Sports Ticker 6 – Coronavirus, Nike Air Zoom Alphafly and the 'Mozart of Chess'

Published on 14 February 2020

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

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In this edition we cover a variety of sponsorship deals combining 5G and football and sports betting and Chess, Nike's retail launch of the Air Zoom Alphafly (the regulatory compliant version of Kipchoge's Vaporfly), and the impact of the coronavirus outbreak on sports events.   

As always, if there are any areas you'd like more information on (or if you have any questions or feedback), please contact us or your usual RPC contact.

1. Chelsea says Hello to Three

Chelsea FC have signed a three-year shirt sponsorship deal with telecoms giant Three for next season.

2. Preparing for the unexpected: coronavirus

The coronavirus outbreak is making headline news around the world, and it's also having an impact on the world of sport. 

3. Google and Amazon in the cloud gaming arena

Microsoft's head of gaming, Phil Spencer, has said that he now considers Amazon and Google to be Xbox's "biggest competitors" in the gaming market, due to their cloud gaming capabilities.

4. "Mozart of Chess" draws up deal with Unibet 

Chess world champion Magnus Carlsen has signed a 2 year deal with Unibet, the flagship European sportsbook property of Kindred Group Plc, to be their "Global Brand Ambassador" during 2020 and 2021.

5. Nike runs with retail version of Kipchoge shoe

World Athletics recently introduced regulations to govern running shoe technology, banning those running trainers (including Nike's Vaporfly that Eliud Kipchoge wore when he ran a sub-2 hour marathon) which have a sole thicker than 40mm and have more than one rigid embedded plate or blade.

Extra time...

And finally, some good news for brand owners in sport.  Following the recent CJEU trade mark decision in Sky v SkyKick, companies seeking to maintain broader protection in their trade mark portfolio can breathe a sigh of relief as trade marks will not be invalidated for lack of clarity and precision.  If the case had been decided the other way (as had been expected from the Advocate General opinion), this non-sports case could have caused significant disruption to trade mark owners in the world of sport. See our press coverage here.

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