The Sports Business Weekly Wrap-up returns once again with the biggest sports business news stories from each day of the last week. It’s been a hectic week of sport with Euro 2020 now in full flow along with the Copa America, the French Open at Roland Garros finished last Sunday and Queens has started this week as we get closer to Wimbledon starting. The Tour De France is also just around the corner.
Anyway, here’s a wrap-up of the last week to give you a break from the television screen…
Sky Sports x Top Rank
In the last Sports Business Weekly Wrap-up, I talked about the news that DAZN had secured a deal to become the global home of Matchroom Boxing for the next five years, bringing an end to their long standing relationship with Sky Sports.
However, Sky Sports have moved pretty quickly and have now linked up with Top Rank and Boxxer. Sky will now be home to Top Rank’s US events in the UK and Ireland with at least 18 international fight nights. Adding to this, Sky will work with Boxxer on developing grassroots boxing and the facilities within the sport.
Sky Sports Managing Director, Jonathan Licht said “We’re very excited to partner with Top Rank and Boxxer to bring more world class boxing to Sky Sports. Top Rank are one of the biggest boxing promoters in the world, and our customers will now be able to see more of the world’s best boxers on Sky.
“Boxxer have ambitious and exciting plans for the sport in the UK, and we share a long-term view for boxing.”
Jamie Vardy x Rochester Rhinos
This piece of news will probably be never beaten in terms of how random it is but Tuesday saw Leicester City’s Jamie Vardy has bought a minority stake in US team, Rochester Rhinos.
I’m going to guess that your reaction to reading that was probably the same as mine, I’m going to guess you finished reading that sentence and went “…huh?”
The club haven’t fielded a team for over 4 years but with Vardy’s involvement, they plan to return to action in 2022. Speaking with Stuart James at The Athletic, he said “I think it kind of resonates with me because of what they’ve achieved in the past — the only lower-league club to win the US Open Cup, the only team to have ever done it who’s outside MLS (Major League Soccer). It’s all about bringing that back and trying to replicate it — but we also want to bring it back even better than it was before.”
It’s no secret that Jamie Vardy isn’t getting any younger and although he doesn’t have any plans to retire any time soon, it’s clear to see him preparing for life post-playing career with investments like this.
Liverpool set to expand Anfield
Liverpool FC are set to expand their Anfield home and increase by 7,000 seats which will take the stadium to a capacity of over 61,000.
As part of a £60 million redevelopment, the Premier League side have been granted planning permission to reroute the existing Anfield Road, allowing space to build a new Anfield Road Stand. “This is a huge milestone in our journey towards bringing more supporters into Anfield.” said the club.
The planning application has also given the club permission to hold up to six concerts and other major events per year at the stadium for a five year period. This is a smart move from the club as the conundrum of how to get the most out of stadiums when they’re not being used for their main purpose has long been one that clubs have not been able to solve.
Kosmos launch athlete agency
I wanted to continue the theme of football players and the work they’re doing outside of their “9-5 jobs” with a piece of news that caught my attention on Thursday.
Barcelona’s Gerard Piqué owns a company called Kosmos, which according to their website is “Reimagining yesterday’s sports and media businesses for the audiences of tomorrow. Merging sports, media, and entertainment innovation, Kosmos invests in impactful ventures that challenge the status quo.”
Kosmos has now moved into athlete management with former tennis player, Galo Blanco heading up the agency. They’ve already signed up their first client with current world tennis number 5 Dominic Thiem, joining Kosmos. Blanco said “We are very excited about this project. Many people who have been linked to sport for many years and specialise in different key areas in the development of an athlete’s career work at Kosmos.”
Valencia CF x Socios
La Liga side Valencia are set to replace their main shirt sponsor, Bwin with their own fan token as part of their partnership with Chilliz. The blockhchain provider owns socios.com which is a fan engagement platform.
As part of the new deal, the club’s $VCF fan token will be on the front of their playing shirts, replacing long term sponsor Bwin. According to 2Playbook, the deal doesn’t match the same amount of money that Bwin were paying which came in at €4.8 million. An interesting thing to consider as well is the discussions around betting companies sponsoring kits and the potential banning of them so it’s a smart move from Valencia to secure a new shirt sponsor and preemptively replace the online bookmaker.
Using the Socios.com app, owners of the $VCF fan token will be able to influence day-to-day club decisions across a range of polls on matters such as in-stadium designs, celebration anthems, club mottos, player challenges and exclusive shirt designs.
The partnership will also lead to unique experiences for fans, including the opportunity to meet club legends, connect digitally with existing players and play on the pitch at Valencia’s historic Mestalla home.
That’s the Sports Business Weekly Wrap-up done for another week. There’s been quite a mix of stuff going on this week in the sports business world and it’s been really interesting to see athletes clearly preparing for life after their playing careers finish. Personal brands and their importance have been growing for a long time now and we’ve seen athletes placing more importance on their lives outside of sport and building a long term future.
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You can read previous editions of the Weekly Wrap-up here.