The Sports Business Weekly Wrap-up is back once again for the final instalment of this year. With rising COVID cases across the UK and Europe, it’s looking likely that we’re heading in to another lockdown and sport could be postponed.

With Christmas falling on next weekend, for the last time in 2021, here are the biggest sports business news stories you may have missed this week…


UFC x Timex

Monday started with more news from the UFC. I feel like I’ve talked about the leading MMA organisation a fair bit over recent editions of the Weekly Wrap-up but it’s hard not to when they’re a fast moving company operating in one of the fastest growing sports around at the moment. 

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They’ve teamed up with Timex for a global sponsorship and licensing partnership in a four-year deal which will see the watch brand become the first-ever official timekeeper for the UFC. They will be promoted during live UFC broadcasts and also across their digital assets. UFC-branded Timex products will also be part of the deal including wristwatches, wristbands and clocks. 

Dana White, president of the UFC said “Now Timex is going to be associated with UFC’s biggest moments as they’re broadcast around the world. Timex is an iconic brand, and we’re looking forward to having them as an official UFC partner.”


The Premier League x Barclays 

I’d imagine this is news you will have seen when it broke on Wednesday but if you somehow missed it, Barclays have extended their partnership with the Premier League for another three-years which will take them through the 2024/25 season.


The pair are celebrating 20 years since the bank first partnered with the League in 2001. 

At the same time at this announcement, Barclays also announced they would be extended their sponsorship of women’s football with The FA for the same time period. Between 2022 and 2025, Barclays will invest more than £30 million in to women’s and girl’s football which doubles the existing investment and is a new record for investment in UK women’s sport. 

Sasha Wiggins, Group Head of Public Policy and Corporate Responsibility, Barclays said: “We are delighted to announce the agreements with The FA and Premier League at a time when we are celebrating our long term commitment to English football. Collectively we have been through extraordinarily difficult times over the last 18 months and over that time football has done much to help raise spirits and bring people together.

“Yet we are also aware that this is an important time to drive equity across the game. The doubling of our investment in women’s and girls’ football, whilst continuing to support men’s football, and providing finance to the smallest football organisations through the new community fund, is the right way to support the future of the game for everyone’s benefit.”

You can read more about the sponsorship extension agreement here.


Popularity of F1 sky rockets in the US

After the utter chaos we saw last weekend in the final race of the F1 calendar in Abu Dhabi, ESPN announced their audience numbers for the 2021 season, and there was a big jump. Across the season, F1 reached an average of 934,000 viewers per race on ESPN, a 54% increase from 2020. 

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It’s not too hard to work out why and a big thanks has to go to Netflix. Formula 1: Drive to Survive is a Netflix documentary series that takes viewers behind the scenes of the season following drivers, managers and team owners as it all unfolds. The extremely popular show has resulted in driving interest to the sport. 

Providing viewers with that behind the scenes look and allowing them to get to know the drivers on a more intimate levels allows them to build a deeper relationship with the sport outside of race weekends. 


Kylian Mbappé x Dior 

Something a little different for Friday’s news but I thought it was something of interest. Kylian Mbappé is the new global ambassador for Dior which will see him represent the French fashion house and its male fragrance, Sauvage.


This comes after Dior also launched a two-season collaboration with PSG which will see them design the club’s official wardrobe. 

Mbappé has long been lauded as one of the players to take the place of the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi when it comes to being one of the best players in the world so partnerships like this shouldn’t really come as a surprise given his popularity.

Our friends at VERSUS have more on the announcement here.

Content you need to watch 

There’s only one thing I want you to watch this week and it’s this from Leeds Rhinos. Back in November, former Rhinos captain and club legend Kevin Sinfield ran 101 miles in 24 hours to raise awareness and money for Motor Neurone Disease. He’s doing it all because his friend and former teammate, Rob Burrow suffers from the disease that will ultimately take his life. 

This is a behind the scenes look at the whole 24 hours including a sit down interview with Kevin Sinfield as he talks about the whole challenge. Last year. Kevin ran 7 marathons in 7 days to raise funds the MND Association.

Kevin Sinfield is one of the very few people that I look up to. What he’s been doing for MND and everything he does for Rob Burrow is incredible and awe inspiring. Now that, is a true friend.

Thanks for reading this edition of the Sports Business Weekly Wrap-up. More importantly, thank you for all of your support this year. To every single person who has engaged with what we’re building, everyone who has taken part in our Industry Insider and SportsBiz Spotlight series, thank you. I can’t wait to show you what we’re working on for 2022.

If there are any sports business news stories we may have missed this week then make sure you hit us up on Twitter @BehindSport! If you want to read previous editions you can click here.