WhatsApp Debuts First Short Film Starring Giannis Antetokounmpo

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According to new data from the social network, seven out of ten sports bettors utilize Twitter for their betting needs with 72% checking the platform to follow the status of their live bets once they've been placed.

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Why WhatsApp funded its first original content: a film from NBA champion Giannis Antetokounmpo

WhatApp, the popular messaging app owned by tech giant Meta, is bowing its first original entertainment project later this month—a short film featuring NBA star Giannis Antetokounmpo.

What's the deal?

Why did WhatsApp commission the film? The project is really a piece of branded content seeking to capitalize on Antetokounmpo’s worldwide fame and communicate the message that WhatsApp can bring people together. “‘Naija Odyssey’ is a story that reinforces how WhatsApp helps us embrace our multifaceted lives,” said Vivian Odior, WhatsApp’s global head of marketing. “In navigating relationships, identity, and even adversity, WhatsApp is there—enabling you to embrace all sides of you by connecting you to those who matter most.”

Meta (formerly Facebook) acquired mobile messaging app WhatsApp in 2014 for $19 billion. WhatsApp now has more than 2 billion monthly users. The WhatsApp deal is cited in the FTC’s pending antitrust lawsuit against its parent company.

The bottom line:

The uplifting message of “Naija Odyssey” appears in part designed to counter the narrative that WhatsApp has helped fuel the spread of misinformation and furthered societal divisions—which in some cases has led to real-world violence.

Read: Variety


MLB, NBA and NHL may buy biggest owner of regional sports TV networks

The trio of pro-sports leagues is expected to soon begin talks with Diamond Sports, which operates 21 regional Bally Sports networks that account for more than half the local broadcast markets around the country, sources close to the situation said. A prospective deal is looming as Diamond — owned by Baltimore-based Sinclair Broadcast Group — has been hemorrhaging cash and could be headed for a possible bankruptcy filing if it doesn’t find a white knight in the coming months, the sources claimed.

Insiders say Diamond might fetch $3 billion including its debt, which is currently trading at a heavily-discounted $2 billion. Sinclair is expected to propose giving over Diamond’s equity to creditors who would then sell most of the operation to MLB, the NBA and the NHL while Diamond retains a minority stake in the business.

Read: NY Post


ESPN launches creator network to attract Gen Z

The ESPN Creator Network allows the “Worldwide Leader in Sports” to engage with Gen Z consumers by boosting the people they trust most: content creators on social media platforms. The move follows an industry-wide push to elevate creators as a way to pursue a generation of ad-weary consumers that are difficult to reach through traditional channels.

With the creator network, ESPN is looking to engage with niche sport fan communities on Instagram and TikTok, where the network has more than 26 million followers. While creators will not be compensated, they will be provided with travel, tickets, access, equipment, a series of learning courses, and discretion over how they program their channels.

Read: Marketing Dive


Driving Growth + Trust With Digital Storytelling

The desire to achieve an inclusive audience experience for all is driving change and transformation across the sports industry. Teams and leagues around the globe are rallying around equality and diversity in all facets of what they do, realizing the importance of this messaging to their core fanbase(s) and to society.

In this webinar on October 12 at 12:45 PM ET, learn what leading teams and organizations are doing to ensure their audience experience is consistent + accessible for all, what the next phase of inclusivity looks like within sports, and what vehicle technology plays in driving this change.


Tiger Woods, Tom Brady, and the PGA Tour team up in new NFT platform deal

The PGA Tour and Autograph, the web3 brand co-founded by Tom Brady and that counts Woods as a board adviser, announced a deal through 2027 to create a NFT platform and allow fans to own a token of its history.

The Tour will work with Autograph to create a digital collectibles platform that pulls from Tour competition video, data, imagery and other competition-related components. Golf fans will have the opportunity to own and collect NFTs (Non-Fungible Tokens) featuring the best Tour golfers as well as some of their favorite moments from the archives and the current season.

Read: Golfweek


Amazon interest may affect Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 conference realignment as talks continue

Amazon has emerged as a significant party in college football media rights talks and therefore may become a player in further conference realignment, CBS Sports has learned. The technology giant has been linked to all three conferences that figure to come to resolutions on conference composition in the coming months given its interest in the Big Ten, Big 12 and Pac-12, according to industry sources.

Amazon finds itself in a situation where it is likely weighing whether to buy top-tier games from the Big 12 and/or Pac-12 compared to lower-profile options from the Big Ten. The Big 12 and Pac-12 are already in competition seeking new media rights deals with Fox and ESPN believed to be the primary bidders.

Read: CBS Sports

What Else Is Trending?
  • RATINGS: The WNBA drew its best postseason viewership in 15 years despite a 4% drop for the Finals due to competing NFL games.
  • PEOPLE: Erika Nardini has resigned from her position on WWE's board citing the Barstool acquisition.
  • PARTNERSHIPS: The GIST and FanDuel have renewed their partnership to create an inclusive betting environment for women.
  • INVESTMENT: Two veteran sports executives are launching a firm aiming to invest up to $50 million in early-stage companies.
  • STREAMING: Following Wrexham owner Ryan Reynolds' cricism earlier this year, the National League is planning to launch a streaming service in the second half of this season.


  • Athlete: Tony Romo
  • Campaign: NFL on Paramount+
  • Agency: The Vault


Nextdoor named exclusive partner and proud supporter of Toronto FC

The Details

Nextdoor, the neighbourhood network, is proud to announce an exclusive partnership with Toronto FC. Building on the spirit of the fans and the passion of neighbours, this multi-year deal will feature community and in-venue activations at BMO Field and marks the club’s first official community-app partnership. “Soccer and community go hand-in-hand, which makes Nextdoor the perfect partner to help Toronto FC engage local soccer fans,” said Jordan Vader, Senior Vice President, Global Partnerships, MLSE. “As we head into this important time for soccer, and as part of our commitment to growing the game, we’re thrilled to extend the passion and the excitement of the sport to GTA neighbours in a way that only Nextdoor can.”


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