One thing all sports fans can agree on is that while sports are fun, they’re not as fun as the financial markets. I hate it when I watch Ja Morant do lewd things to defenders, but I don’t get the chance to leverage his performances to make impressive gains on the margins. Fortunately, business moron Alex Rodriguez and his investment partners Marc Lore, Joshua Kushner (of those Kushners), Vinit Bharara (of the famous diapers.com) and Tiger Global Management have raised $75 million to solve this exact problem. What this group proposes is this: what if you could combine the worst aspects of fantasy sports and gambling into something much more fun, like, say, the stock market? You will soon be able to on an app called Mojo.
A Bloomberg story announcing the app’s creation is oddly light on details, though the founders all say they want the app to look like Robinhood or Coinbase, meaning they want it to be a casino. which does not look like one. But why were they able to get so much money? Listen to Lore:
“I always thought the idea of a sports stock market was the holy grail – the vision could transform sports and the fandom as a whole,” Lore said in an email. “For years I’ve heard people pitch the idea, but no one has been able to pull it off. For the concept to really work, you need underlying principles like intrinsic value and instant liquidity. .
What Lore describes here is more or less the apotheosis of all the worst trends in sports fandom over the past decade. We wouldn’t be facing the threat of a “sports exchange” if the corporate takeover of sports (and sports media) hadn’t progressed as far as it has over the past two years. If daily fantasy sports primed the pump for legal gambling, then gambling paved the way for the outright financialization of fandom. It seems almost antiquated to make this point now, but the whole idea of being a fan of a team, or watching sports, or caring about any of that at any level, is having a kind of common experience based on the mutual enjoyment of sport, at team or individual level. And yet, every significant development on the fringes of sports watching in recent decades has been geared toward detaching fandom from its theoretical center (having fun watching sports). That’s all, to an obviously lesser degree, one more step in the all-consuming casino-ification of the American economy. Almost anyone under the age of 50 would agree that the post-war treasure trove that fueled the vision of “free college -> job at the canoe factory -> enough money to buy four vacation homes” of upward mobility in the consumer economy has run out. But at least now you can partake in the new engine of growth, i.e. mint a shitcoin and do a pump and dump system. The expansion of capital requires new markets; the suckers definitely represent a market, and all you have to do is not end up in the bottom, in your crypto scam or the sports exchange.
Getting back on topic, it makes sense that people invest so much money in a sports stock market because the house always wins and gambling is currently being mass legalized. Having everyone compete as users all try to buy low and sell high on the same assets also ensures a risk-free flow of profit (not just running a bookmaker normal is as risky as those gruesome ESPN trending stories about casinos taking huge losses make it sound), and helps ensure a stable customer base as the leagues face the impending death of live TV. Either way, now you can look forward to asserting your fandom and trying to save your kid’s college fund by taking advantage of some put options from Ayo Dosunmu, or whatever it is, which we we can all agree that they should be the true essence of sport.