Fans are the new free agents

ON_Sport dives into the last stronghold of the rapidly changing world of professional sports — the fan experience. Unlike other media verticals, the fan experience has been largely insulated against disruption; live sports have been one of the last bastions of linear broadcast media, a vast and mature market where regional relationships drive market activity and predictable consumer behaviors.

This stability is facing a triple threat of unstoppable disruption: the unbundling of ESPN, the rise of online gambling/fantasy, and the memification of highlights. These forces are resetting fan expectations for how they consume the game, what matters most to their experience, and where business opportunities lie in an uncertain future. 

The intergenerational transfer of fanatical devotion of a local team is going to fundamentally change in a new media and digital landscape, but the love of the game will remain. How will that love be witnessed, monetized, and mediated in an uncertain future?

Explore our initial questions and perspective




ISSUE #003

Are you playing business or doing business?

Former NFL Quarterback, Tech CEO and Founding Member of ON_Discourse Launches The Playing Business Podcast, produced and hosted by ON_Discourse.

In Playing Business, the hosts ask the question: Can success in sport translate to success in business?

In the first season, former NFL Quarterback and CEO of One of None, DeShone Kizer and Co-Founder and Chairman of Code and Theory, Dan Gardner sit down with professional athletes from the NBA, NFL and MLS, sports commentators and one of the world’s most prolific climbers to explore what business people can learn from professional athletes about what it takes to give everything to be world-class, and what athletes can learn from icons in business about how to build and operate a successful company?

Dan Gardner

Dan Gardner

Founder & Exec Chair of Code and Theory.
Founder, ON_Discourse

A three part series that looks at how entertainment is being disrupted by artificial intelligence.

Start here or jump ahead into any individual article exploring the transformation of creativity, ownership and distribution.

I get it, AI makes a creative person feel uncomfortable. Facing this intersection of creativity and artificial intelligence (AI) might cause a ripple of discomfort, particularly if you’re someone who has dedicated their life to honing creative abilities.

It’s understandably disconcerting to contemplate the idea of an AI system challenging your unique capacity for creativity – a quality you’ve always attributed to your personal skillset.

Image created using Midjourney

Matthew Chmiel

Head of Discourse

On Friday, July 28, we invited three guest experts to discuss AI and digital media. ON_Discourse members joined us that day and were provoked by Dan Gardner and Michael Treff.

Social Media

Is Dead

Toby Daniels

Toby Daniels

Founder, ON_Discourse.
Founder and Chair,
Social Media Week

What justification does Threads, Meta’s by-the-numbers Twitter clone, have to exist beyond expanding the Facebook monolith? If you listen to the company, Threads will be a bold experiment in decentralized social networking… at some vague point in the future.

Dan Gardner

Dan Gardner

Founder & Exec Chair,
Code and Theory.
Founder, ON_Discourse

100 million is still a small percentage of total Instagram or even Facebook users despite the frictionless way you could sign up. If you advertised a free service to over 2 billion people, is 5% sign-up a success? Why is the media jumping all over this like it’s an indication of success or change in behavior?

Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is the editor of Tedium, a twice-weekly internet history newsletter, and a frequent contributor to Vice’s Motherboard.

Ignoring the potential of the fediverse and ActivityPub entirely is a mistake because services like it often shape the corporate world. It could be a way to control your brand’s digital destiny.




Larry Muller

COO of Code & Theory

Who do you trust? Bored Apes? Bankman Fried? Kevin Rose? Facebook? TikTok?

Should they all have an opportunity to participate in AI? Have they earned it?

There are thousands of others I could put on the list. Not necessarily “bad” enterprises or “bad” people (some are). Just companies and people who have not earned our trust. Imagine the mess they would all create.

Big Tech Should
Not Get Bigger

In the spirit of discourse, Larry Muller and Dan Gardner argue the opposing side of their own article.

AI is Not a
Public Utility

Anthony DeRosa

Head of Content and Product



Anthony DeRosa

Head of Content and Product,

The dangers of AI should not be disregarded, as responsible discussions around ethics, privacy, job displacement, and algorithmic bias are crucial.

However, it is equally important to maintain a balanced dialogue that separates legitimate concerns from alarmist speculation. Painting all AI advancements with a broad brush of impending doom stifles innovation and instills unnecessary fear in the public.

The Open Source
AI Revolution

Dylan Patel

Semiconductor Analyst

ChatGPT Startups
Are Risky

Rachel Curry

Journalist based in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

Dan Gardner

Dan Gardner

Founder & Exec Chair of Code and Theory & Founder, ON_Discourse

When was the last time you felt like you had your mind changed?



Molly Crabapple

Award-winning artist and writer

One might argue that the rise of AI image generators is only a problem for illustrators like me. But what about you, editor, art director, or publisher? Why should you forgo something so convenient? 



The Shift from Knowledge Work to Direction Work

Toby Daniels

Toby Daniels

Founder, ON_Discourse.
Founder and Chair,
Social Media Week

Shifts in many job sectors do not just show AI replacing human skills. They show a need for a new kind of human skill set. This is where the direction worker comes in.


Sorry, Not Everyone Can Be a Director

Dan Gardner

Dan Gardner

Founder & Exec Chair,
Code and Theory.
Founder, ON_Discourse

Before we write off creativity and knowledge workers as superfluous, remember this is not our first industrial revolution — in fact, it’s one of many.



Disclosing the Use of AI in Reporting: It’s Futile

Michael Nunez

Michael Nunez is the Editorial Director of VentureBeat, where he leads the coverage of artificial intelligence and enterprise data.

While generative AI is an unstoppable force in many industries, how it transforms journalism over the next decade is up to those of us at the forefront — not legacy media, which will surely be slow to adopt.


Newsrooms Should Build Their Own Generative AI

Matthieu Mingasson

Head of Design Transformation,
Code & Theory

We’ve seen fear over potential job loss, dire warnings over the potential for AI-generated misinformation, and some tepid statements about its positive potential for the industry. But smart publishers will realize that there’s enormous potential.

Is web3 Still a Thing?

Matthew Sweezey

Chief Strategy Officer, Smart Token Labs

The entire current conversation about web3 is focused on the financial aspects of the technology, and mostly that is simply the token prices of Bitcoin. This limited view is too scary to consumers and brands.

When we let web3 fade into the background and leverage it to create better experiences both of those fears go away, and a greater value can emerge. To do this we also have to reduce the complexity of the experience, which means embracing off-chain tokens to expand on these use cases and further reduce consumer friction.

Who Cares
About web3?

Zaheer Goodman-Bhyat

Founder, High Magic

The idea of bankless assets seems incredibly exciting to those of us on the inside of the discussion. Traditional banks fail consumers in many, many ways. Decentralized finance represents the future.

However, the majority of Americans are unable to cover a $1,000 emergency in cash. 

You’re not going to get the average person excited about the idea of bankless assets, because the average person has no assets. Decentralized finance sounds meaningless to a person living paycheck-to-paycheck. 



Image created using Midjourney

David T. McCarty

Branding consultant, telling stories that attempt to explain human behavior in relation to commerce, from Dallas to Dubai, Moscow to Miami.

Stores will become experiential destinations, meticulously designed to invite you to try on a new lifestyle. The brand experience will combine high and low-tech, textures and scents with virtual reality, video, and sound.

Discover more