Netflix and live sport, an AI Beatles reunion, Saudi investment and reputation management, creator economics, misleading Manchester United news, and the emotional core of the Ashes are just some of the stories in this week’s Trippant Takeaways – highlighting communications trends across sport, tech, entertainment and culture.
The Wall Street Journal on Netflix’s live sport experiment
From F1’s Drive to Survive to new series in professional tennis, cycling and – with some interesting timing – golf, Netflix has become part of the fabric of sports storytelling.
Yet it has shown little interest in live coverage – until now. According to the Wall Street Journal, the streaming giant is preparing to run a live celebrity golf event later this year, featuring the stars of some of its other sports programming.
So is it planning a media rights raid as its live capabilities grow, or will it build more of its own properties to engage audiences?
Even amid a busy sports news agenda, Lionel Messi’s transfer to Inter Miami made headlines around the world last week.
The arrival in Florida of perhaps the greatest footballer of all time is of massive consequence to his new club and to Major League Soccer but its ripples go much further from there. It is a statement about Miami’s growing influence as a sports and cultural hub, while it is also a huge boost to Apple’s global broadcast partnership with MLS – an agreement that could be the start of a much wider push into sports content.
The Financial Times on Saudi Arabia and gaming
Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund has made a seismic impact with its recent activities in golf and football, but the country’s economic diversification strategy extends into many other areas of entertainment and culture.
Savvy Games Group, a vehicle wholly owned by the PIF, has spent $8 billion in just 18 months in a bid to build the leading global hub for gaming and esports. It has poured cash into moves like the acquisition of US developer Scopely and a stake in Nintendo. Still, familiar ethical concerns remain.
The Drum on Saudi investment and brand risks
As the PIF becomes more prolific, more and more organisations will be weighing up the ramifications of taking its money. The Drum has convened a group of sports marketing executives to consider the reputational hazards for those who do make a deal.
The BBC on an AI-enabled Beatles farewell
More than five decades since their break-up, and over a quarter of a century since their last release, the world can get ready for one last song from The Beatles.
Sir Paul McCartney has revealed that AI will be used to repurpose an old recording of the late John Lennon – updating the approach used to create the 90s singles Free as a Bird and Real Love. The 80-year-old is excited about the creative possibilities of the technology, though he maintains a degree of caution about its wider implications.
Ad Age on creators making podcasts
Content creators who have built huge online followings through platforms like Instagram, YouTube and TikTok have discovered a rich, long-form frontier: the podcast. And their brand partners are more than ready to explore this new space with them.
AdWeek on Ed Sheeran’s hot sauce
Over the past couple of years, social media influencers have moved from brand partnerships to brand launches with considerable success – the Sidemen’s sell-out run of sports drinks being a Prime example.
Now, the trend is being taken up by more conventional entertainers and celebrities. Together with Warner Music Experience’s new Ventures arm, pop superstar Ed Sheeran is rolling out Tingly Ted’s – a gentler brand of hot sauce fronted by a cuddly mascot.
The Athletic on misinformation and Manchester United
The battle to buy Manchester United continues, with the club’s ownership still negotiating with British chemicals billionaire Sir Jim Ratcliffe and Qatar’s Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad Al Thani.
Earlier this week, reports circulated that Sheikh Jassim was to be announced as the victor – news that buzzed across Twitter and caused a spike in United’s share price.
Despite passing through some reputable outlets, however, those reports were bogus. The Athletic follows their journey to sketch a map of football’s misinformation ecosystem.
The Players’ Tribune with an Ashes message from Ben Stokes
Test cricket’s Ashes are upon us, with England hoping to regain the celebrated urn from bitter rivals Australia over the next few weeks.
Central to their hopes will be a fearless and aggressive playing style, nicknamed ‘Bazball’ after head coach Brendan McCullum. Captain Ben Stokes lays out the importance of a strategy that energises players, resonates with fans and – so far – has produced big results.
ABC on Bluey’s batting adventure
Down in Australia, meanwhile, children’s TV phenomenon Bluey has been conveying the power of cricket in a different way, with an emotional story following its characters’ discovery of the game.
Sky Sports on watching the cricket at work
According to research commissioned by Ashes host broadcaster Sky Sports, workers are more productive if they leave the cricket on in the background than if they take breaks from tasks to check the score. Apparently, these coincidentally-very-convenient-for-Sky-Sports findings are due to the effects of a phenomenon called ‘context switching’.
What can you say? It’s science.