Sports Ticker (3 June 2021) - Parkrun, F1 Salary Cap and Copa America - a speed-read of key commercial updates from the sports world

Published on 03 June 2021

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

Access the full Sports Ticker here

In a fortnight that has seen Zidane leave Real Madrid for a second time (see here), we consider the delayed return of Parkrun, Joshua v Fury and a potential salary cap for Formula 1 drivers. We also feature the 2021 Copa America tournament and the Rugby World Cup.

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. 

All run and games: when will Parkrun return?

Parkrun, which has been described as “one of the nation's greatest public health initiatives” by World Athletics president, Lord Coe, has delayed the return of its weekly free community running events by three weeks, from 5 June 2021 to 26 June 2021, after less than half of its familiar venues (250 of 589) approved the return of the free 5km runs. This falls significantly short of the 80 - 90% approval rate required and runs the risk of overcrowding the events which would be able to go ahead. This may come as a disappointment to many, with more than three million registered runners, and one Parkrun site opening its event to 200 - 250 runners each week pre-lockdown, each of whom formed part of the Parkrun community. Nevertheless, numerous landowners were positive that Parkrun could resume at a later date, which we hope will be 26 June (this decision will be made on 11 June 2021, and it will be one for Parkrun fans to watch out for). Read More

Joshua v Fury: boxing turned legal fight

One of the largest events in boxing history – the heavyweight unification bout between Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury (see Ticker 34) – has had the plug pulled after Deontay Wilder's challenge in the US Courts. Early attempts to secure a third fight were complicated by an injury to Wilder and an absence of available television dates. Fury's camp explained that they moved on based on the assumption that any agreement had expired – and Fury subsequently confirmed that he had agreed to a two-fight deal with Anthony Joshua. The unification bout was set to take place on 14 August 2021 in Saudi Arabia, but subsequently fell through after a US ruling ordering that Fury must first honour a contract and fight Wilder for a third time. Wilder's claim that he is contractually due another meeting with Fury was upheld in the US, due to a rematch clause in the Contract for their February 2020 fight. The rematch must take place before 15 September 2021. In the meantime, it's reported that Joshua will likely face Usyk – and so any Fury v Joshua unification bout rests on both fighters making successful defences over the Summer. Read More

F1 considers the introduction of a driver salary cap

Formula One is focussing on the expenditure by teams to develop and operate their cars, setting a cost cap of $175 million per team per year on anything that covers on-track performance (see here). Following this, the salaries paid to drivers, sometimes hitting figures of tens of millions, are under scrutiny. The international governing body, Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (the FIA), is in talks with the teams, drivers and F1 over a potential salary cap. One option being discussed is a $30 million cap, which can be split between two drivers per year. Given that this would directly impact drivers who earn more than this, such as Lewis Hamilton, some flex has been called for. One option might be to allow for cash to be spent from other budgets, such as the operation budget, to cover excess driver salaries or to create one hybrid budget covering salaries and on-track performance costs. F1 is showing a clear intent to try and level the playing field between the teams, and allowing for smaller teams to attract top drivers. Many are also calling for increased regulation around other payments which could be considered a disguised salary. Read More

Can Brazil Copa with the 2021 Copa America tournament?

Due to a surge in COVID-19 cases, a recent lockdown and numerous protests, the 2021 Copa America tournament which was due to be hosted by Argentina and Colombia, will now be hosted by Brazil. Negotiations are currently underway but the tournament will feature 10 South American nations and is currently scheduled to commence on 13 June 2021. There has been some criticism of the South American Football Confederation's decision to move the tournament to Brazil, a country which has the second highest death toll following the US and one which continues to experience a rise in infections. Notwithstanding that criticism, including from players, organisers consider that cancelling the tournament altogether would lead to significant losses for the Confederation - the 2019 Copa America tournament brought in $118 million. Whether the world's oldest international football competition will go ahead will be one to keep an eye out for. Read More

2022 Rugby World Cup to be hosted by New Zealand

World Rugby has confirmed that its rescheduled Rugby World Cup 2021 will take place between 8 October and 12 November 2022. New Zealand, victors in the elite women's tournament in 2017, will host the competition. The tournament, originally due to take place over 35 days, has been extended to 43 days to allow for a minimum of five rest days between matches, which aligns with the recently approved approach for the men’s competition. Whereas the original schedule had matches taking place simultaneously, there will be no overlap in the new format with triple-header fixtures taking place such that fans across the globe will be able to catch all of the action. World Rugby has also revealed the new tournament branding, a bespoke te reo Maori version design, which reflects the importance of te reo as an official language of Aotearoa (New Zealand) according to the governing body. Read More

Extra time...

…and finally, the education partner of The International Federation of Esports Coaches has announced a new course partnered with Portsmouth University, which will introduce the new online Esports Coaching & Performance BSc undergraduate degree from September 2021. During the course, which has been created using the experience and expertise of academics, practising esports coaches and sports performance professionals, students will learn about the performance side of the esports industry and form the building blocks to be able to work in numerous esports leadership and support roles. Portsmouth University is seemingly the first to offer a course of this kind, but it will be interesting to see whether any others follow suit. Read more here.

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