Zone of Genius

More Than a Game: Why Are We Obsessed With Sports?

a16z CLF

Posted August 22, 2023

In this episode of Zone of Genius, we explore our cultural connection to sports. Guests Que Gaskins, president, NBPA Think 450, Robin Arzón, VP/head instructor, Peloton and founder, Swagger Society, Brandon Brown, assistant general manager, NY Giants, and Nan Wang, cofounder/CEO, Sleeper, sit down with the Cultural Leadership Fund to discuss what gives athletes swagger, the fantasy market, the future of NIL and athlete IP, and how technology is shaping new opportunities for athletes and teams to connect with fans.

Topics covered:
1:12: Why sports? What sparked each leader’s interest in sports
6:40: Shared experience, connection, and community within sports
9:35: Que on how his brand marketing experience translates to sports
12:35: Applying cultural context to sports branding
14:15: The influence of athletes on culture; what makes athletes cool?
19:25: Brandon on keeping up with talent and trends today in football and Robin’s experience recruiting for Peloton
26:41: The fantasy market today and opportunities to grow the space
34:28: Fan engagement, rituals, and honoring the fan experience
39:50: Athlete IP, NIL, and opportunities for athletes and brands to connect with fans and new and innovative ways
48:15: Technology’s role in advancing the business of sports and the most exciting tools each guest is watching
54:05: Each leader’s all-time favorite athlete and why

More About This Podcast

Zone of Genius is a special, 3-part summer series bringing you exclusive conversations with cultural leaders across sports, music and food.

Learn More