The AST weekly sports business wrap-up, edition four

Combat sport continues to prosper throughout project restart, technology remains a significant player to re-ignite the sports industry this pandemic and sports rivals become allies.


UFC 251 brings in 1.3m PPV buys for ESPN, combat sports can’t stop winning

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Kamaru Usman retaining his welterweight title against Jorge Massvidal boosts UFC251 as the 6th highest PPV listed UFC event. Thus far, Fight Island (The UFC’s return) has accumulated £62.3m in broadcasting revenue. Plus, the #UFC251 hashtag has received over 135.1m in social media reach. President of The UFC, Dana White said Fight Island is ‘trending higher than a Conor McGregor fight’.  

The UFC has stolen the combat sports spotlight during COVID19. Three days ago, the UFC4 game trailer was released and had already received a digital reach over 200k. The sport has become a trailblazer due to its ability to push boundaries and providing valuable content to its ever-so-loyal fanbase. 


ESPN aspire to reach new diverse audiences with UnitedMasters collab

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International sports broadcaster ESPN is teaming up with US music distributor, UnitedMasters to bring new sounds to sport. The multinational sports channel will provide the opportunity for artists under the US labels new ‘Select’ platform to create music for ESPN’s studio shows, including SportsCenter, First Take and The Jump. ESPN and UnitedMasters have presented a life-changing chance for the next aspiring musician to have their voice heard to an International audience.

UnitedMasters have a track record of working with globally recognised musicians such as platinum-selling performer NLE Choppa and Billboard recording artist Lil Tecca. In eighteen months, the company have garnered five billion streams, distributed over 500k tracks, and assembled over 400k artists. This venture demonstrates the impact collaborative partnerships can bring to form life-changing opportunities. 


Pixellot to revolutionise the coaching experience for FC Barcelona through AI

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Leading sports production firm, Pixellot form a three-year strategic partnership with FC Barcelona to commercialise the clubs coaching methods through AI. This joint venture will include an expansion on performance analysis resources, extended media capabilities alongside new tools to increase reach to identify coaches and analysts worldwide. Pixellot has a respectable reputation across the sports industry, as the company have previously worked across the English Premier League, the Bundesliga, and the Mexican FA.

Throughout lockdown, technology and football have taken their working relationship to new heights, from utilising the fan experience in the absence of stadium attendance, taking digital content games to the next level and now doing the same for supporting on-pitch performance.


The LPGA aims to swing COVID19 out of existence with Cambia Health Solutions

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The Ladies Professional Golf Association (LGPA) have formed a new sponsorship category with Cambia Health Solutions (CHS) being the LGPA’s official mask partner. CHS has been a long-term partner of the LGPA, embedding the importance of health and wellness amongst the organisation.  This partnership will provide mask supplies to the golfers, caddies, and staff alongside CHS supporting a caddie hat program. The LPGA is due to return in late July, and CHS want to graciously champion immaculate health and safety throughout the combat against the wicked pandemic.  

More than ever, sport has needed to strengthen ties with health sponsors to weather this unpredictable storm, COVID19. There is hope to see more long-term health partnerships in the sports industry, encouraging its global audience to follow healthy ways of living.   


How does England intend to keep spectator’s safe before their return to events?

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Prime Minister of Britain, Boris Johnson announced that sports events could see the return of their beloved fans in October.  The next phase of project restart will pilot larger gatherings in sports stadiums, including the following:

  • Two men’s county cricket friendly matches – including Surrey v Middlesex at The Oval from the 26-27 July.
  • The World Snooker Championship at Sheffield’s Crucible Theatre from the 31st July.
  • The Goodwood horse racing festival – on the 1st August.

SportBusiness reports the England and Wales Cricket board have installed in-stadium Bluetooth network sensors to monitor social distancing and virus outbreaks. Could this inspire other sports to think similarly to applying technology to better support the return of spectator attendance?


The Lions and South Africa destined to maximise impact for the 2021 tour

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SA Rugby and the British and Irish Lions have joined forces to broaden the appeal of the 2021 Lions Tour of South Africa. This partnership will provide a collaborative approach to create various opportunities for fans to engage with the tour through digital and social content. A joint documentary is confirmed and will showcase exclusive insights to both The Lions and the South African team.

It’s rare to see two teams in sport come together to leverage new audiences into the sector. Therefore, it will be exciting to see the results garnered and whether other sports will apply similarly to maximise more economic output.


Now that’s a wrap! What will the UFC pull out of the bag next? Are spectators due to return too soon and would more sports clubs & teams benefit by creating joint partnerships together?

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Published by Ashwyn Lall

I'm a First-Class Graduate in Sports Business Management who has worked across Local Government, Sport and the Third Sector. Throughout my career, I've developed a thriving passion to promote sport being used as a tool to bring positivity to the world we live in. This ethos has inspired me to create a website which champions this value through comprehensive online content for you to gain value from. Join me on this journey of discovering what sport can do to enhance society.

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