☕️ Chemistry

The sports-crypto crossover...

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November 21, 2021 | View Online | Sign Up | Shop
Illustration showing on a Thanksgiving table with surrealist elements

Lydia Ortiz


The business of hip hop

Readers share words of wisdom

The crypto/sports love affair


Editor's Note


Good morning. With Thanksgiving approaching, I just wanted to say a quick thank you to all of our readers. Thanks for carving out some time to open the Brew every day, for writing in with your feedback, for laughing at our dad jokes, for sharing it with your friends, for correcting our flubs (yeah, you're especially good at that), for rocking our swag—all of it. We're the luckiest dang newsletter writers in the world.

—Neal Freyman






Icebreakers With...Dan Runcie

Dan Runcie headshot

Dan Runcie

Dan Runcie launched Trapital, a newsletter breaking down the business of hip-hop, in 2018 because, well, no one else had. In the years since, he's offered his readers breakdowns on everything from Beyoncé's streaming strategy to the Tyler, the Creator cult. He plans to expand his weekly memos, deep-dive essays, and podcasts into a full-blown media company with an investing and education arm.

We talked shop with Dan, newsletter to newsletter.

Walk us through your day.

Normally, I wake up, do a quick morning meditation. The first hour of the morning is mostly dedicated to big issues like making sure that things are queued up from a content perspective. The rest of the morning is dedicated to some solid uninterrupted time to create content. And then normally, after lunch I may take a few calls following up with partners or sponsors, or anyone that I need to catch up with to help build a relationship. The afternoons are also for lower-level tasks.

I try to structure the days similar to how I think about the business. I need to spend a good amount of my time creating content, because I think, at the end of the day, that's what makes Trapital unique. But if I just wanted to create content, then I would work for someone else. I'm also building a media company.

Trapital is focused on the business of hip-hop, but you've written pieces about other topics. What's a story that was especially relevant to your audience despite not being directly related to hip-hop?

I've covered what LeBron James has done with SpringHill, his entertainment company. LeBron, of course, is not a hip-hop artist. But I decided to talk about it because so much of what happens in hip-hop is relevant to other trends that we're seeing more broadly in media and content creation, but also in Black culture.

When I covered it, a lot of other content studios were being acquired, whether it was Reese Witherspoon's Hello Sunshine or Amazon buying MGM. It's all so relevant to the broader market. Plus LeBron James himself has been involved with music. I wouldn't be surprised if down the road he ends up doing something deeper within music.

If you're at a party where the energy is low, what song would you put on to get everybody pumped up?

I'll say this: There was a good two or three years when the song by French Montana, "Pop That," was the ultimate turn-up. Pop Smoke had a song "Dior" that I think was at that level. But I also know that there's a bit of a regional factor. If you play that song in New York it's definitely going to hit a little more than out here in San Francisco.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.





Don't Do Stupid Stuff and Other Reader Advice

Make it work image

Each week, our workplace whisperer Shane Loughnane answers a reader-submitted question about work in 2021. Anything bothering you at work? Ask Shane here.

In the spirit of the approaching holiday, we invited you last week to spread the gratitude by sharing advice that's made a difference in your work life. The harvest was plentiful, and I suspect my third-grade teacher would be proud of my using the word "cornucopia" to describe the abundance of genuinely inspiring responses that we received. Here are a few of the many highlights:

  • "I asked my boss how she stays organized with all the projects and daily tasks thrown her way. She told me that she imagines a dresser and every task is a drawer in the dresser. Before she starts another project or task, she makes sure she shuts the drawer she currently has open. That way she can concentrate on what's in front of her."—Anonymous
  • "The best advice I've ever been given was from a soccer coach who angrily yelled at us, 'If you're going to do something stupid, think about it first, and then don't do it.'"—Ricky, NYC
  • "Never, ever let your career be a 'happening.' My mentor said this to encourage me, early in my banking career, to actively seek what I wanted, not to wait for someone to hand it to me."—Anonymous
  • "My first boss gave me the best advice I've ever received: 'You can do something well, fast, or cheap: pick 2.' The advice was his way of saying that if you plan well so that you don't have to rush, you can achieve a high-quality result at a low cost."—Brian, Atlanta

Thanks to all who contributed, and a special shoutout to Abby from Michigan for recommending that I get my pumpkin pie from Costco this year. Here's wishing everyone a very happy Thanksgiving.

Something bothering you at work? Ask Shane here. And if you want to read more analysis about the workplace, make sure you subscribe to HR Brew.




Crypto Sports

Rendering of Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles


LA's Staples Center, home to the Lakers, Clippers, Kings, Sparks, and many Grammy Awards ceremonies, will receive a shiny new name on Christmas: Crypto.com Arena. The rights went for more than $700 million in one of the biggest naming deals in sports history.

While it's not exactly shocking that, in 2021, a stadium will be named after a crypto company instead of one that sells thumbtacks, the move is symbolic of crypto's breathtaking blitz into the world of sports.

In fact, crypto is the fastest-growing sponsorship category in sports, executives say. You can now find crypto companies on TV ads during games, adorning players' jerseys, slapped on basketball courts, and more. You know what, let's take a quick tour:

  • Stadium names: Even before Crypto.com struck its LA arena deal, the crypto exchange FTX inked a $135 million agreement to take over the naming rights for Miami's American Airlines Arena. And SoFi, a fintech company that offers crypto investing, has lent its name to Los Angeles's new football stadium. Doge Square Garden when?
  • Jerseys: Two NBA teams—the Sixers and Trailblazers—have a patch on their jerseys advertising crypto companies. Crypto.com also signed a deal with UFC for real estate on athletes' fighting apparel, including hoodies, shorts, and bra tops.
  • Athlete influencers: Tom Brady (an FTX investor), Steph Curry, and top NFL draft pick Trevor Lawrence have all linked up with crypto companies in sponsorship deals.

Dilly dilly is old news

Crypto is crashing a sports marketing party that's long been dominated by industries like insurance, cars, and beer.

That's because crypto and sports have more chemistry than the 2013 San Antonio Spurs. Sports fans are about twice as likely as sports goys to say they're familiar with cryptocurrencies, per a Morning Consult poll.

  • Plus, the crossover between intense sports fans and the crypto world is even more solid. Two in three "avid" sports fans and 72% of sports bettors said they're familiar with crypto.

Reading between the lines: People who love sports are also more likely to speculate in financial markets. This ties into the popular theory that fans, when faced with no sports to watch or wager on during the early days of the pandemic, helped drive a surge in retail trading last spring.

Crypto exchanges, which are racing against one another to acquire customers, see riches in tapping the sports fan base. Crypto.com will fork over more than $1 billion on sports marketing this year alone.

Looking ahead...expect the upcoming Super Bowl to be a crypto ad with a side of football. FTX already bought a commercial slot, and experts predict many other crypto-related companies will advertise during the Big Game.—NF





Open House

Welcome to Open House, the only newsletter section that's offering you a lifestyle change (not a positive one, just a change). We'll give you a few facts about a home listing and you try to guess the price.

Woodstock, Connecticut castle.


Milord and lady will be intrigued by ye new castle in Woodstock, Connecticut, a town on the northeast side of the state that kisses the border of Massachusetts. Construction on the stone mound started in 2003, so just like cargo pants, it's back and it costs a lot more than it did the first time around. The castle is currently owned by the great-grandson of a Chicago steel tycoon and gives off a very History Channel vibe. Amenities include:

  • 9 beds, 10 baths
  • Moat (piranhas not included)
  • 12 fireplaces
  • Towers for trapping your daughter who turns into an ogre at night

How much to go full Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court?




Just Click It

1. Solving the mysteries of scent. (Harper's Magazine)
2. Ivermectin: Much more than you wanted to know. (Astral Codex Ten)
3. An ode to barbecue potato chips. (The Atlantic)
4. Meet the group trying to build a Noah's Ark for threatened species' DNA. (Emerging Tech Brew)
5. Why milk crates are the perfect container. (Dairycrates.com)
6. The story of my tattoo. (The Irish Times)
7. Singapore's tech-utopia dream is turning into a surveillance state nightmare. (Rest of World)
8. The friends you make online. (Saeed Jones)
9. To catch a turtle thief: Blowing the lid off an international smuggling operation. (The Walrus)
10. Greenland's melting glaciers. (The Post and Courier)

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Meme Battle

Welcome back to Morning Brew's Meme Battle, where we crown a single memelord every Sunday.

Today's winner: David in Charleston, SC

Meme contest winner

This week's challenge: You can find the new meme template here for next Sunday. Once you're done making your meme, submit it at this link for consideration.




$35 million


Written by Neal Freyman, Jamie Wilde, Max Knoblauch, and Matty Merritt

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