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Digital Golf Community LinksDAO buy a Golf Course
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This Week’s Deep Dive: Digital Golf Community LinksDAO buy a Golf Course
Most Sports DAOs are scams or will fail.
A lot of them are started or run by people who have no idea what they’re doing or are simply using a lofty, unrealistic goal to squeeze money from excited NFT purchasers which eventually reaches their back pockets.
But the few that survive or pivot their missions appropriately could have a big impact on how sports organisations think about governance, community and operations.
Let me make something clear: I still do not think minority or majority DAO ownership groups are suitable for top-level sports organisations right now. Some are even constrained by the rules and regulations of the leagues themselves.
As per the image above from leading Crypto research firm Messari, the tools utilised by DAOs are extremely primitive. It’s Discord, Snapshot for voting and an on-chain treasury in most cases. The tooling is primitive and far away from having anything close to being mature enough to run a top-flight sports organisation.
The idea that fans should have a bigger influence on the team they support is completely fair, but using said tooling, and tokens, makes very little sense to me in the short term.
A few DAOs in Sports have done some very interesting things, however.
Krause House, for example, were actually name-checked as one of the potential buyers for the recently acquired Phoenix Suns. They would have been forced to take a minority stake due to the rules in NBA ownership, but for them to be referenced in the mainstream press is incredible alone.
They already own a team in the 'Big3' league started by Ice Cube, but the overall goal of the DAO was to find a way to own at least part of an NBA franchise. WAGBABT (We are going to buy a basketball team)
That goal is something I don't think will happen in the near term at least, but to their credit, I didn't ever think they'd ever be in the running to own even part of an NBA franchise ever. And they've done just that. They've also got an engaged community and have rolled out various media products for their token holders and community.
They're not the only ones making moves in this space, however.
A Global Golf Community
LinksDAO, a golf community with the goal of buying and operating a golf club have had a bid accepted to buy the Scottish Golf course Spey Bay which is reportedly worth ~$900,000.
The community of ~5,400 golfers was founded in late 2021 and raised ~$10.5 million dollars worth of ETH by selling NFTs that provide two levels of membership — Global and Leisure.
These provide varying levels of DAO governance and a provide numerous perks. Most notable of which is access to ~450 golf clubs in the Links Play network. The NFTs also give holders access to limited-edition merchandise and discounts from a variety of leading golfing brands.
LinksDAO had an extremely successful NFT launch, but it wasn’t simply a flash in the pan. There’s been ~ $19m worth of NFT secondary sales.
LinksDAO, the decentralized organization, won't actually own or run the club. Links Golf Club is a standard company on the front end that takes care of that. The DAO itself is an organization that votes on whether to move forward with acquisitions and relevant other proposals.
Even though LinksDAO have a predominantly US audience, and the golf clubs their holders have access to are based in the states, the Spey Bay purchase received 88% of the vote. More than 4300 votes were cast regarding the proposal to place a bid on Spey Bay. 4300 votes from 953 voters. There have been 16 votes since the Spey Bay proposal (Vote #1) and LinksDAO voters have stayed consistent. Vote #1 saw 977 individual voters, showing very impressive attrition rates compared to most DAOs.
With the purchase, LinksDAO will turn their attention to scale — pushing to add another 100,000 members but through a regular ‘Web2’ means rather than the via NFTs.
🧠 My Thoughts
To summarise, the LinksDAO playbook looks like this:
Use NFTs to 1) Raise money and 2) Provide on-chain governance rights for your community: LinksDAO raised $11m in primary sales and have had ~ $19m in secondary sales, which created strong runway for their lofty ambitions.
Create tangible value for holders: LinksDAO NFT holders have access to 450+ golf and social clubs in North America. They get discounts from leading brands in the golf leisure and equipment market. They get governance on something tangible; buying a golf course, the goal at launch.
Build in the Bear: LinksDAO, unlike many others, haven’t let markets tanking globally or inflation put them off building out their proposition. A lot of DAOs have had to pivot or simply fold due to market conditions.
Achieve your goal: LinksDAO actually bought a golf course. They found a niche, raised funds via NFTs, created tangible value for their NFT holders and most importantly - actually achieve the lofty goal they set out to achieve; buying a golf course.
Create Cashflow: The most important point. Most NFT projects think that continually selling collectibles or relying on secondary market volumes is sustainable. The opposite is true, this will only be the case for the 99th percentile NFT projects. LinksDAO have gotten ahead of this by opening up their membership offering beyond NFTs, to attract a broader offering.
At inception, I wasn’t quite sure whether or not LinksDAO could achieve what they set out to do.
But I tip my cap to the dedication, operational excellence and level of execution they have maintained over the last 2 years, leading up to the purchase of the Spey Bay Golf Course.
Everything is done with purpose and at a top level. Everything from their social posts, the branding, the NFT holder dashboard — it’s all best in class in the world of NFTs, and most definitely DAOs.
A good friend of mine recently posted something I liked on LinkedIn:
Dream in years
Plan in months
Evaluate in weeks
Most Sports Ownership DAOs or Sports DAOs do number 1, and. then when they do number 3 — they decide this isn’t a good idea anymore.
What LinksDAO have done is make it so NFT owners who govern the project, aren’t involved in every little detail. This is something I like. You don’t need to decentralise everything, especially the operational part of the proposition. This is where a lot of Sports DAOs get it massively wrong.
Nobody wants to vote on who your soccer club buy in the summer.
Nobody wants to vote on who your team picks in an NBA draft.
Sports fans want to have a voice, but not one that is saturated by having too many decisions to vote on, either end of the spectrum. That spectrum is from A) nominal things that don’t really matter like the colour of your favourite tennis players’ sweatbands, to B) Over-engineered management of day-to-day operations that very few fans want to be a part of.
In my opinion, most Sports Ownership DAOs will do one of four things:
Survive long enough for DAO tooling to become mature enough to operate a sports team as well as current organisations do.
Pivot to become media entities or leverage their community and treasury for something else such as a venture fund.
Wait for rules and regulations to change significantly enough so that they can buy a stake in a tier 1 sports team.
Buy a sports team at a lower sporting level.
DAOs are overhyped but there is something there.
When it comes to Sports it'll be very few that have a positive impact on fans or players.
But if you’re looking for the shining light, LinksDAO are exactly that.
A collective that have actually achieved their goal, operated at a level that you would expect from a top-tier organisation and created a sustainable business offering.
💡Sporting Crypto Spotlight
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More Sports & Web3 Stories
Nicolas Julia, CEO of Sorare, was interviewed recently and quoted saying he wants to see Sorare become the biggest Sports Entertainment brand in the world.
Coindesk wrote a very balanced piece on TopShot and how successful Dapper Labs have been beyond their flagship NBA proposition.
Zetly and Johan Cruyff Institute have announced a partnership to promote education in the business of sport.
Chiliz have acquired a 20% stake in MatchWornShirt.
Rug Radio, one of the biggest Web3 Media entities, have partnered with Sorare to create a sports media offering.
General ‘Stuff’ that Could Impact you
Meta are no longer pursuing NFTs. Interesting considering that Zuck changed Facebook’s name to, you know, Meta.
The NHL and Disney partnered to create a 3D animated version of the game, live.
Microsoft have created a crypto wallet.
Salesforce are, unlike Meta, accelerating their NFT plans.
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