Olympics fever has well and truly taken hold this week. It is that one time every four years where I find myself watching the most random sports with intrigue when most of the time I’d take no interest. I find it fascinating how the Olympics is able to do this to us. There’s a fair bit that has gone on this week and we’re covering a few different sports so let’s not hang around, here are the biggest sports business news stories that you may have missed this week…
Cleveland’s name change
We’re starting the week off in the US and the baseball as Cleveland’s MLB team have changed their name from Indians to Guardians. The name has been a point of contention for a long time as many deem it to be offensive to Native Americans. Last July, after the George Floyd protests and the conversations around racism in America, the team announced they would be reviewing the name.
Through 14 rounds of vetting, 1,198 names were narrowed down to the final choice. The review saw the team survey 40,000 fans, conduct 140 hours of interviews and carry out more than 100 hours of idea storming sessions. The new name is a reference to Cleveland’s Hope Memorial Bridge which features the ‘Guardians of Traffic’ sculptures.
Team owner and chairman, Paul Dolan said “We are excited to usher in the next era of the deep history of baseball in Cleveland. Cleveland has and always will be the most important part of our identity. Therefore, we wanted a name that strongly represents the pride, resiliency and loyalty of Clevelanders.”
Hamilton launches Ignite
Tuesday’s news came from F1 as Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes revealed an initiative to improve diversity in motorsport.
The ‘Ignite’ programme is aiming to improve diversity and inclusion within motorsport by developing STEM education in schools. This follows the release of The Hamilton Commission. The in-depth study on diversity in the sport recommended several changes to improve opportunities for the BAME students.
Seven time world champion Lewis Hamilton said “Mercedes have long supported my ambition to improve diversity and inclusion within the motorsport industry. I am so thrilled that, through Ignite, we are able to formally work together to achieve this.”
All Blacks x Ineos
Another change in sport for Wednesday’s big news as New Zealand Rugby sealed a six-year contract with Ineos. The deal, worth around NZ$8m a year will see the All Blacks join the petrochemical giant’s sports performance group.
From 2022, the Ineos branding will appear on the back of the playing shorts and front of the training jerseys for the All Blacks, Black Ferns, both national sevens teams, the Māori All Blacks, All Blacks XV and the Under 20’s.
Ineos chairman, Sir Jim Ratcliffe said “The All Blacks have consistently shown the grit and determination needed to perform at the highest level of sport and there will be a lot that we can learn from them.”
NY Giants x Marvel
Thursday saw us back in America but this time to the NFL and the New York Giants. The Giants are joining the Marvel universe and will create a new comic as part of a ‘Super Hero Day’ event that will be hosted at the MetLife stadium when the Giants face the Carolina Panthers in October.
Six of their star players will feature in the special edition comic including Saquon Barkley and quarterback Daniel Jones. Digital copies can be accessed via marvel.com and 30,000 printed editions will be available to fans attending the game.
The New York Giants’ chief commercial officer, Pete Gueli said “The Giants and Marvel are two iconic brands with a storied history, and we can’t wait to see this collaboration featuring our players come to life.”
UEFA x Playstation
Wouldn’t be an edition of the Sports Business Weekly Wrap-up without covering some football news, would it?
The 24-year partnership between the UEFA Champions League and Playstation will continue until at least 2024. This agreement will see Playstation present the official player of the match for each game of the Champions League as well as player of the week awards.
Guy-Laurent Epstein, Uefa’s marketing director said “PlayStation has been a valued partner of the Uefa Champions League for more than 23 years, so I am delighted that we are able to celebrate a three-year extension to our relationship”
That’s another Sports Business Weekly Wrap-up and another week done. There’s been a good variety of stuff going on this week which has hopefully made for some interesting reading. I really like the New York Giants and Marvel partnership as that crossover of fanbases and industries could result in audience growth for both sides of the deal. It will be cool to see if more of these partnerships spring up across different sports and more sports teams joining the comic universe.