The AST Wrap-up: Santa’s delayed delivery of sports business news!

I wish a Merry Christmas to those celebrating. However, it wouldn’t be a Sunday without your weekly edition of sports business news right! This week sees the MLS introduce their first black president, Anthony Joshua takes action to keep amateur boxing alive, and FIFA enters the streaming space. The National Hockey League seeks additional revenue streams while tennis introduces a new sponsor for the Queens Club Championships!

History has been made in the MLS

Danita Johnson, the new head of business operations at MLS franchise, DC United: https://www.mlssoccer.com/post/2020/12/22/dc-united-appoint-danita-johnson-head-business-operations-making-her-first-black

Major League Soccer (MLS) club, DC United, sees Danita Johnson as their new president of business operations. This move see’s Danita as the first black but third female president of an MLS property. Johnson will transition from Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) side, the Los Angeles Sparks, where she was their president and chief operating officer.  

Previously, Danita has proven to develop and inspire a new lease of work culture by innovatively engaging with working communities. She increased the Sparks’ ticket sales by 50% between 2014-2017 by establishing a winning culture and holding the ambition to make American Soccer history.

Anthony Joshua takes action to keep amateur boxing rolling with the punches

British boxing champion Anthony Joshua at Finchley Boxing Club: https://bit.ly/3pca5Ka

World Heavyweight Champion, Anthony Joshua, has provided a generous donation to amateur boxing federations across England, Scotland and Wales. Multiple boxing clubs have been forced to close due to COVID19 restrictions, leaving many boxing clubs in need of as much financial support as possible.

The Watford local has openly admitted that his younger years saw him affiliated with a life of crime and surrounding himself with the wrong influences. Boxing helped AJ escape that regime which has not only changed his life but inspired others to see the bigger picture as he did.

Grassroots sport has experienced challenges around funding for years before COVID19. Therefore, the grassroots game must receive as much financial backing as possible to demonstrate sport to be a societal development tool.  

Could we see FIFA enter the sports streaming landscape?

Footballing legend, Cristiano Ronaldo, celebrating: https://www.goal.com/en/news/what-does-cristiano-ronaldos-siiiiii-celebration-mean/1sdbp1s7pf35zcpc5yej22go

The Daily Mail reports that footballs largest governing body, FIFA, could launch their own direct-to-consumer streaming channel. The service is likely to include coverage from FIFA’s youth tournament, esports initially and plans to distribute archived FIFA World Cup footage.

The launch date is to be confirmed alongside whether a subscription is necessary. It’s fair to say FIFA has been influenced by Europe’s Football Association, UEFA, with the ignition of Uefa.tv which is free Over-The-Top content for all fans.

The National Hockey League could make up to $15 million from helmet sponsorships

The National Hockey League (NHL) has high hopes for their recent helmet sponsorship initiative to make $15 million from the deal. Major sides such as the Toronto Maple Leafs and Montreal Canadiens could acquire $1 million from this; however, smaller sides will likely demand less.

Helmet-based sponsorships intend to maximise revenue generation to recover from the deficit caused by COVID19. Helmet sponsorships won’t be considered as ‘newfound money’ as the inventory will be provided to sponsors as ‘make goods’ for behind-closed-doors games.

Analytics firm, Navigate, has discovered. Helmet sponsorships have the potential to be valued by as much as $2.5 million for the average team in fair market value. 14% of league revenue was lost during the pandemic for the NHL alongside operating income reducing by 68%. The demand for increased income is imperative to keep the NHL running at an elite level, could this initiative prove useful for other sports?

Meet your new Queen’s Club Championships sponsor; Cinch!

Match-day shot at Queens Club Championships: https://tenniseventguide.com/queens-club-championships

The Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) welcomes car selling platform, Cinch, as their new title sponsor for the Queen’s Club Championships. The four-year sponsorship agreement will commence in January 2021, and the ATP 500 event will become renamed to the Cinch Championships.

Fever-Tree previously held the position as title sponsor from 2018-2020, but the deficit from COVID19 stopped the tonic water brand to secure rights for the competition.

2019 saw Cinch enter the car selling market, and they’ve quickly proven to be significant competitors in the e-commerce space for car buying. Their involvement with the LTA will promote tennis to a broader audience and improve the tournament’s and British Tennis’ visibility.


That’s a wrap! Are we beginning to enter a new era of diversity at the upper-echelon on sport? Is Anthony Joshua’s financial commitment enough to keep the amateur game breathing? Will FIFA’s new channel prove a genuine competitor in an overly saturated market of streaming? Could the NHL’s method to drive sponsorship revenue be efficient for other sports? And, how beneficial will Cinch’s involvement with the LTA be for the profile of British tennis?

Published by Ash

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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