forbes presents our 2022 ranking of the top performing sports agents and most valuable sports agencies as league revenue and salaries soar to new heights. Gas prices fell across the states on Thursday, but crazy holiday trips are expected to set a new Thanksgiving record at the pump next week. Also, Waabi, a Toronto-based autonomous driving startup, just launched its first robotic semi-trailers for road testing in the United States
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In the news today
- The estate of the late 23-year-old Brian Laundrie, who killed his fiancee Gabby Petito in August 2021 before dying by suicide, must Pay Petito’s parents $3 million in a wrongful death. The money goes to the Gabby Petito Foundation, which benefits organizations that deal with missing persons and domestic violence cases.
- Hundreds of Twitter employees have reportedly resigned from the company, which abruptly shut its offices through Monday rather than sign Elon Musk’s “extremely hardcore” ultimatum to work long hours at high intensity or quit. The exodus only stokes confusion on the social media platform as concerns grow that its new billionaire leader is jeopardizing his future, and “#RIPTwitter” was trending on the site Friday morning.
Top take aways
Gas prices fell in all 50 states on Thursday, breaking a month-long string of declines, although experts expect a new record will be set on Thanksgiving Day, when Americans fill up their cars for what is billed as the busiest vacation travel weekend of the year. The national average gas price hit $3.725 compared to $3.803 last week. Midwestern states benefited the most, with Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana and Illinois seeing the largest declines.
Athletes are making more money than ever, thanks to media rights deals that are taking the league’s revenue and salaries to previously unthinkable levels, but the agents pulling the strings are also raking in commissions on the blockbuster deals they brokered. Fifteen people cumulatively managed over $20 billion in active gaming contracts landed on forbes‘ Ranking of 2022’s Most Powerful Sports Agents, led by baseball megaagent Scott Boras with record-breaking commissions of up to $191 million. More: forbes also ranked as the most valuable sports agencies, determined by the maximum commissions they can generate from the contracts they manage for sports talent.
Toronto-based autonomous driving startup Waabi, which is positioning itself as a second-generation AV company, is endowed with an $83.5 million Series A raise used its first robotic tractor units for road testing In the US, founder Raquel Urtasun says the company is on track to commercialize the technology faster than larger, better funded “previous generation” competitors like Alphabet’s Waymo, General Motors-backed Cruise or Amazon’s Zoox.
While tech companies have slashed valuations in recent months, Santa Clara, California-based semiconductor startup Astera Labs bucks the trend by landing $150 million in new venture funding, taking the value to $3.2 billion– more than triple its previous rating. Astera Labs once hoped to go public by the end of the year, and its decision to remain private and raise more capital speaks to the rapidly changing state of the tech market.
Players are expected bet more than $160 billion on the 2022 FIFA World Cup, which begins on Sunday with the first game. Americans alone are estimated to be betting a record $1.8 billion on the hugely popular football tournament, which once again sees Brazil and Argentina as favorites. forbes breaks down where all the money flows.
Meanwhile, online gambling company BetUS.com is vying to start a new non-sports betting tradition for Turkey Day by opening Betting on which airline will cancel the most flights during Thanksgiving to travel. To set the lines, the odds makers analyzed the historical performance of airlines and airports during the busy holiday travel week and bettors can also bet money on which airport will suffer the most cancellations.
Today’s must read
The highest paid players of the 2022 World Cup
French superstar Kylian Mbappé reigns supreme while Argentinian Lionel Messi and Portuguese Cristiano Ronaldo seek international glory one last time.
In case you missed it
Largely against the grain The worst inflation since the 1980s has brought good times to five companies: three in the energy sector, a fertilizer company and a drug manufacturer. They’ve all done very well despite the economic turmoil, while the rest of the US is largely grappling with rising prices.
Tips you can trust
- With less than a week remaining in the countdown to Thanksgiving, the Transportation Security Administration released its annual guide to what flies in relation to flies Pack your favorite holiday dishes in your hand luggage. Grandma’s favorite mac ‘n cheese? It starts. Your infamous filling? Green light. forbes breaks all the details here.
- The 2022 midterm election has settled into a slight Democratic majority in the Senate facing a narrow Republican victory in the House of Representatives, meaning Congress will be largely deadlocked on many policy decisions next year. Thus, this division of power will affect important issues for seniors and their families, including regulation of nursing homes, Medicare drug prices, and Social Security.
Must watch video
Michael Le built a $1.2 million brand making TikToks with his siblings
The 22-year-old gained more than 52 million followers on TikTok by dancing and posting other videos alongside his sister, 15, and brothers, 5 and 7. Directing the videos could be “stressful” due to his siblings’ young ages — especially in the beginning — but Le says he’s focused on arming them with dance classes or other tools so they can create content that makes them happy. The entrepreneur has used his momentum on the social media platform to partner with brands like Prada, Hugo Boss, Disney and Ray-Ban, and recently co-founded Web3 sports company Joystick, which is on the way to raising $110 million Raise Series A funding.
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