Sports Ticker (8 April 2022) - Gucci x Grealish, The Boat Race returns and CAP's new rules for gambling ads - a speed-read of commercial updates from the sports world

Published on 08 April 2022

In a fortnight which saw Medvedev attempt to overtake Djokovic as the men's world no.1 in tennis, we feature various F1 announcements, the ECB's and Sky Sports' multi-year broadcast agreement, the return of the Boat Race 2022 and Grealish's Gucci deal. We also take a look at CAP's introduction of tough new rules for gambling ads.

All eyes on F1

 There have been several interesting stories involving F1 in the last fortnight. F1 drivers have raised concerns over their safety when racing in Saudi Arabia's Grand Prix following a recent missile strike 10 miles from the race circuit. Following a four-hour pause, drivers came together in a "united effort" to race; however, the drivers have since noted that the matter is "not closed" and they will be demanding more answers from F1 in relation to safety at all Grand Prix races going forward, which is ever more important given that F1 is contracted to Saudi Arabia for the next 14 years on the basis of a deal rumoured to be worth an annual $65 million. This attempted boycott comes at a time when F1 officially confirmed it is adding a night race in Las Vegas from 2023, as well as Audi attempting to enter the F1 circuit – seeking to raise its initial offer to buy a stake in McLaren. It is clear that brands are recognising the opportunities associated with F1 – especially with F1 viewership reaching 1.55 billion last season.

ECB and Sky Sports multi-year extension

 The English and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) is reportedly set to sign a multi-year extension to their existing broadcast agreement with Sky Sports. Once finalised the deal will mark another significant period of both international and domestic cricket remaining on pay to access TV (noting some domestic matches will continue to be broadcast by the BBC). The deal will see the England men's and women's test and white ball matches continue to be broadcast by Sky until 2034 and is worth a reported £220 million annually. With the increase in popularity of the domestic short form game in the format of T20 and the relatively new hundred over tournament, this deal marks a significant stake in the ground from Sky who appear to have identified this growing popularity in the game, particularly amongst younger fans. The announcement of this new deal comes off the back of the England women's ODI team enjoying an exciting run to the women's world cup final, only to be overcome by Australia in the final match.

Boat Race returns

 The Boat Race has returned in full form for the first time since 2019, having been cancelled in 2020 and taking place without spectators in 2021 on the Great Ouse. Cambridge went into this year's races having won the previous four women's races and three men's races. Cambridge continued their winning streak for the women's race, but lost to Oxford in the men's. Cambridge, which included world number one female rower Grace Prendergast, won the women's race in a record time of 18 minutes and 22 seconds on the 6.8km course, winning by more than two lengths. The 167th men's race, which included rowers from across the globe, was taken by Oxford in 16 minutes and 47 seconds. Overall, Cambridge men lead Oxford by 85 wins to 81, and Cambridge women lead Oxford 46 to 30.

Gucci x Grealish

 Jack Grealish made headlines last year as the most expensive Premier League footballer for his £100m transfer to Manchester City. He is now about to set another record as the first sportsperson to become the face of Gucci. The Athletic reports that he is “on the verge” of signing a seven-figure endorsement deal - an “unprecedented” marketing move for the Italian luxury brand which will see Grealish join musicians and actors, like Harry Styles and Jared Leto, as an official brand ambassador. Although the first for Gucci, other luxury brands have been tapping into the promising market of young football fans, like Dior and its brand ambassador Kylian Mbappé of PSG, following the success achieved by various streetwear and sportswear brands collaborating with football stars to promote products.

CAP clamp down on gambling ads

The Committee for Advertising Practice (CAP) has announced the introduction of tough new rules for gambling ads, as part of its commitment to safeguarding young people and vulnerable audiences. CAP has taken a very strong line against gambling ads which appeal to younger audiences, describing the new rules as “tough” and stating that they will “significantly impact gambling advertisers”. The changes follow a public consultation by CAP, which responded to GambleAware's "Final Synthesis Report" on the impact of gambling advertising on children, young people and vulnerable adults. Some of the key changes to be made include what amounts to an all-out ban on the use of sports personalities well-known to younger audiences (especially footballers), as well as stars from reality shows, again focusing on those with a younger following. Advertisers have until October 2022 to implement these changes: the CAP's tone in its press release suggests it won't be messing around when it comes to enforcing these rules.

Extra time...

…and finally, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has announced that it will be offering financial support to the African-Caribbean Engagement (ACE) programme as it aims to provide more opportunities to young cricketers from Black communities in the UK. ACE will use the funding from the ECB to expand into Nottingham, Manchester, Leeds and additional London boroughs, after seeing successes in Birmingham and Bristol. The news was revealed in the ECB's second update of its action plan to tackle racism and promote inclusion and diversity at all levels of the game.

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