RPC Sports Ticker (27 August 2020) - Coutinho's contract, F1's revenue deal, and VR in the NBA

Published on 27 August 2020

Welcome to the latest edition of the RPC Sports Ticker - providing fortnightly bite-size updates from around the sports industry.

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In a week where Lionel Messi's transfer request has put a spotlight on footballers’ contracts, we consider recent press surrounding alleged payments under Coutinho’s transfer contract. We also look at the  launch of Chelsea's virtual coaching app and the renegotiation of F1’s ‘Concorde’ revenue sharing agreement. Finally, we consider the possibility of a rule update to Test cricket and the NBA's partnership with Facebook-owned VR company Oculus. 

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

1. Can you pass like Pulisic?

Chelsea have launched a consumer-facing virtual coaching app, Perfect Play, which seeks to give young footballers access to the expertise of its academy coaches. 

2. F1's renegotiated Concorde Agreement takes off

F1 has renegotiated its Concorde Agreement, which governs how the body shares revenues with its racing teams. The new deal represents the first renegotiation since Liberty Media acquired F1 in an $8 billion deal back in 2017. 

3. Test cricket tries to light it up

Test cricket is widely considered to be the most challenging form of the game, and typically favoured by cricket purists. However, with shorter forms of the game becoming increasingly popular with younger viewers (such as the T20) the popularity of test cricket is under threat.

4. Barcelona's silver lining in Coutinho's Champions League success

After transferring to Barcelona from Liverpool in January 2018 for a reported transfer fee of £142m, Brazilian playmaker Philippe Coutinho was sent on loan to Bayern Munich after an underwhelming first season at Barcelona. 

5. VR deal between Oculus and NBA defies reality

Oculus, a virtual reality (VR) headset and equipment company owned by Facebook, has signed a new partnership deal with the NBA. The partnership makes Oculus the official marketing partner of the league and its first ever official VR headset partner. 


Extra time...

…and finally, the Government have published updated guidance on the return of spectators to elite sport (available here). The guidelines allow for more than 30 spectators to attend sporting events, but only on the basis that social distancing is maintained wherever possible. Considerations to be taken into account in planning events include: spectator travel to the venue, considering closing onsite facilities (such as catering) and limits on capacity. The guidance will be updated over time, so organisations hosting events will need to keep an eye on updates. Worth flagging that this guidance only applies to England, with separate rules applicable to Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. As an example, England's Football Supporters Association is seeking to reintroduce supporters beyond the elite level for grassroots football through the Sustain the Game! initiative. See more here.

… and finally, finally, the EFL has published its written decisions on its sanctions against Sheffield Wednesday F.C., Wigan Athletic F.C. and Birmingham City F.C. (available here). It is a welcome decision for the EFL, Independent Disciplinary Commission and League Arbitration Panel to have made the written reasons public - with published decisions providing greater transparency as to how rules and regulations are being applied in practice.  

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