Views From The Industry: This Week In Sport & Business
March 4, 2022
iSportConnect takes a look at some of the biggest happenings and talking points around sport and business over the past seven days and what the industry has been saying.
After The Lockdown Comes The Lockout…
Major League Baseball this week became the first major American sports league to suffer from a lockout impacting the season since the 2012-13 NHL season.
Mike Trout, one of the sport’s stars, released a statement on social media condemning the league for forcing the lockout on the players rather than negotiating properly, while MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred stated: “I want to assure our fans that our failure to reach an agreement was not due to a lack of effort on the part of either party.”
The season will now be delayed at least further into the spring of 2022, but if a resolution is not found soon there will be the likelihood that it could last into the summer months. This would most probably be a disaster for the league, which would then be starting its season as the NBA and NHL playoffs came into full swing.
For a sport which is already suffering within the United States, this could just be the tip of the iceberg of issues for the sport moving forwards, as it appears to be going backwards with its product and in the eyes of fans.
With things like this happening in the background, MLB might be needing to look a little closer in the rear-view mirror than they want to…
RIP to the Spin King
A huge shock hit the world of cricket and sports broadcasting on Friday afternoon when the sudden death of one of the greatest cricketers the planet has ever produced, Shane Warne, was announced by his employers FOX Sport.
Warne, arguably the key spearhead of the Australian team considered one of the best ever from the late 90s to the mid 00s, sits second on the list of all-time test wickets, with 708 between 1997.
Much like Kobe Bryant’s passing at the beginning of 2020, this is sudden sporting superstar’s death that feels barely comprehensible, and tributes will be pouring in all throughout the weekend, particularly once much of Australia wakes up on Saturday morning.
Warne’s final tweet came only hours earlier, discussing the passing of another Australian cricketing great, Rod Marsh. Live every moment to the fullest.
Rising From The Ashes? The European Super League Rears Its Head Once Again
Many people within the industry are not surprised to hear that there are murmurs of the European Super League idea once again being raised by those who were most adamant it would succeed, notably Andrea Agnelli, Juventus Chairman and one of the ringleaders of the Super League.
The issue was raised once again at the FT’s Business of Football Summit, with UEFA President Aleksander Čeferin quick to shoot down the idea and point out that the group is bringing the topic back up at a time that is incredibly difficult for many, which is having knock on effects on much of the sports world, including UEFA themselves.
Barcelona, Real Madrid and Juventus are the three clubs who never gave up on the Super League and have been reported to be the driving forces once again, while the Daily Telegraph in England have stated none of the original six English clubs involved have rejoined.
Javier Tebas, President of LaLiga, a man known to not pull many punches when it comes to issues such as this was also quick to respond, doing so in typical style.
Taking A Back Seat?
China has steered clear of involving itself in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, distancing itself from all parties, however with the Premier League set to show support for Ukraine over the weekend the league’s matches may be dropped from Chinese television, according to the BBC’s Dan Roan.
The bonus winners of the PGA TOUR’s inaugural Player Impact Program were announced this week, with Tiger Woods surprisingly taking away the top prize of $8 million.
The Program (PIP) is a $40 million fund to be spread amongst the ten players seen to be creating the greatest draw of fans towards the tour through metrics including Google searches and the Nielsen Brand Exposure rating.
Woods’ victory in this category would not have been a surprise under usual circumstances due to his incredible following around the world and highly newsworthy status, however Phil Mickelson had recently Tweeted that he was the winner of the biggest bonus by coming first, which Woods took advantage of on social media.
Mickelson has been having a tough time of it recently since his comments regarding the Saudi Golf League and his condemnation of the PGA TOUR were made public, making it all the more ironic when he was awarded the $6 million bonus. However it is unlikely to make up for the fact that his comments have lost him almost all of his main sponsors, including brands such as KPMG and Workday.
But the PIP has been criticised by some areas of the golf community who feel as if this is simply a case of the rich getting richer, as those who have been successful in competition are always more likely to have bigger fanbases and be the main draw for news and on social.
However the current world number four, Norwegian PGA Tour star Viktor Hovland, who doesn’t have a Twitter account, is clearly not too bothered by it.