Thursday 20 May 2021 4:34 pm

Week in Sportbiz: Bitcoin plunge hits chess grandmasters; 'Stamford Beach' stunt recalls Chelsea row; and Hundred teams get new spinners

When is a $100,000 bonus not worth $100,000? That is a conundrum for the chess grandmasters taking part in the FTX Crypto Cup.

The tournament, which features world champion Magnus Carlsen and starts this weekend, is offering a $320,000 prize to the winner – a record for an online chess event.

But $100,000 of that is a bonus being paid by its cryptocurrency exchange sponsor in Bitcoin. And here’s the snag: the $100,000 bonus fund was established on Monday, before Bitcoin plunged in value this week.

A helpful totaliser on the chess tournament’s website shows that the bonus has fallen in value to $87,000, as of Thursday afternoon.

That’s a good deal more than on Wednesday, but it remains to be seen what the innovative prize will be worth when the FTX Crypto Cup concludes on 31 May.

‘Stamford Beach’ stunt recalls Chelsea row

Chelsea marked a new training kit sponsorship deal with Trivago by recreating a tropical island on their pitch this week.

The stunt for the travel portal, which featured sand, palm trees, tiki bar and surf boards, saw their stadium jokingly rebranded “Stamford Beach”.

As Blues fans from the pre-Abramovich era will know, that tag also refers to a bitter dispute with Charlton Athletic over the state of Chelsea’s playing surface.

Chelsea's win over Charlton in Janurary 2003 sparked a row over their sandy plating surface that saw it dubbed 'Stamford Beach' - and earned the club a £5,000 fine
Chelsea’s win over Charlton in January 2003 sparked a row over their sandy playing surface that saw it dubbed ‘Stamford Beach’ – and earned the club a £5,000 fine (Getty Images)

Charlton were so incensed by the amount of sand on the Stamford Bridge pitch in a defeat at their London rivals in January 2003 that they demanded a replay. 

Back then, Chelsea avoided a replay but were fined £5,000 plus costs by the Premier League. This time, sanding the pitch is part of a deal that will instead earn them millions. 

Chelsea turned Stamford Bridge into 'Stamford Beach' to mark their sponsorship deal with travel company Trivago.
Chelsea turned Stamford Bridge into ‘Stamford Beach’ to mark their sponsorship deal with travel company Trivago.
Picture credit: Mark Robinson

Hundred teams get new spinners

English cricket chiefs have announced more plans to deliver on their promise of making The Hundred a family-focused product.

Through a partnership with BBC Music, live acts will perform at every game of the new men’s and women’s 100-ball tournaments, which take place for the first time this summer.

Each of the eight franchises will also have their own dedicated DJ, who will be tasked with playing music for their teams to walk out to and – MCC members: look away now – in-game sounds.

All eight teams in The Hundred, which starts this summer, will have their own dedicated DJ
All eight teams in The Hundred, which starts this summer, will have their own dedicated DJ (Getty Images for ECB)

LiveScore signs Ronaldo and eyes more live rights

App LiveScore, which also offers live streaming of matches from 15 different football leagues including Serie A, shows no sign of reining in its ambitions.

It has signed up Cristiano Ronaldo as an ambassador for the next two years and the five-time Ballon d’Or winner will front LiveScore’s first global TV ad campaign this summer.

Plans are also afoot to add more live streaming rights to the app, which is advertising funded and has more than 2m active users in the UK alone. 

Rutherford teams up with Peppa Pig

He lit up London 2012, won every title going in the long jump and even bagged a Celebrity Masterchef crown.

But now Greg Rutherford MBE has received the ultimate honour: he has been immortalised as a Peppa Pig character.

The programme’s creators sketched a cartoon Greg to mark a joint initiative with Team GB to get more young children exercising.

No word yet, however, on whether Rutherford will be swapping the sandpit for muddy puddles. 

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