5-POINT FRIDAY, DECEMBER 13th, 2019
Updated: May 31, 2020
This article was originally published on December 13th, 2019.
Here is this week's dose of “5-Point Friday”. A weekly round-up of the sports news and stories that I find most interesting and enjoyable.
Basketball news I am excited by -
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver announced that the Mexico City-based Capitanes will leave the Liga Nacional de Baloncesto Profesional, Mexico's top basketball division, and join the NBA G League, in 2020. The Capitanes will become the 29th team in the G League and become the first franchise from outside the United States and Canada to join any of the top three leagues.
Silver, however, was adamant in saying that the NBA "is not in expansion mode," the commissioner said he hoped Mexico City would be on the shortlist for the league if and when the NBA ever decides to go beyond its current 30-team format.
Soccer news I am paying attention to -
UEFA announced that the Women's Champions League will adopt a new format from the 2021/22 season, featuring a group stage and centralized marketing.
The current tournament features a 32-team knockout tournament. However, the changes will see the round of 16 now being replaced by a group stage that will see four groups of four teams play each other home and away. The top two teams in each group will then progress to the quarter-final round. In addition, the tournament will be centrally marketed by UEFA, with the federation currently only responsible for marketing the final. In recent years, the home sides have been responsible for all other matches. With the new format, the media rights will be centralized from the group stage onwards, with UEFA in charge of producing each match for television or online streaming.
Baseball story I'm following -
After the St. Petersburg mayor spoke out against the Rays' plans to have a split season with Montreal last week, Rays' principal owner Stuart Sternberg responded. Sternberg said that "splitting future seasons in Montreal remains the most likely" way to keep the team in the Tampa Bay area.
If the sharing plan can’t be worked out, Sternberg said he would either then start looking for a new home elsewhere or, more likely, sell the team to someone who would move it. But staying full time in the Tampa Bay area, in Pinellas or Hillsborough, remains the least likely solution given their failed previous attempts.
"I’m open to any conversation,” Sternberg said. “They’d have to show me why it would work. We did work previously, we spent years on it. Some of the really solid business leaders, earnestly, and in a caring fashion, tried to make it work. But if there’s a genie in a bottle somewhere that wants to show me why it would work — I just can’t envision it. You never say never, but I can’t envision it. It’s less than highly unlikely.”
Athlete I'm listening too -
Megan Rapinoe (@mPinoe) capped her spectacular year with winning the Ballon d'Or. Rapinoe took a moment in the spotlight and made it about more than soccer, calling on other stars of the sport to stand against racism and sexism.
"I want to shout: 'Cristiano [Ronaldo], Lionel [Messi], Zlatan [Ibrahimovic], help me!'" she said.
"These big stars do not engage in anything when there are so many problems in men's football."
"Do they fear losing everything?" she added. "They believe that, but it is not true. Who will scratch Messi or Ronaldo from world football history for a statement against racism or sexism?"
NWSL news I am keeping an eye on -
The NWSL’s plans to operate independently of the U.S. Soccer Federation in 2020 is in the balance after the national governing body, which currently manages the NWSL, reportedly refused a $47m funding proposal by team owners.
Instead, U.S. Soccer offered a counterproposal that the two sides had not discussed beforehand: U.S. Soccer would extend its agreement to run the league for another year while the two sides worked toward a concrete resolution by 2021.
Have a wonderful weekend, all!