Sports Ticker (22 September 2022) - sport pays respect to the Queen, F1 Shake-ups & rugby's gender equality partnership – a speed-read of commercial updates from the sports world'

Published on 22 September 2022

In a fortnight which saw the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, we provide an update on how the sporting world reacted. We also feature updates on Audi's bid to enter Formula 1, Word Rugby's gender equality driven collaboration, Guild Esports' renewed partnership with Samsung and Saatchi & Saatchi's deal with the NBA to become its European advertising partner.

As always, if there are any issues on which you'd like more information (or if you have any questions or feedback), please do let us know or get in touch with your usual contact at RPC.

Sporting world reacts to the death of Queen Elizabeth II

The passing of the late Queen Elizabeth II on 8 September 2022 had a profound impact across the globe, including the world of sport. Accordingly, a broad variety of sports fixtures were delayed out of respect for the late Queen. In football, Premier League, EFL and WSL matches were postponed whilst cricket, boxing, golf, horse racing, cycling and rugby union were amongst the other sports that saw fixtures delayed or cancelled. Fans and sportspeople alike reacted touchingly to the news. Crowds watching the England v South Africa cricket at the Oval on 9 September 2022 sang a rousing rendition of 'God Save the King' followed by a round of continued applause, whilst numerous sporting personalities such as Lewis Hamilton and Tyson Fury expressed their condolences on hearing the news. David Beckham was spotted queueing for over twelve hours to see Her Majesty lying in state. A minute's silence has been observed in many sporting fixtures that have since resumed.

Audi confirms intention to enter Formula 1 in 2026

In Edition 62, we covered that the chief executive of Volkswagen had revealed that Porsche and Audi were set to enter the 2026 Formula 1 season. Audi's chairman of the board, Markus Duesmann, confirmed last week that Audi had registered as an F1 engine manufacturer, but not whether it would run its own F1 team. However, it is now expected that it will take over Sauber, which currently runs as Alfa Romeo, following Stellantis' (Alfa Romeo's parent company) announcement that it will cut ties with Sauber after the 2023 season. Duesmann cited the increased electrification of the powerplants in the new engine regulations as an important motivation for Audi's intention to join Formula 1 as this aligns with Audi's intention to become a fully-electric manufacturer. The move is Audi's latest involvement in motorsport, with previous participation including partnerships with Le Mans and Formula E.

Guild Esports renews partnership with Samsung

Guild Esports, a UK-based gaming organisation backed by David Beckham, has expanded its partnership with Samsung. As well as signing a one-year extension of the existing partnership to remain Guild's Official Display Partner, Samsung is now Guild's Official TV Partner in the UK and Ireland. As part of the sponsorship deal, Samsung will provide its range of QLED TVs for the organisation's academy, players and staff in the London headquarters. The two deals combined are reported to be worth six figures. This is Samsung's third agreement with an esports organisation this year, having secured partnerships with both ONE Esports and Team Vitality, a leading French esports team.

IWG on Women & Sport and World Rugby enter partnership to promote gender equality in sport

World Rugby has partnered with the International Working Group (IWG) on Women & Sport, the world's largest network dedicated to female empowerment and participation in sport. The new strategic relationship, which is set to last four years commencing this November, aims to encourage gender equality in sport, particularly from global sports leaders and spread awareness of the need for improvements and action across all sports. Under the collaboration, World Rugby will send around 50 female leaders to the eighth IWG World Conference of Women & Sport in New Zealand and support the World Rugby's 2017-2025 plan to support the growth of women's rugby and promote parity. The union also covers the next two women’s Rugby World Cups in 2022 and 2025. In the same week, the sports streaming service DAZN announced it will be broadcasting the World Cup warm up matches following its deal with Pitch International.

Saatchi & Saatchi scores NBA European advertising contract

British multinational advertising giant, Saatchi & Saatchi, has succeeded in securing the business of the National Basketball Association (NBA) as its European advertising partner after a competitive pitch process. The appointment represents a continuation of the NBA's push to grow basketball's European audience. European interest in the NBA has surged in recent years, in part due to the success of European-born players in the league, Giannis Antetokounmpo of Greece and Nikola Jokic of Serbia, each having won the NBA's MVP award twice in the past four years, and in part due to the NBA's decision to schedule regular season games in London and Paris. Saatchi & Saatchi will seek to capitalise on this increased engagement in what CEO, Chris Kay, described as “one of Europe's fastest-growing sports” through the creation of a digital campaign for the NBA, scheduled to go live in October.

Extra time...

… and finally, Roger Federer, widely acknowledged as one of the greatest male tennis players of all time, has announced his retirement from the sport. Federer, 41, has not played since Wimbledon 2021, after which he had to undergo a third knee operation. Over the course of his career, Federer won a staggering 20 Grand Slam titles, the most in the history of the sport after Rafael Nadal, with 22, and Novak Djokovic, with 21. Federer's announcement came less than two weeks after Serena Williams, considered by many to be the greatest to grace the women's game, announced her retirement. Williams' retirement comes after she was defeated in the final of a US Open that would have constituted her 24th Grand Slam win. Williams referred to her retirement as "evolving away" from the sport and it is expected that she will now focus on her venture capital firm, Serena Ventures.