, at the top of SportsPro’s agenda-setting annual list, the 14th edition of which was created using comprehensive data analysis from NorthStar Solutions Group. Over the past 12 months, Messi has led Argentina to Fifa World Cup glory and completed a much-trumpeted move to Inter Miami in the US, making him the surest of things for brands in 2023.  

Below the top, the list provides plenty of other fascinating details to chew over – from a surge in female representation to a looming generational shift in key sports. 

Wired and The New York Times on Microsoft’s gaming takeover

After months of delays, primarily due to the intervention of the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority, Microsoft is ready to complete its $69 million acquisition of leading video game publisher Activision Blizzard. 

However the combined entity fares, it could be one of the most consequential deals in the sector’s history. So what does it really mean for gaming? And how has Microsoft pulled it off?

Sue Anstiss talks to The Story Board

Earlier this year, activist, author and podcast host Sue Anstiss released her first Netflix documentary – Game On: The Unstoppable Rise of Women’s Sport. 

Intended as a celebration of the recent commercial and cultural progress made in the space, it also highlights a significant gap in the coverage of male and female athletes and events. On the latest episode of The Story Board podcast – available now on all leading platforms – Sue explains how she created the documentary and what comes next in women’s sports storytelling. 

The BBC on golf’s wayward merger

It was one of the sports news shocks of the year. Back in June, out of nowhere, the PGA Tour, DP World Tour and Public Investment Fund announced a ‘framework agreement’ for a new joint venture that would end the sport-wide schism triggered by the Saudi-backed arrival of LIV Golf. 

Since then, not much has happened, with progress slowed by regulatory speedbumps and the complexities of accommodating multiple events into a shared calendar. All parties apparently want to press on but can they make a deal happen? Or could the presence of another investor add yet more intrigue?

The Verge on Roblox and the limits of the metaverse

With tens of millions of daily active users and ever more creative applications appearing each day, the massively multiplayer gaming platform Roblox is one of the closest things we have to a public working model of a metaverse.

Ironic, then, that Roblox CEO David Baszucki wants the company’s staff spending more time in the office, because virtual workspaces are not yet as ‘engaging, collaborative, and productive as physical spaces’. 

Variety and Fast Company on new Netflix ventures

2023 has been good for Netflix in the streaming space: amid economic changes and the stasis of Hollywood strikes, it has consolidated its lead over traditional media rivals. 

Now, it is beginning to hint at future evolution. This week, it confirmed plans for a first live sports event, of sorts – a golf challenge featuring Formula One drivers and stars of the PGA Tour. And it is also trialling a new event space concept. Netflix Houses will combine retail stores and restaurants with pop-up theatrical experiences based on hit shows like Squid Game and Stranger Things. Two are scheduled to open in 2025. 

The Wall Street Journal on Disney’s big bet 

This week, the world’s largest entertainment media group turned 100. Ever since Walt Disney started turning out animated follies in 1923, the company he founded has been taking on more and different identities. 

That process is still happening. With sports rights and subscription broadcast models under threat, Disney has cast off its earlier reservations and embraced the gambling market.  

The Times on the players powering padel

While it is one of the fastest-growing sports around, padel is still in a phase where investment and influence are hugely valuable. Game4Padel, the £25 million UK vehicle backed by tennis icon Sir Andy Murray, has just welcomed another wave of high-profile support from footballers Jamie Vardy and Dominic Calvert-Lewin.

CNN on Mattel’s chief Uno player

Earlier this year, around the time Barbie was busy conquering the world’s cinemas, toymaker Mattel unveiled another unconventional marketing wheeze – advertising for the role of Chief Uno Player at $278 an hour. 

That card has since been picked up by 22-year-old recent college graduate Litzy Santana, who is now accepting challenges on the streets of New York City. 

The Athletic on the wild art of the owner’s statement

Sometimes, in football, club owners just want to set the record straight. And sometimes, they really, really have a lot to get off their chests…

Trippant champions people and storytelling to grow businesses across sport, entertainment and experience. If you want to see what we can do for you, head to our website. 

Get In Touch!

Please add your details and we’ll be in contact.

Latest articles