Sports Ticker (17 March 2023) – Spurs / F1 partnership, Cricket broadcasting rights purchases, and England Athletics' clothing partnership – a speed-read of commercial updates from the sports world
In a fortnight which saw the UK Government present early details of its eagerly awaited plans to regulate the football industry, and the PGA and LPGA announce a new annual mixed-team golfing event, we feature updates on the BT and Eurosport merger, the newly announced Netflix docuseries on LaLiga and the NBA's new live avatar experience app feature.
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A 15-year strategic partnership has been agreed between F1 and Tottenham Hotspur, with the aim of growing a new generation of motorsport talent. A new driver academy program will open up the talent pool for future F1 stars, whilst educational activities in schools will educate younger generations on career opportunities within motorsport – whether it be as a driver, engineer or software developer, with a further aim of encouraging the participation of women and underrepresented groups in motorsport. London's longest indoor karting track, and the world's first ever in-stadium electric karting facility, is also due to be built underneath Tottenham's stadium. The partnership will focus on sustainability benefitted by the alignment of F1's commitment to be Net Zero Carbon by 2030 and Tottenham's targets, as a signatory of the UN Sports for Climate Action Framework's 'Race to Zero'.
International sports streaming provider DAZN has partnered with ITV to host the Indian Premier League (IPL). The IPL is the largest T20 Cricket franchise in the world and regularly draws in hundreds of millions of global viewers. DAZN and ITV have secured the rights for the next five years, representing DAZN's first foray into cricket in the UK. ITV is expected to air 16 of the regular season games, while the majority (including the playoffs and final) will be hosted by DAZN. This deal marks the first time that the IPL will be available on free to air UK television since 2014. Aside from the IPL, Sky Sports has won broadcasting rights for the inaugural Women's Premier League (WPL) which started on 4 March 2023. The WPL has already seen substantial sums of money put into the women's game, with England players Sciver-Brunt and Ecclestone being sold for £320,000 and £180,000 respectively.
England Athletics has announced Pressio as its Official Compression Clothing Partner. Athletes, coaches and clubs registered with England Athletics will be offered preferential pricing, support and advice from their experts. Pressio, which is a leading compression clothing brand, aims to redefine the standard of performance wear through engineering the most advanced sports fabric technologies worldwide whilst pursuing a sustainable future. Speaking on the partnership, Chris Jones, Chief Executive of England Athletics, said: “We recognise that many athletes and runners already use compression products, but by partnering with Pressio, this forms part of our broader commitment to support the sustainability journey of our clubs and RunTogether groups, as well as athletes, coaches, and officials."
Gary Neville's sports broadcasting company Buzz16 has sold a majority stake to Miroma Group – a global independent marketing business. Buzz16 was launched by Neville in 2016 and offers a variety of content production services for live sports for a range of clients including Sky Sports, Warner Bros. Discovery, BT Sport and Prime Video. The investment by Miroma Group will help Buzz16 begin the next phase of its growth plans as it considers a potential IPO, valuing the business in excess of £200m. In 2022, it was awarded Channel of the Year at the Broadcast Sport Awards. The Overlap features a variety of sports content ranging from in-depth personal interviews with boxing champion Tyson Fury, through to a new four-part live series with footballing legends Jamie Carragher and Roy Keane as part of the new Sky Max channel which replaced Sky One.
Bolton Wanderers FC's stadium will now be known as the Toughsheet Community Stadium from July after unveiling their new stadium sponsor for the next five years. Toughsheet is a local company specialising in building products made from recycled materials and was chosen due to its long history in Bolton and green agenda. The agreement represents the club's largest ever sponsorship deal. Reaction from some fans was initially mixed, although many have embraced the light-hearted play on words. Managing director Doug Mercer said of the name that “We're happy to have a bit of fun with it. Obviously, the brand name is a bit tongue-in-cheek, a bit schoolboy humour - I can't wait to see them try and make each other say it on Sky Sports.”
...and finally, the last fortnight has seen the high-profile suspension of Gary Lineker as host of Match of the Day. Lineker was suspended on the grounds of allegedly breaching the BBC's impartiality rules after refusing to apologise for a tweet comparing the language of the government's new migration policy to that used in 1930s Germany. In solidarity for Lineker, fellow Match of the Day hosts, Alan Shearer and Ian Wright, announced that they would not take part in the show, and several other key sports presenters (including Alex Scott) stood down from various BBC shows that were due to have taken place last weekend. The situation also saw questions levelled at the impartiality of the BBC, which stated it had a “commitment to impartiality” but acknowledged it is a “difficult balancing act to get right where people are subject to different positions, and with different audience and social media profiles”. The row appears to have been resolved for now, with Lineker reinstated at Match of the Day and an agreement that the BBC will conduct a review into its social media guidance, particularly for freelancers outside news and current affairs, whilst Lineker will follow the BBC's current guidance pending the outcome of the review...