LIV Golf Investments Hire Sean Bratches And Ron Cross In Senior Leadership Roles

LIV Golf Investments, the new entity established to make strategic investments in golf, announced that it has appointed Sean Bratches as Chief Commercial Officer and Ron Cross as Chief Events Officer.

Both Bratches and Cross will transition into their roles immediately and bring a combined 60-plus years of experience in golf and sports innovation to LIV Golf Investments.

“We believe the game of golf is poised to grow on a global scale and we are ready to make the necessary strategic investments to support its growth,” said Greg Norman, CEO of LIV Golf Investments. “The addition of Sean and Ron to our leadership team delivers an unmatched level of experience and expertise that will allow us to make an immediate impact. I’m excited to get to work and look forward to the months ahead.”

Bratches brings more than three decades of experience in public and private equity company leadership, management, and operations at multi-billion-dollar scale in media, entertainment, and sports sectors. Bratches spent close to 30 years with ESPN, rising to Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing and serving on the ESPN Board of Directors. Upon Liberty Media’s acquisition of Formula 1, he moved to London for three years serving as Managing Director of Commercial Operations where he transformed Formula 1 from a motorsport series into a global media and entertainment brand.

“I am energized and excited to join LIV Golf Investments and work to foster sustained growth in the game of golf globally,” said Bratches. “I am encouraged by the comprehensive vision that we have for the sport and the platform that we will create to benefit professional golfers, the sport’s commercial partners, and in particular, the passionate fans of golf worldwide.”

Cross has spent the last 30 years in various leadership roles at the PGA TOUR and Augusta National Golf Club. He spent two decades at the PGA TOUR running premier events, including the Presidents Cup, TOUR Championship and World Golf Championships before moving to Augusta National Golf Club for eight years. As part of the leadership team under Chairman Billy Payne, Cross led their “grow the game” efforts, under Payne’s vision to create heroes around the world. He was integral to the organization as Augusta National and the Masters Tournament partnered with the R&A, USGA, PGA of America, and APGC to develop and execute the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship, the Latin America Amateur Championship and the Drive, Chip and Putt Championship.

“I am honored for the opportunity to work alongside Greg, Sean and the entire LIV Golf Investments team as we work to improve the game of golf on a global level,” said Ron Cross. “To be a small part of a significant change in the way golf is played and enjoyed while continuing to make a positive impact on the communities we play in is another dream come true for me.”

Nike Withdraws Sponsorship Of Yorkshire County Cricket Club Over Abhorrent Handling Of Racism

Nike has decided to withdraw its sponsorship of the Yorkshire County Cricket Club over its handling of an internal investigation into racism within the club.

Earlier this year in March, Nike had signed a four-year sponsorship deal with YCCC. Last year, Yorkshire player Azeem Rafiq had revealed how “institutional racism” had left him contemplating taking his own life. An investigation by an independent panel upheld only seven of his 43 allegations due to “insufficient evidence”, but did find Rafiq had been the victim of racial harassment and bullying.

Meanwhile, the ECB issued a statement yesterday that :

  • The ECB will therefore hold YCCC to account in relation to their handling of the matter. Given recent events, it is clear there are serious questions regarding the governance and management of YCCC. The club’s failure in relation to actions and responses to their own report represent a significant breach of its obligations to the game.
  • As a governing body with duties to act for all in cricket, the ECB Board reaffirmed its commitment to taking decisions in the best interests of the whole game. It also agreed that sanctions including, but not limited to, financial and future major match allocations may be considered at the conclusion of our investigations.
  • In the meantime, YCCC are suspended from hosting international or major matches until it has clearly demonstrated that it can meet the standards expected of an international venue, ECB member and First Class County.
  • The ECB Board has asked the ECB Executive to commission a review of Yorkshire CCC’s governance to consider whether the existing arrangements are fit for purpose.
  • That the regulatory processes already underway into the allegations brought by Azeem Rafiq will ultimately be determined by an independent tribunal (The Cricket Disciplinary Committee).
  • Before any regulatory investigation is complete, the Board wishes to take immediate action in relation to Gary Ballance. While Mr Ballance has not been selected to play for England since 2017, he will be suspended indefinitely from selection. This position will be reviewed following the ECB regulatory investigation into his conduct.

FA And Emirates Extend Partnership Until 2024

The Football Association [The FA] and Emirates have extended by a further three seasons which will see the world’s most revered knockout football competition continue to be called the Emirates FA Cup until 2024.

Emirates became the title sponsor of The FA’s flagship competition in 2015, which gave the airline global and exclusive rights to its brand and properties. The partnership was later lengthened by three seasons in 2018 following a highly successful period of collaboration.

The Emirates FA Cup involves more than 700 competing clubs and 10,000 players across ten levels of the English football pyramid. Not to mention, countless fans both at home and abroad, which help bolster Emirates’ position within its domestic and global markets.

Over 100 million domestic viewers tuned in throughout the competition last season, with 9.5 million for the Final alone, which was broadcast in over 50 countries worldwide. With the BBC being joined by ITV as the host broadcasters for the 2021/22 season, even more people will be able to enjoy its 150th anniversary season free-to-air.

Marzena Bogdanowicz, The FA’s Interim Head of Partnerships, said: “We’re extremely pleased to extend our established partnership with Emirates until 2024. Over the past six seasons, the combination of such a recognisable brand and the world’s most historic cup competition contributed towards significant investment back into football and allowed us to reach even more fans than ever before. Renewing this partnership as we emerge from a global pandemic is testament to our excellent working relationship and we look forward to the seasons ahead.”

Tim Clark, President of Emirates, said: “As the most prestigious and historic football competition in the world, the Emirates FA Cup is renowned for creating iconic sporting moments and providing a platform for grassroots teams and Premier League giants alike, to shine on English football’s biggest stage. These are some of the many reasons why we remain incredibly proud of our long-standing partnership with The FA and we look forward to continuing our partnership with the tournament for a further three seasons. As we look ahead to the 150th year of the tournament and beyond, we hope to connect even more fans to their favourite teams, both in the UK and across the world, so they too can experience the magic of the Emirates FA Cup.”

Extreme E Wins ‘Sports Production Of The Year’ Award At The Broadcast Sport Awards

Extreme E, the radical new electric off-road racing series, is celebrating after taking home the highly coveted ‘Sports Production of the Year’ award at the Broadcast Sport Awards.

The Broadcast Sport Awards, held in The Ballroom at the JW Marriott Grosvenor House Hotel on Park Lane, London, celebrate the most creative and inspiring examples of sports production and shine the spotlight on the best of digital and broadcast content.

Ali Russell, Chief Marketing Officer at Extreme E, said: “We are beyond proud to win this award and it’s really down to the drive and determination of Lawrence and Neil, and their teams at Aurora Worldwide Media and North One – it’s been a real team effort.

“We set out to do things very differently from the start, to create a ground-breaking sports product, coming live from some of the remote places on the planet, all using sustainable innovation. We’ve built a sport for purpose which is going to make a real difference and we’re hugely appreciative to be here winning this award, in just our first Season, but we’ve just got to go further now as this journey is far from complete.”

All3Media group companies Aurora Media Worldwide and North One are the host broadcasters of Extreme E, and bring the series to life through a brand-new hybrid storytelling approach, which combines sport and scientific stories that highlight the planet’s plight, using sports as its lens.

Lawrence Duffy, Managing Director at Aurora Worldwide Media, said: “I’m absolutely thrilled. We thought we had a chance, but to get it in reality is real testament to everyone who has worked so hard over a number of years on delivering the vision of this incredibly ambitious project, and to win it amongst our peers here who represent the highest realms of the sports broadcast industry is just fantastic.”

Neil Duncanson, CEO at North One, added: “This is the toughest category and to win it in our first year is simply astonishing. It’s been an immense and a genuinely collaborative effort by the whole team and for it to happen in the shadow of COP26 makes it extra special. But I’d like to single out our CEO Alejandro Agag and CMO Ali Russell for having the vision to make this happen and allowing us the time and resource to make it come to life in such a special way.”

Extreme E, brand new in 2021, sees electric SUVs competing in extreme environments around the world which have already been damaged or affected by climate and environmental issues. The five-race global voyage highlights the impact of climate change and human interference in some of the world’s most remote locations and promotes the adoption of electric vehicles in the quest for a lower carbon future for the planet.

The live racing is captured through a cutting-edge mix of track, on-board and live drone cameras and an innovative suite of data-driven AR and VR graphics, showcasing the unique action and extraordinary places.

The production makes use of advanced remote technology, minimising on site footprint with all shows, mastered in London, in real time, direct from all of the championship’s global locations. The combination of track, car and earth data creates a hugely informative and immersive experience.

Ali Russell added: “As well as our production agencies at Aurora Media Worldwide and North One, I would like to give huge credit to NEP, Al Kamel Systems, Interstate Creative Partners and MPA Creative who have supported so well behind the scenes. This wouldn’t happen without the hard work and dedication of this very talented group.”

This accolade follows Extreme E winning the Sustainability Award at the Leaders Sports Awards last month at Twickenham Stadium.

The FA Inks Long-Term Partnership With Mitre

British football brand Mitre has announced a new long term partnership with The Football Association (The FA).

The agreement will see the iconic manufacturer continue as the official football supplier for all FA Competitions.

The partnership will see Mitre Delta Max balls used across the Emirates FA Cup, Vitality Women’s FA Cup, The FA Community Shield supported by McDonald’s, Buildbase FA Trophy and Buildbase FA Vase for three years, with an option to extend the partnership for a further three thereafter.

Each competition will use their own bespoke Delta Max ball designs. For the Emirates FA Cup, the new bespoke ball will be seen in the First Round proper this weekend. The ball has been designed in collaboration with The FA, featuring a bold gradient of deep reds taken from the trophy ribbons and movement of the ball in play, contrasted with white.

Built for maximum control, accuracy and power, the Delta Max Balls are engineered with Hyperseam TM Technology – the seams are bonded and stitched, ensuring almost zero water uptake. The debossed surface texture manipulates airflow around the ball for pin-point accuracy and speed.

Simon Rowe, Head of Global Sports Marketing at Pentland Brands, said: “Mitre has been supporting footballers, from a kick about in the local park to the highest level since 1817, so we’re extremely proud to extend our partnership with The FA.

“We’re passionate about the game at all levels, so are delighted to be the Official Ball Supplier, championing teams and players throughout the English Football Pyramid, including at prestigious competitions such as the Emirates FA Cup. Mitre leads the way in football technology development and the Delta Max balls are designed with professionals in mind, helping them get their best from the game.”

Marzena Bogdanowicz, The FA’s Interim Head of Partnerships, said: “We’re absolutely delighted to extend this partnership. Mitre’s association with our national sport is steeped in rich history and tradition, so it is fitting that they will be our Official Ball Supplier as we celebrate 150 years of the Emirates FA Cup. We look forward to seeing them in action across all of our competitions and the English football pyramid both this season and in the years to come.”

PFL Signs Legends As Exclusive E-Commerce Provider

The Professional Fighters League (PFL), the fastest growing and most innovative sports league has announced Legends Global Merchandise will become the exclusive e-commerce provider for the PFL.

Under the multi-year agreement, LGM will operate the league’s online shopping experience and create an assortment of officially licensed products for all consumer segments, including shirts, sweatshirts, hats, hardlines and memorabilia.

Earlier this year, Legends made a strategic investment in the PFL. The partnership includes Legends supporting PFL’s growth and business operations across sponsorship, ticketing and hospitality and training facility development. The expanded partnership will give Legends exclusivity on PFL e-commerce.

The announcement comes after a strategic partnership was announced between PFL and Legends in August to create and execute premium, unique experiences and opportunities for sponsors, partners, and fans. Legends will utilize all its internal data analytics capabilities to generate insights into the PFL consumer, allowing for personalized and targeted experiences. As part of the agreement, Legends made an investment in PFL for an ownership stake.

“As PFL continues to pioneer the future of the sport for fans around the world, we’re excited to expand our relationship with Legends as our exclusive e-commerce partner,” said PFL CEO, Peter Murray. “Together, we’ll collaborate on best-in-class branded products and memorabilia which will be available globally in a premium online shopping experience.”

“This is a very strategic initiative for us as Legends Global Merchandise is the leader in e-commerce and specifically MMA e-commerce and merchandising,” said Dave Moroknek, President, Legends Global Merchandise. “We are thrilled to be associated with the PFL as we expand our partnership throughout the entire Legends organization. We have set our sights on working closely with the PFL to deliver the best merchandise with the best customer experience to the fans of the PFL.”

FC Barcelona Ventures Into NFT Realm With Ownix Partnership

FC Barcelona has signed a new global partnership agreement with Ownix, a premium marketplace for NFTs based on the standards of the Ethereum blockchain, a platform for sharing data that cannot be manipulated or changed.

This is an innovative alliance, with both institutions collaborating to make Barça NFTs based on photos videos featuring iconic moments from the Club’s history available to fans.

This alliance between FC Barcelona and Ownix will provide a new way for the Club to reach its followers from around the globe, as fans will now be able to acquire and own digital assets that will reproduce unforgettable blaugrana moments throughout the Club’s almost 122 year history via various auctions taking place throughout the season.

The agreement between FC Barcelona and Ownix is part of the Club’s global expansion strategy and a further commitment to seek out new channels and formats to connect with new generations, while providing a different form of interaction with their fans around the world.

NFTs work using blockchain technology and they are assigned a digital authenticity certificate, which cannot be modified and enables totally secure certification and traceability.

Through this new alliance, the Club will take iconic moments from its history to create unique digital assets, making them available for fans to collect.

Joan Laporta, president of FC Barcelona said: “Barça has a very large fanbase around the world and is leading the way in the digital domain with over 400 million followers in social networks. Given this scenario, the Club is constantly looking for new ways to connect with its fans, and we believe that creating these NFTs is a unique opportunity to continue growing and consolidating the Barça brand by bringing unique moments that have made Barça fans dream and FC Barcelona a well-known club on every level.”

Guy Elhanani, Ownix CEO said: “As NFTs surge, we thought it is important to give those collectors who are Barça fans an opportunity to own a piece of their Club’s history. This new and exciting asset class allows collectors to own things that weren’t possible to own before, and we’re thrilled to offer sports fans an opportunity to spearhead the movement. Our Mission is to bring customers to purchase NFTs, not because they are marketable, but for the pleasure and pride of owning them.”

Paris 2024 Signs Accor As Official Partner

Accor, a leading global hotel group and the largest hotel operator in France has become an official partner of the Olympic and Paralympic Games Paris 2024.

Accredited personnel will enjoy the full extent of Accor’s savoir-faire as it greets and provides them with accommodation all over France. More particularly, the group will offerits services to athletes and the media in their respective villages.

Sébastien Bazin, Chairman and CEO of Accor said, “We share great many values with Paris 2024, including
the importance of working together, uncompromisingly high standards, generosity and flying the flag for
France on the world stage. Accor is proud to partner with the Olympic and Paralympic Games Paris 2024, when
athletes and spectators from the world over will come to France to see what we have to offer. Our employees
and teams are already pulling out all the stops to show the world what hospitality means in France and offer
everyone an unforgettable experience and stay during the greatest sporting event on the planet. Paris is
hosting the Games, and we will be ready to host the people who are making them happen.”

Tony Estanguet, Paris 2024 President said, “I am delighted to welcome Accor into the Paris 2024 family. This
partnership marks the culmination of our close collaboration with one of the world’s leading hotel groups, right since the bidding phase. It reiterates our shared objective to offer all those involved in the Olympic and
Paralympic Games – the athletes, officials and media – a service and experience that reflect our special take
on welcoming in France when we host them for Paris 2024. Benefiting from optimal living conditions, they will
be able to focus on what really counts – the show and their performance.”

The partnership between Paris 2024 and Accor will, in particular leverage ALL – Accor Live Limitless, the
group’s loyalty programme and booking platform for all its brands.

The partnership will involve the following:

Service management in the Athletes’ and Media villages

For the first time at the Olympic and Paralympic Games, a hotel operator will oversee athlete and media accommodation facilities in their respective villages. The expertise of Accor’s people will enable the athletes
and media representatives to enjoy the high quality of service provided by a world leading hotel group and
therefore benefit from optimal services and facilities during the competition period.

A booking platform for all accredited personnel and to attract visitors to France

Accor will also leverage its operational experience in major sporting events by providing an innovative digital hotel booking platform for Paris 2024. The platform, provided by ResaEvents, a subsidiary of the Accor group, will cover the whole French hotel market around Olympic and Paralympic venues to make it easier to book hotel rooms and guarantee a seamless, efficient customer experience throughout the Olympic and Paralympic Games Paris 2024. Through this strategy, the Organising Committee seeks to enable the entire tourism industry in France to take advantage of the positive impact of the Games. Provision of Accor facilities to accommodate accredited personnel, including certain athletes, media representatives, and members of National Olympic and Paralympic Committees

With over 1,600 hotels in France and 20 brands ranging from luxury to low-cost, France’s leading hotel operator Accor, its partners and employees epitomise French savoir-faire in hotel accommodation. The facilities made available to Paris 2024 accredited personnel, which will serve as the starting point to develop the allocation plan, subject to International Olympic Committee (IOC) approval, has been developed in partnership with the French tourism industry since the bidding phase so as to reflect the diversity in the French hotel industry.

Unforgettable rewards for members of the ALL – Accor Live Limitless loyalty programme

Accor shares the same passion for sport as Paris 2024. For several years now, the group has partnered with many major sporting events, including the French Open, for which Accor has been an official supplier since 2015, and ALL – Accor Live Limitless is the main sponsor of the Paris Saint-Germain football team. It is through its ALL – Accor Live Limitless lifestyle loyalty programme and booking platform that the full magnitude of the group will be expressed. ALL – Accor Live Limitless recognises the most loyal customers in France by offering them the possibility of spending their points on unforgettable rewards as well as the opportunity to indulge in their love of sport over the months until the summer of 202

ROKiT Venturi Racing Joins Forces With Lukka

ROKiT Venturi Racing has joined forces with Crypto Data Leader, Lukka.

As preparations for Season 8 continue, ROKiT Venturi Racing is delighted to partner with crypto asset data and software provider, Lukka.

Working in collaboration, Lukka will provide ROKiT Venturi Racing with an additional competitive edge as it continues its ascension to the front of the Formula E field.

Since 2014, Lukka has provided the world with institutional-grade data management solutions that deliver transparency, clarity, and insights into financial data. Bridging the gap between the complexities of blockchain data and traditional business needs, Lukka solves the most complex data challenges through innovative data and software solutions, allowing the most forward-thinking businesses around the globe to thrive in the crypto space.

In the data-centric world of Formula E, time and efficiency are crucial to success, and by providing expert data insights and technology enhancements in Season 8, Lukka will further streamline ROKiT Venturi Racing’s operations on race weekends.

By increasing data transfer speeds and adding efficiency to the team’s trend analysis capabilities, Lukka will allow ROKiT Venturi Racing to analyze data with even greater accuracy and precision than ever before, advancing performance with refined, real-time insight.

Lukka will have a central position in ROKiT Venturi Racing’s visual identity for Season 8, with branding featuring on the nose cone and rear bodywork of both ROKiT Venturi Racing cars. Lukka’s branding will also feature on driver overalls worn by Edoardo Mortara and Lucas di Grassi, on team wear, and in the ROKiT Venturi Racing garage.

Susie Wolff, ROKiT Venturi Racing Team Principal said: “Lukka has broken ground within the crypto data space, and we have seen how they relish the opportunity to disrupt traditional industries, challenge the status quo, and ultimately try to change the way we live for the better. As an electric racing team promoting sustainable mobility, we’re no strangers to the power and impact of industry disruption. We’re proud to welcome Lukka to the team, and I have no doubt that their team of engineers and data scientists will bring valuable support to our performance both on and off the track.”

Robert Materazzi, Lukka, CEO said: “As we learned more about the ROKiT Venturi team, it was apparent to both sides that our companies were extremely similar in our mission, values, and goals,” said Robert Materazzi, CEO of Lukka. “We believe that there are incredible opportunities to work together, grow both our audiences, and learn from the unique industries we come from. Lukka is quickly expanding operations internationally, and ROKiT Venturi is the ideal partner to help slingshot our brand to the right audiences.”

First Drag Race Takes Place Between Internal Alauda Teams

A historic first drag race took place between internal Alauda teams at over 100km/h.

This is being considered as a giant leap forward for electric flying car racing, a next-generation clean-air motorsport. Team Bravo crosses line 3 seconds ahead of Team Alpha over the quarter mile.

A landmark moment in the future of motorsport played out in the deserts of South Australia last week as a pre-season test concluded with the first ever timed electric flying car drag-race.
The drag-race was part of a key pre-season testing session for EXA, Airspeeder’s first electric flying car racing season, created by Alauda Aeronautics. This historic moment provided a first glimpse of flying car racing as a sporting entity, ahead of international competition in 2022.

Race events will see a grid of full-scale electric flying cars known as Speeders race blade-to-blade in landscapes where motorsport has never been before. Teams from a broad range of industries will be provided with the Speeders but given technical and tactical freedom to approach gaining competitive edge in the series as they see fit. This will ensure close motorsport based on pilot skill and race management.

Fans from around the world will watch via global broadcasts with coverage enhanced by technology that communicates the virtual tracks and race telemetry data projected directly to pilots through augmented reality.
Because flying car racing does not require the same physical infrastructure as legacy motorsport, this presents a sport built from the ground-up with sensitivity to the global requirement to race with minimal ecological impact.

This first drag-race represented the culmination of intense internal competition between two-sides of the Alauda Aeronautics technical team. The result was a tense and visually enthralling encounter with the internal teams forced to adapt strategy in line with wind and dust conditions in the selected desert location. As races play out in varying conditions including over ice, over sea, deserts and even forest locations, mastery of external factors add a compelling tactical layer to the sport.

With the successful completion of this historic first drag-race, Alauda is poised to announce the world’s first electric flying car Grand Prix calendar under the banner of the EXA Series. These remotely piloted races will serve as a vital feeder series for the forthcoming crewed Airspeeder Grand Prixs. In addition to developing the technology that underpins the sport, it will be a breeding ground for the elite pilots that will pioneer the dawn of the electric flying car racing era.

These women and men are drawn from the very elite of motorsport, eSports and civil, military and acrobatic aviation. They will play the same role pioneer racing drivers did at the genesis of the automotive and aviation eras in accelerating a new mobility revolution. Indeed, the eVTOL (electric vertical take-off and landing) which is predicted to be worth $1.5trillion by 2040 has never been more vibrant.

Alauda Aeronautics has created the motor racing arm of this new form of transport and with it a place and a space for the industry to rapidly develop key safety, performance and digital technologies. This will hasten the arrival of electric flying cars that promise to liberate urban environments from congestion through a clean-air form of advanced aviation mobility.


“I gave (my drivers) three things: a sense of optimism, a creative environment and the ultimate motivator; competition. By competing with each other in-house we wound up beating our rivals,” said Enzo Ferrari