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Bernoulli | Locke to debut fan-owned SailGP team

(Credit: Getty Images)

Bernoulli | Locke, a Web3 member-based business community, will debut a fan-owned SailGP team based in Bermuda and the Caribbean after the global sailing series became the first major sports entity to establish a team funded and operated by a decentralized autonomous organization (DAO).

This new team hopes to become the 10th team in the league and participate in Season 4, which begins on June 17-18, 2023, and includes one event held in Bermuda in May 2024.

Breaking into mainstream consciousness last year in the ever-evolving Web3 and blockchain landscape, DAOs are internet-native organizations which are created around unified financial goals, such as investing in startups or collecting rare non-fungible tokens (NFTs).

Once formed, a DAO is run by its members, often through the use of crypto tokens, which usually come with certain voting rights. As such, decisions are made collectively rather than by a central leader. The more tokens a member owns, the more votes they have to cast.

The Bernoulli | Locke team’s owners will be able to vote on decisions ranging from the team name and flag, athlete selection, boat livery, fan benefits and access, sponsorship, management, team business decisions, and more. To take part, fans can indicate their initial interest at FanVest.io.

“With our partners, we are delighted to bring a new and exciting level of engagement and participation for sports team owners and fans and add a new participant in SailGP," said David Palmer, Bernoulli | Locke founder and chief executive. "Our goal is to have a vibrant community of owners and fans jointly sharing the incredible journey of establishing and operating a competitive global racing team. We look forward to meeting the other teams on the water at the first race next season.”

In addition, it is expected that fans will be able to own a seasonal membership pass, through purchasing and holding an NFT, that provides pass holders access to the community as well as governance but not equity.

With no sports precedent to fall back on, it is something of a calculated risk for SailGP. But the technology-focused league is keen to become a first-mover in the emerging DAO sports ownership space.

“Professional sport is about building a passionate fanbase, and as a tech-forward global league – SailGP has leaned into Web3 to further develop the future of fandom," SailGP chief executive Sir Russell Coutts said. "We look at the fan-owned team as the ultimate implementation of a loyalty program, and this new Caribbean & Bermuda team will redefine the fan experience and team ownership model.

"It is a testament to the value of our relationship with [the NEAR Protocol] that a decentralized team can be created to ultimately provide control of a team to a passionate community of fans," Coutts said.

In a similar move, professional combat sports league Karate Combat recently announced a landmark plan to transition its ownership model to a DAO in December.

Meanwhile, the CBS broadcast of the Range Rover France Sail Grand Prix on October 23 averaged 1.609 million viewers, representing the most-watched sailing event on television in the United States in over 30 years.

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