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Larry Ellison’s SailGP to launch sports team DAO

sailing race SailGP

Yesterday competitive sailing league SailGP announced that it has partnered with blockchain development platform NEAR to launch a sports decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) for a new sailing team. The NEAR blockchain foundation becomes one of just five sponsors of the two-year old racing league.

Together with yachtsman Russell Coutts, SailGP was co-founded by Larry Ellison, the co-founder, CTO, and former CEO of software company Oracle. The sailing league is not the billionaire’s only sports investment, he also owns the Indian Wells Masters tennis tournament. 

Through votes by DAO community members, potentially fans might determine the new sailing team’s athlete lineup, commercialization options, team strategy, and make other important decisions that would traditionally be made by sports team owners or managers. 

“I’m really excited because it’s going to allow engagement on a whole new level,” said Russell Coutts, co-founder of SailGP. “Instead of us thinking we know what the fans want, the fans will ultimately be driving this, which I think’s fantastic. Of course, they’ll (fans) come up with ideas that we haven’t thought of, and probably better. That’s the advantage.”

As well as engaging with fans of competitive sailing, SailGP expects the DAO to attract cryptocurrency, blockchain, and technology enthusiasts to the league. SailGP also plans to release non-fungible tokens (NFTs) as part of its partnership with NEAR.

Depending on how a DAO is structured, it can fall under U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) regulation. SEC rules will apply if a DAO involves ownership of something rather than membership of a community. 

Meanwhile in sports, MotorDAO aims to give fans a say in motorsport and provide a template for blockchain-enabled fan governance in the entire sports sector. And professional American football league Fan Controlled Football announced a $40 million Series A funding round led by Animoca Brands and Delphi Digital. It has four teams where team governance is determined by NFT holders.