• Andy Marston

100: The Match ditches pros, is it time to scrap 45-minute halves? and Netflix plays down live sport

Today's newsletter marks the 100th edition of Sports Pundit, which is pretty mind-blowing (to me at least!).


As such, I just wanted to take this moment to say thank you to every one of you who has subscribed, read, shared, and supported.


I feel like I have gained so much in terms of relationships and friendships through writing and publishing each week. To celebrate, I would love to share that network effect I've experienced with all of you by throwing a gathering (in London) where we can get together for a catch up and a drink.


LDN UTD have kindly offered to host on the 26th May. In order to gauge interest and availability, it would be awesome if you could RSVP by clicking the button below.


See you there, hopefully!

Andy

 

TOP STORY

'The Match' ditches the pros in favour of all QB lineup

The only place you'll see four of the last five NFL MVPs competing at the same time and same place this year is on a golf course.


That’s because this year’s instalment of Capital One's The Match, the Sports Emmy-nominated premier live golf event series, will feature a legendary NFL quarterback foursome of Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen.


The epic 12-hole exhibition will take place on June 1 at Wynn Las Vegas, the only golf course on the Las Vegas Strip.


Brady and Rodgers, who played last year as opponents will join forces this time around. Rodgers is coming off a win last summer alongside Bryson Dechambeau, while Brady seeks to get redemption in his third appearance in Capital One's The Match.


Together, they’ll be taking on a pair of young superstars as 2018 NFL MVP Mahomes will be joined by fellow AFC signal caller and 2020 Pro Bowler Allen. Making this line-up the first time that 'The Match' has entirely ditched the pros (golfers).


Live coverage of the match play event will once again feature unprecedented access with players having open mics throughout the entire competition, including the capability to communicate directly with their competitors and the broadcast commentators.


A model which is now being embraced elsewhere in the golfing world, too. The Icon Series, which has recruited former world number one tennis star Ash Barty, is “bringing together the world's most iconic athletes across multiple sports” in a 10 hole golf competition and providing “unprecedented access for a global audience.”


Our Take:


The move away from the pros is potentially concerning (for golf execs) but perhaps no surprise given the increasing focus on personality over performance when it comes to sport as an entertainment spectacle – just look at YouTuber boxing.


Morning Consult reported late last year that “there’s little overlap between the top-ranked and most popular players on the PGA Tour.”


This is only further enhanced by the fact that, despite not playing in an official PGA Tour event for more than a year while recovering from injury, Tiger Woods still managed to win the tour’s inaugural Player Impact Program, a new initiative that uses five metrics to determine popularity. We are well and truly in the era of celebrity.


📚 Further Reading

  • Serena Williams and Lewis Hamilton join Broughton bid to buy Chelsea - The Guardian

  • Justin Bieber collaborates with Toronto Maple Leafs to create newest alternate team jersey - CTV News

  • Seattle Kraken add Macklemore and Marshawn Lynch as minority owners - SportsPro

 

THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK

On Thursday, Benfica defender Jan Vertonghen took to Twitter with a declaration that, "FIFA really really needs to change to effective playing time ASAP!!"


His Solution? "2x 30min [halves] and a visible stop clock to start with and red cards for obvious diving."


While the red card for diving can perhaps be viewed as 'centre-back bias', it is interesting to see the proposal of a move to effective playing time returning to the public spotlight - with the Portuguese Football Association set to start trialsin the coming months, too.


Almost 5 years ago, a proposal to scrap 45-minute halves was put forward and looked at the International Football Association Board (Ifab) to deter time-wasting.


At the time, iNews reported that the average amount of time the ball was in play in each match was just 59 minutes and 23 seconds. And that average has actually dropped since then.


In November, statisticians at Opta reported that a 90-minute game now contains just 54 minutes and 43 seconds of action.


There's also a question of fairness, given that Aston Villa games 'last' an average of 49 minutes while Manchester City games last over an hour.


What do you think? Would you be in favour of 30 minute halves with a stop clock?

📚 Further Reading


Despite these damning statistics, the difficulty with implementing such a proposal will be in convincing the masses that this is greater value for money.


Paying for 90 minutes (if they're actually playing or not) ultimately feels better than paying for 60 minutes. This is known as the "Locksmith Paradox" - which I'll let Sahil Bloom explain.


"As the locksmith improves at his craft, the customers become increasingly upset by the lower time input required to deliver a fixed output. The results are the same, but the perception of value has changed. The locksmith is penalised for proficiency!"

 

WEEKLY ROUND UP

Sponsorship

  • Naomi Metzger, 9x British triple jump champion, launches NFT collection Afro Chicks to replace her main sponsor, which she lost ahead of the current season.

Broadcast

  • Netflix has played down the prospect of entering the live sports market as Co-CEO Ted Sarandos says the streaming company is unsure the move would create “big profit stream”.

Sponsorship

  • With the new CBA clearing a path for MLB teams to sell uniform sponsorship patches, the San Diego Padres are the first club to do so - signing a deal with Motorola.

Metaverse

  • The Australian Football League (AFL) and Animoca Brands have agreed to a five-year NFT and metaverse cooperation, with the goal of providing fans with immersive Web3 experiences.

Investment

  • Bahrain-domiciled asset manager Investcorp has entered into exclusive talks to purchase Serie A club AC Milan, in what would be the first takeover of a top Italian team by Middle East investors.

Technology

  • The NFL is getting its own NFLPA-licensed virtual reality (VR) simulation title in a partnership with sports technology and gaming company, StatusPRO.

 

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