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Could DAOs Be the Future of Sports?

Coindesk | Jeff Wilser | Jul 25, 2022

Sports DAO 1 - Could DAOs Be the Future of Sports?Buy the Broncos

“Fans are clamoring for the ability to not just be a fan, but to also have a voice,” said Sean O’Brien, co-founder of the DAO called BuytheBroncos that recently tried to, well, buy the Denver Broncos. We knew the Broncos would be going up for sale given that longtime owner Pat Bowlen had passed away in 2019, and the team had since been run by a trust. We were pretty sure it would be in 2022."

So O’Brien did his homework. He knew the NFL and the Securities and Exchange Commission would be reluctant to acknowledge some goofy-sounding Web3 entity, so along with longtime friend James Wigginton, he spent months developing the legal foundation.  As O’Brien describes it, the NFL officially acknowledges five different types of ownership structures: independently wealthy individuals, an association, a partnership, a corporation or the fifth category of an “other entity.”

See:  Research: Ownership of Top 10 Web3 DAOs is Surprisingly Concentrated

They think the DAO can slide into the “other” category, because the DAO is a co-op. “This is a solid legal framework, Wigginton said. “Cooperatives have worked for hundreds of years.” Farmers use co-ops. REI is a co-op. When you pay your $30 membership to REI, you are technically a part-owner and you receive year-end dividends when you buy tents and skis and sleeping bags. “This could potentially revolutionize fan ownership,” Wigginton said, “because a cooperative – unlike a corporation – allows the users of the product to own the product.”

The DAO could even empower NFL players. “We haven’t made it public yet, but we have close to a dozen current Broncos who have said they’re onboard with us,” O’Brien said, along with “a few dozen” former NFL players. The pitch: If current NFL players are allowed to own a sliver of their team, this will both give them agency and boost their loyalty.

Buying a golf course

The average course costs $3.1 million, according to Links magazine, which puts it easily in the striking distance of crypto budgets, even in a bear market.

We’re rethinking the concept of what a golf community can be

Enter LinksDAO, a group of 5,300 golf enthusiasts who are trying to buy a golf course. “We’re rethinking the concept of what a golf community can be,” said Jim Daily, the DAO’s founder (along with Mike Dudas), who views the DAO as a way to make the exclusive world of golf “more fun and inclusive and egalitarian.”

See:  Sounds like a DAO, Looks like a DAO: Introducing the Modern Digital Organization

LinksDAO has $9 million in the treasury, according to Daily, which was raised through a non-fungible token (NFT) drop that sold out in less than 48 hours. So unlike the more quixotic quest of buying an NFL team, a DAO-infused golf course feels likely to happen. (Daily clarifies that they will not use the DAO’s treasury to purchase the course, but instead do an “equity raise with more traditional capital,” and that in a technical sense, the DAO members will not actually own the course.)

Daily, who now spends much of his time “humping around the country looking at golf courses,” said the DAO is an easy way for golfers to nerd out over golf. It’s a way to find your tribe. (A tribe that might now include … Bill Murray?) “If you’re a golfer, you play the game for life,” Daily said, “and there are so many different areas where you can really lean in with other people.”

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