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What You Missed In Sports Business While We Were Away

T
he Ministry of Sport team has returned today from two weeks of leave for the end of 2020 and is returning with a recap of ‘what you missed in sports business while we were away’.

CRICKET:

In Australia, the Australian women’s cricket team’s series against India has been postponed to 2022 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, despite the ongoing men’s Test series against India currently taking place in Australia.

Cricket Australia interim CEO, Nick Hockley, told the cricket.com.au website Australia’s 2021/22 season will not only include a likely extended program against India, but also the scheduled Ashes series against England.

“We are very hopeful of delivering an expanded schedule between the Australian and Indian women’s teams for next season, which would be an outstanding result for fans in both countries,” Hockley said.

“We had initially hoped to play India this summer, however, the impact of the global pandemic made it necessary to postpone until next season.

“It will be wonderful to once again host the Indian women’s team, who were centre stage for that unforgettable ICC T20 World Cup final at the MCG in March and to do so with an expanded schedule from what was originally planned,” he said.

BASKETBALL :

In basketball, the NBL has been forced to move both the South East Melbourne Phoenix and the New Zealand Breakers to Hobart due to a recent spike in COVID-19 cases in Victoria and New South Wales.

The league still hopes to hold a 36-game hub in Melbourne from February 20 but has relocated the clubs to ensure they do not get shutdown in Melbourne if the state of Victoria moves into another lockdown.

NBL commissioner, Jeremy Loeliger, said: “Given the current situation in Melbourne we have decided it’s prudent for both clubs to relocate to Hobart and they will be accommodated and train there under strict COVID protocols.”

“This will give us time to assess and work through the next steps required as we prepare for the forthcoming NBL season.

“We hope the current restrictions and resulting border closures will be eased as quickly as possible, but we will need to stay flexible in our approach and we will continue to be guided by the advice of the relevant state health authorities,” he said.

Melbourne United is currently in Cairns following two pre-season matches against the Cairns Taipans, while the Sydney Kings and the Hawks recently moved to Albury in NSW but will again be moved due to the worsening COVID-19 situation in NSW.

FORMULA 1

Formula One (F1) has revealed it is in active talks with Amazon over a streaming rights deal for its Grand Prix races, outgoing CEO, Chase Carey told The Financial Times.

Carey said the motorsport series has held: “substantive discussions… [with] Amazon and all the global digital platforms” over new streaming deals, revealing: “They’re [an] incredibly important potential partner and an opportunity for us to expand and grow our business.”

The move is reportedly in an effort to appeal to younger fan bases, after the success of F1 in its Netflix documentary series ‘Drive to Survive’, and through its Amazon Prime documentary ‘Fernando’.

WORLD GAME :

Elsewhere in sports business, Major League Soccer (MLS) franchise, DC United, have announced Danita Johnson is set to become the club’s new president of business operations.

With the appointment, Johnson is set to become the first Black president of a MLS franchise and the third woman to be a president in the history of the MLS.

DC United co-chairman and chief executive, Jason Levien, said Johnson, who was previously the president and chief operating officer of the Los Angeles Sparks of the WNBA, is the right person to lead the MLS franchise.

“After conducting a thorough search process, we are confident that Danita Johnson is the right person to lead our business and help take our club to new heights,” Levien said.

“Throughout her career, Danita has demonstrated the ability to develop a positive and inspiring work culture, and she has done a tremendous job connecting with the communities in which she has lived and worked.

“We are thrilled that she has agreed to join us at this critical moment in DC United’s trajectory,” he said.

The A-League and Westfield W-League have signed a historic partnership with Bunnings, seeing the launch of the ‘Bunnings Ladder’ and the ‘Bunnings Team of the Week’, a celebration of the best performing team in every round of the A-League and Westfield W-League.

Sydney FC CEO and commercial-lead of the Australia Professional Football Clubs Association (APFCA), Danny Townsend, said: “This is a partnership of perfectly aligned values, Bunnings’ team members are the heart and soul of their business, and our sport is all about teamwork.”

“As we enter a new era for Australian football, with the soon to be independent professional leagues, we are delighted to have one of Australia’s most loved brands on the journey with us,” he said.

TENNIS :

In tennis, Bondi Sands has been named the official sunscreen partner of the Australian Open 2021 and all Summer Series events, with Tennis Australia CEO, Craig Tiley, saying Bondi Sands will give away free samples of their newest range across the Melbourne Park precinct.

“I’m delighted to welcome Bondi Sands to the Australian Open and welcome the bringing together of two brands that evoke the essence of the Australian summer,” Tiley said.

“With Bondi Sands at our side we look forward to keeping our fans sunsmart as they make more special summer memories with families and friends at the tennis in 2021,” he said.

GOLF:

The PGA of Australia and Australian online foreign exchange and payments company, OFX, announced a new partnership that hopes to save professional golfers and golf businesses in Australia thousands of dollars with preferred rates and fee-free transactions.

PGA of Australia commercial director, Michael McDonald, told Golf Australia Magazine the deal will see OFX branding at tournaments in Australia, and will largely help up and coming professional players.

“It made huge sense for us,” McDonald said.

“Not only do we have a lot of players on Tours around the world with foreign currency needs, we also have a lot of PGA members who transact internationally, and have currency needs,” he said.