In a fortnight that has seen the UK government unveil early details of its eagerly awaited plans to regulate the football industry, and the PGA and LPGA announce a new annual mixed team golf event, we bring updates on the merger of BT and Eurosport, the recently announced Netflix Documentaries on LaLiga and the app’s new NBA Live Avatar Experience feature.
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F1 Boosted by new partnership with Tottenham
A 15-year strategic partnership has been agreed between F1 and Tottenham Hotspur to nurture a new generation of motorsport talent. A new driver’s academy program will open up the talent pool for future F1 stars, while educational activities in schools will educate younger generations about career opportunities in motorsport – whether as a driver, engineer or software developer, with the additional aim of to promote the participation of women and underrepresented groups in motorsport. London’s longest indoor go-kart track and the world’s first electric go-kart facility in a stadium are also to be built beneath Tottenham’s stadium. The partnership will focus on sustainability, benefiting from the alignment of Formula 1’s commitment to be Net Zero Carbon by 2030 and Tottenham’s goals as a Race to Zero signatory to the UN Climate Action Framework.
Cricket attracts new broadcasters in IPL and WPL
International sports streaming provider DAZN has partnered with ITV to host the Indian Premier League (IPL). The IPL is the biggest T20 Cricket franchise in the world and regularly attracts hundreds of millions of viewers worldwide. DAZN and ITV have secured the rights for the next five years, representing DAZN’s first foray into UK cricket. ITV is expected to broadcast 16 of the regular season games, while the majority (including the playoffs and the final) will be hosted by DAZN. This deal marks the first time the IPL will be available on free-to-air TV in the UK since 2014. As well as the IPL, Sky Sports has won broadcast rights for the inaugural Women’s Premier League (WPL), which started on 4 March 2023. The WPL has already seen significant sums of money poured into the women’s game, with England players Sciver-Brunt and Ecclestone sold for £320,000 and £180,000 respectively.
England Athletics is racing towards a new apparel partnership
England Athletics has announced Pressio as its official compression wear partner. Athletes, coaches and clubs registered with England Athletics will receive preferential rates, support and advice from their experts. Pressio, a leading compression apparel brand, aims to redefine the standard of wear by engineering the most advanced sports fabric technologies globally while pursuing a sustainable future. Speaking about the partnership, Chris Jones, Chief Executive of England Athletics, said: “We recognize that many athletes and runners already use compression products, but by partnering with Pressio, this is part of our wider commitment to support the sustainable journey of our RunTogether clubs and groups, as well as athletes, coaches and officials.”
Neville makes a new investment
Gary Neville’s sports broadcasting company Buzz16 has sold a majority stake to the Miroma Group, a global independent marketing business. Buzz16 was launched by Neville in 2016 and offers a variety of live sports content production services for a range of clients including Sky Sports, Warner Bros. Discovery, BT Sport and Prime Video. Miroma Group’s investment will help Buzz16 launch the next phase of its growth plans as it considers a potential IPO, valuing the business at more than £200m. In 2022, it was awarded Channel of the Year at the Broadcast Sport Awards. Overlap features a variety of sports content ranging from in-depth personal interviews with boxing champion Tyson Fury to a new four-part live series with football legends Jamie Carragher and Roy Keane as part of the new Sky Max channel, which has replaced Sky One.
Tough for Bolton Wanderers as the club strike a new sponsorship deal at the stadium
Bolton Wanderers FC’s stadium will now be known as the Toughsheet Community Stadium from July after they revealed their new stadium sponsor for the next five years. Toughsheet is a local company specializing in building products made from recycled materials and was chosen because of its long history in Bolton and its green agenda. The agreement represents the club’s biggest sponsorship deal to date. Reaction from some fans was initially mixed, though many embraced the light-hearted pun. Managing director Doug Mercer said of the name that “We are happy to have some fun with it. Obviously the brand name is a bit tongue-in-cheek, a bit of schoolboy humor – I can’t wait to see them try to get each other to say it on Sky Sports.”
…and finally, the past two weeks have seen the tumultuous removal of Gary Lineker as Match of the Day host. Lineker was suspended for allegedly breaching the BBC’s impartiality rules after he refused to apologize for a tweet comparing the language of the government’s new migration policy to that used in Germany in the 1930s. In solidarity with Lineker, fellow Match of the Day presenters Alan Shearer and Ian Wright announced they would not be appearing on the show, and several other key sports presenters (including Alex Scott) resigned from various BBC shows. which were due to took place last weekend. The situation has also led to questions over the impartiality of the BBC, which said it had a “commitment to impartiality” but admitted it was “difficult to get the balance right when people are being targeted in different positions and with different audiences and social media profiles”. The dispute appears to have been resolved for now, with Lineker reinstated on Match of the Day and an agreement being reached that the BBC will review its social media guidelines, particularly for freelancers outside of news and current affairs, while Lineker will follow the BBC’s current version guidance pending review outcome…