The WC is a selection of five useful, interesting & notable insights handpicked by CIO Wyatt Cavalier and dropped into your inbox every Wednesday.
Really excited about the woolly mammoth thing? It’s point 4. You’re welcome.
And if you like dinosaurs, that’s point 5. You might as well read the whole thing actually. It was a good week for Interesting Stuff.
Who run the world? Girls.
The market for women’s sports — and for female sports fans — is exploding:
- Angel City FC, a new expansion team and the most popular team in the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) draws nearly 20k supporters to each home match. I’d go just for the name.
- Portland Thorns FC regularly pulls in over 15k. Search volume for Portland’s team is up 23% since last year.
- The top WNBA teams regularly see over 10k supporters in attendance.
And the money is following.
This year, the NWSL partnered with a digital marketing agency to produce photos, videos, and other ready-made social media content for all its players, not just the biggest stars. This initiative, among others, led to over 10B social media impressions during the January draft.
Just a few years ago, maybe only a handful of professional athletes (outside tennis and perhaps golf) pulled in seven-figures. The aim now is to increase that number to dozens.
The rising tide is lifting the collegiate boat as well. From the by-women for-women sports newsletter The Gist:
Women’s basketball (WBB) was incredibly popular in 2022 — the number of deals inked by players rose 186%, and the sport averaged three commercial partners per player. By comparison, endorsements for male basketball players only grew 67% during this time, and male hoopers averaged two sponsors per player.
The timing couldn’t be better with the Women’s World Cup kicking off this summer in Australia and New Zealand. Over 1.1 billion people watched the World Cup in 2019, and I’d be surprised if that figure didn’t climb past 1.5 billion this year. Google search volume for this year’s event is already double what it was four years ago.
Adidas’s stunning away kits have gone viral on the socials.
adidas just dropped a stand-out set of away kits for the 2023 Women's World Cup — VERSUS (@vsrsus) March 23, 2023
A thread. pic.twitter.com/990hIL0ePZ
This summer’s World Cup is going to be 🔥.
Dig deeper into the Women’s sports biz:
- Subscribe to The Gist
- Why Women’s Sports is Now Big Business
- For women’s sports, the media buys are becoming a big deal
What about today? Is today the worst day of your life?
The US is plagued by an undeniable ennui these days. Times are tough, layoffs are coming, and no one can afford to buy a home.
A recent Wall St Journal survey puts some meat on that bone:
- 80% say the economy is in bad shape, and nearly half think it’ll continue to get worse.
- Only 16% of Americans are “pretty well satisfied” with their financial situation, and only 28% think there’s any prospect for improvement.
- A staggering 78% of Americans think their kids will be worse off than themselves 😨
- Six in ten say their cost of living is rising, and it’s creating either minor or major financial strains.
- Over half of Americans either never go to church or attend less than once a year.
Despite all that, 68% of Americans say they’re either very or pretty happy. A land of unbridled / unfounded optimism.
The only “value” on the rise? Americans’ love of (or maybe need for) money.
New WSJ poll: Traditional values seem to be in decline in America.— Derek Thompson (@DKThomp) March 27, 2023
In the full survey, one value beats everything else, including self-fulfillment, tolerance, and community. It’s hard work. pic.twitter.com/T8EiwHDsKa
Grim times that bode poorly for both the economy and incumbents in next year’s elections. Soz everyone.
Dig deeper into America’s impending sense of dread:
- Most Americans Doubt Their Children Will Be Better Off
- U.S. Church Membership Falls Below Majority for First Time
- The Impact of the Economy on Presidential Elections Throughout US History
They took our jobs!
Speaking of polls describing despairing Americans, people are super worried AI is going to take their jobs.
Around 30% of Americans think AI is going to decrease the number of jobs available in their industry, compared with only 12% who think the number of jobs will go up. A majority 58% don’t really know what to think.
Perhaps the most surprising stat comes from members of the always-confident legal field.
Only 15% of lawyers, most of whom spend their days copy-pasting boilerplate contracts and interesting three or four original bits of info, think they’re at risk of replacement.
Likewise, only 21% of doctors, who spend a lot of their time asking questions and making determinations — precisely what AI is good at — think they’re at risk.
No doubt AI is here to stay, and it’s going to effect seismic changes on the global economy, but it’s too early for anyone to guess what that’s going to look like.
But uncertainty leads to fear, and it’s not surprising people working in industries with the least job security are the most afraid for their future.
Perhaps this is why people think their kids are in for a tough time?
Dig deeper into robots stealing your job:
- The Future of AI: 5 Industries That Will Be Most Affected
- Which occupations do Americans think will be most affected by advances in AI?
You’re in for a treat (here’s the woolly mammoth bit)
When I moved to London in 2009, my corporate housing was down the road from Borough Market, which is where I discovered ostrich burgers. As an American living abroad for the first time, I couldn’t help but note how worldly and exotic I’d become.
Make no mistake, ostrich burgers are immensely delicious (and very healthy), but they’ve got nothing on what an Australian startup is cooking up.
Vow took some cells from the extinct wooly mammoth, grew 20 billions more of them in a lab, and made it all into a meatball.
While the mammoth meatballs aren’t yet ready for mass production, they present an opportunity in an industry that’s seen Beyond Meat’s share price plummet 70% over the last year.
How much would you pay for a plate of mammoth meatballs? Or dodo dipping sauce? Or a T-Rex T-bone?
It’s not hard to imagine the economic possibilities commercial scale might bring to this technology.
Dig deeper into eating strange meats:
- The coolest extinct animals to walk the earth
- The 33 best cannibal movies
- The economics of lab-grown meat
You Didn’t Ask For Reality, You Asked For More Teeth.
People — especially super rich people and small children — love dinosaurs, and high-end auction houses have pounced on the opportunity over the last few years.
Some recent massive sales:
- In 2020, a T-Rex named Stan sold for nearly $32m.
- May 2022 a Deinonychus skeleton sold for $12 million at Christie’s
- In July 2022, a gorgosaurus sold for over $6m
- In 2019, a baby T-Rex fossil was put up for sale on eBay for $3 million
But these massive paydays are becoming endangered, and the top top sales are at risk of extinction. POW!
- November saw Christie’s pull a T-Rex skeleton named “Shen” off the auction block after a paleontologist suggested some of Shen’s bones bore a dubious similarity to Stan’s. Christie’s said Shen’s consignor had decided to loan the skeleton to a museum instead. Shen had been slated to fetch between $15 million to $25 million.
- Sotheby’s also suffered a Titanosaur-sized disappointment just a month later, when a Tyrannosaurus skull, which the auction house had pegged around the $20 million mark, sold for a measly $6.1 million. Cassandra Hatton, global head of science and popular culture at Sotheby’s, told The New York Times the auction was “always designed to gauge the market”. Hmm.
In 2020, fractional marketplace Rally IPO’ed a triceratops skull for $285k. It’s currently trading down 20% and is — according to their app — valued at $400k less than recent similar sales. [Disclosure, I own 20 shares of this]
These things seem cyclical, and it’s not like anyone is making more dinosaurs (except possibly to eat), so the long-term future of these relics feels secure.
In the meantime, I’m going to rewatch all six Jurassic Park / World films instead of doing productive work.
Dig deeper into digging up dinosaurs for profit:
- Mystery owner of Stan the T rex finally revealed following $31.8m auction
- Gorgosaurus: 77-million-year-old dinosaur skeleton sells for $6m
- The Brontosaurus Bubble: Could the bottom fall out of the dinosaur fossil market?
That’s all for this week.
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