COVID-19 knocks around the NFL schedule, American ownership pushing for Premier League change, Fenway Sports Group could be going public, and Amazon struggles with its video games.
NFL’s Hard Knocks
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Despite the NFL implementing new COVID-19 protocols last week, the league continues its fight with the virus. Yesterday, the league postponed the Denver Broncos-New England Patriots game after there was another positive case within the New England organization.
Patriots players reportedly are unhappy with the NFL’s handling of the situation, with the team having played in Kansas City last week despite Cam Newton’s positive test.
Meanwhile, the Tennessee Titans are still struggling with cases nearly two weeks after the organization’s outbreak began. The Titans are supposed to play Tuesday against the Buffalo Bills despite not practicing in at least 10 days. Including Week 5 and beyond, eight games have been affected so far.
Games Affected So Far:
Week 4: Steelers-Titans game moved to Week 7; Patriots-Chiefs moved to Monday.
Week 5: Bills-Titans moved to Tuesday; Patriots-Broncos moved to Week 6, which will affect other Broncos weeks.
Week 6: Bills-Chiefs moved from Thursday to Monday.
Week 7: Steelers-Ravens moved to Week 8 (previously the teams’ bye weeks.)
Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
American team owners are working to fundamentally change English soccer. Manchester United and Liverpool — owned by the Glazer Family and Fenway Sports Group, respectively — have introduced a Premier League reform plan, which aims to make the English soccer pyramid more sustainable.
Officials from the two influential teams have reportedly been discussing the proposals for years, but only recently brought it to the full slate of decision makers.
At the root of the timing is the coronavirus pandemic’s financial chaos, which has already resulted in millions of dollars in operating losses. The reform also aims to reduce risk-taking by second-tier clubs trying to earn the short-term financial rewards of promotion to the Premier League.
Key Changes Pitched:
Reduce Premier League to 18 teams.
Decision making would be limited to as many as nine elite teams in the league.
$326 million to support the three professional divisions under the Premier League.
$130 million to England’s Football Association to help mitigate coronavirus pandemic impacts.
25% of total income in the first season under the plan goes to lower divisions, as early as 2022-23.
Potential financing of a women’s league outside the Premier League.
Quality Healthcare At The Highest Levels of Sports
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Green Monster of a Deal
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Fenway Sports Group — the owner of the Boston Red Sox and Liverpool Football Club — could be headed public. RedBall Acquisition Corp. is reportedly looking to raise an additional $1 billion to take a less than 25% stake in Fenway Sports Group — valuing the company at $8 billion.
The merger with the special purpose acquisition company could be agreed to by the end of the month. A publicly-owned Fenway could make more plays for sports team acquisitions, including European soccer teams which are an increasingly popular target.
Oakland Athletics general manager Billy Beane could be in a sticky spot, and could be forced to choose between the Red Sox and A’s — again. Beane was offered the Sox general manager position in 2002 for $12.5 million, turning it down for an equity stake in the A’s. He’s now a principal in RedBall.
Fenway Sports Group Holdings:
Boston Red Sox
New England Sports Network
Salem Red Sox
Roush Fenway Racing
Fenway Sports Management
Amazon’s Game Struggles
Amazon’s foray into video game development took a big hit last week as it shutdown development of Crucible. A free-to-play multiplayer shooter meant to compete with games like Fortnite, the decision was made after determining there wasn’t a “healthy, sustainable future.”
Developers from the game are being transitioned to other Amazon Games projects. That includes the massively multiplayer online game New World, and Pac-Man Live Studio, which can be played directly on Twitch.
Between Twitch’s video game livestreaming dominance, working to enter game development and its cloud gaming service Luna, Amazon appears to want to dominate the industry. Aside from Twitch, however, it’s struggling to latch on.
As Amazon sinks money to draw big-name talent in the gaming industry and develop games that don’t gain traction, other games by indie developers, like Fall Guys, continue to soar.
2020 Best Employers In Sports
We are excited to officially open the employee survey process for the 2020 Best Employers in Sports Award! Established in 2019, this award recognizes organizations that do right by their employees even in the most uncertain of times.
Whether it’s great leadership, a focus on diversity and inclusion, a good work-life balance, or even how they’ve handled the impact of COVID-19, the 2020 Best Employers in Sports Award presented by FEVO will recognize organizations across the sports industry that deliver for their employees.