• Andy Marston

76: Crippling cost of injuries, governance of women's sport and Fury's knockout blow

Last week I listened to a podcast where the hosts discussed monetisation strategies for content creators with Ariel Helwani, arguably the most popular journalist within MMA.


The conversation inspired me to write a Twitter thread breaking down their discussion, as well as providing some insight of my own from my experience working with Antourage.

 

TOP STORY

The crippling cost of Injuries in the Premier League

With the pandemic taking hold last year, dropping revenues across European football resulted in an introspection within club boardrooms. The tap was turned off and savings needed to be made, particularly around playing staff - typically the largest financial outlay.


This resulted in high earners coming under scrutiny, as well as increased research focused on squad optimisation and recruitment (as well as the culling of backroom staff and mascot dinosaurs*). However, many an arguably much more critical area for saving costs has been largely overlooked – injuries.


Last season, there was a huge 21,004 days lost among the 20 Premier League clubs due to injury (a day lost is simply a day within the season where that player is unavailable due to injury). As there is a wage value attached, each of these days that a player is unavailable, has a cost.


To calculate this cost of injury, Zone7 took projected salaries for every player in the Premier League in 2020/21 and performed league-wide calculations on a per-player level. The findings were astounding: £197m worth of days were lost last season.


That means that if Zone7 technology were consistently applied across the competition, savings are potentially anywhere up to £150m! (Even a 1% reduction in injury rates in the Premier League equates to a saving of £2m).


The company, whose artificial intelligence (AI) system forecasts injury risk, recently conducted an impressive retrospective analysis with 14 of its elite North American and European football clients. From the 550 injuries that occurred during that historical time-period, 413 (75%) were identified as high (60%) or medium (15%) risk by Zone7’s technology.


Our Take: As the beginning of the covid financial fallout is laid bare, clubs are being coerced into changing habits of a lifetime. But with savings like these, the volume of the question grows louder; it’s not a case of why Zone7, rather, why not?


*Disclaimer - While this is not a sponsored post, I do work closely with Zone7's comms team in a freelance capacity, so I do have first-hand experience of the awesome work they are doing.


📚 Further Reading

  • The secret injury advantage behind Rangers’ 23 point Scottish Premier League lead - Forbes

  • Soccer looks to AI for an edge: Could an algorithm really predict injuries? - ESPN

  • Mason Greenwood opted out of England selection until next year, says Southgate - The Guardian

 

THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK

As women's sport continues its inexorable rise, Dan Parr, Commercial Director at InSport Education, asks, "Are existing governance structures fit for purpose?"


More often than not, Parr suggests, "governance frameworks from men's sport are simply overlaid onto women's sport without considering the differentiation and nuances that exist between the two."


This thought is also reflected by InSport Education's chair, Dame Heather Rabbatts, recently commented about women's football:


"I don’t think it’s about mimicking. It’s about inventing what feels right for the women’s game,"

📚 Further Reading

  • Study: WSL set to enter UK’s top four in domestic sports league viewership - SportsPro Media

  • WST reveals latest research on visibility of women's sport - Women's Sport Trust

  • "Beyond Greatness" unveiled as new 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup slogan to headline competition's brand identity - Inside The Games

Plus check out this awesome #onelove campaign from Optus Sport that sees them promote their Premier League and Women's Super League rights side by side

 

WEEKLY ROUND UP

Gambling

  • British boxer Tyson Fury’s knockout victory against Deontay Wilder was costly for betting company Flutter. The owner of Paddy Power and PokerStars said a run of wins for favourites and a suspension of operations in the Netherlands would hit earnings by about £70m this year.

Private Equity

  • Representatives of Cricket Australia met the sports private equity firm Silver Lake earlier this year, as the governing body seriously considers the possibility of a move towards privatisation that would turn the national sport upside down. Multiple sources have told The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald that this introductory contact was aimed at helping CA better understand Silver Lake’s moves into Australian and global sport.

Metaverse

  • American multinational footwear and sports apparel giant, Nike, is getting ready to step into the metaverse and the world of NFT technology. Reports show Nike has a few employees “thinking about the metaverse” and a 2019 patent for “cryptokicks” indicates Nike has been preparing to use NFTs for quite some time.

Play-To-Earn

  • Electronic Arts (EA) CEO Andrew Wilson called NFT and "play-to-earn" games the "the future of our industry," but added that "it's still early to figure out how that's going to work," when asked about the topic during the company's earnings call this week.

 

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