Week in Sportbiz: Succession at Matchroom; PGA Tour’s $40m fame fund; taking knee banned at Tokyo 2020; India warms to The Hundred; NFL’s paint job
It’s been a busy week for shifts in power at the top of sports organisations, splitting with old partners and signing megabucks new deals.
Away from European football’s attempt to eat itself, Matchroom announced that founder Barry Hearn would be stepping down after 40 years at the helm.
Matchroom Boxing boss Eddie Hearn is succeeding his father as chairman of the multi-sport promotions stable, which also owns World Snooker and the Professional Darts Corporation.
And one of his first moves will be a blockbusting UK broadcast deal between Matchroom Boxing and sports streaming service DAZN, reports The Athletic.
Hearn extracted $1bn from DAZN for a US deal in 2018 and the UK agreement, which would end a long-standing deal with Sky Sports, is said to run into the hundreds of millions of pounds – even though it does not include the rights to show Matchroom’s two biggest names, Anthony Joshua and Dillian Whyte.
DAZN declined to comment and Matchroom did not immediately respond.
PGA Tour pumps $40m into fame fund
Golf’s PGA Tour has hit on a novel way to incentivise players to generate more positive media coverage.
The tour is putting up $40m for the 10 golfers who perform best in their Player Impact Programme, reports Golfweek.
Players will be ranked on a number of metrics including Google searches, how well known they are, and social and digital engagement.
Competitors being rewarded for the eyeballs they attract regardless of performance? Sounds a bit like that other big story of the week.
IOC to ban taking the knee at Tokyo 2020
Organisers of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics have found another way to make it appear less than progressive.
Following sexism scandals among the Japanese officials involved, this week it was the turn of the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
Athletes at this summer’s delayed Games will not be allowed to take the knee in protest at social injustice, the IOC said.
It cited a survey of 3,500 athletes in which two thirds voted against lifting an existing ban on demonstrations of a political, religious or racial nature.
India warms to The Hundred
Indian cricket chiefs the BCCI are considering the significant step of allowing some of their players to play in The Hundred, reports the Times of India.
If approved, the move would take effect for the 2022 season of English cricket’s new short-form tournament, and only to under-23 players.
Indian players joining The Hundred had been mooted as a possible trade-off for allowing Indian investment in the competition.
The scenario currently being explored, however, would be more to do with winning support for Indian plans to free up more space in the calendar for an expanded Indian Premier League.
NFL’s paint job
Tottenham Hotspur’s brush (ahem) with the Dulux dog doesn’t appear to have turned all sports organisations off paint partners.
The NFL has signed up Valspar to be a partner in the UK and Ireland in a deal that promises “dynamic digital content”.
It will have to go some to match the impact of Dulux’s social media team, who were quickly brought to heel last week after mocking their new paymasters.