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.
NFL news I am staying up to date with -
The Baltimore Ravens become the first team in the NFL to voluntarily reduce their maximum capacity. It means that fewer than 14,000 seats will be made available for games at M&T Bank Stadium this upcoming season, pending state and local government approval. The venue has a seating capacity of 71,000 and more than 62,000 season tickets had already been sold.
"To offer a proper level of safety for fans who want to attend games, a reduction in capacity is necessary," stated Ravens president Dick Cass. "We are disappointed that this will be a disruption for many ticket buyers, but we have an obligation to our fans and our community to keep M&T Bank Stadium as safe as possible."
The team said credits for funds paid toward the 2020 season to date will be applied to accounts and can be used toward renewal for next season or toward future ticket purchases, or a refund can be requested.
Current 2020 single-game ticket sales are being discontinued, and refunds will be issued to fans who have already made purchases.
"With over 62,000 season tickets already sold, there is no equitable way to accommodate in a limited stadium capacity all PSL Owners who are interested in maintaining season tickets for 2020," senior vice president of ticket sales and operations Baker Koppelman said in a statement. "Under these unusual circumstances, it's best to simplify the ticket sales process and allow fans to decide which games they want to attend, while giving our PSL Owners priority in accessing tickets."
College sports news I have been following -
The Ivy League became the first Division I conference to cancel its fall football season due to concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic. The Council of Ivy League Presidents voted Wednesday to cancel all fall sports. The conference will decide at a later date whether it will try to play those sports in the spring.
The Big Ten followed by announcing that it will go to a conference-only season for all fall sports, including football, amid "unprecedented times."
"We are facing uncertain and unprecedented times, and the health, safety and wellness of our student-athletes, coaches, game officials, and others associated with our sports programs and campuses remain our number one priority," the Big Ten said in a statement.
"... By limiting competition to other Big Ten institutions, the Conference will have the greatest flexibility to adjust its own operations throughout the season and make quick decisions in real-time based on the most current evolving medical advice and the fluid nature of the pandemic."
Soccer news I am interested in -
La Liga clubs could be set for a major sponsorship shakeup after Spain’s Ministry of Consumer Affairs put forward plans to heavily reduce marketing opportunities for the gambling industry across professional sport.
The proposal looks to prohibit the use of the ‘name brand or trade name of a betting operator to identify a sports facility or entertainment facility’. Furthermore, according to official documents seen by El Confidencial, ‘no sponsorship activities may be carried out that involve substituting or adding to the name of a team or sports competition or of any other entity outside the sector of gambling and betting, the name or commercial name of an operator’.
The crackdown will be a cause for concern for La Liga, considering that all its clubs, with the exception of Real Sociedad, Real Valladolid, and Villareal, have commercial ties with a gambling firm. Furthermore, Valencia, Seville, Levante, Osasuna, Granada, Leganés, Alavés, and Mallorca all have betting brands visible on their shirts.
Baseball league I am learning about -
As MiLB confirmed that there would not be a 2020 season last week, the Lansing Lugnuts launched their new project the Lemonade League.
“The great thing is that there really aren’t any rules, so we can pretty much do anything we want and experiment with things,” said Greg Kigar (@gkigar7) Director Of Stadium Events for the Lansing Lugnuts. “Our goal is to keep it loose. Keep it fun. Play some baseball, and give these college players a chance to play.”
The Lemonade League will not technically be a league but will see just two teams playing against each other for approximately 20 games. It will be a wood-bat league featuring college players who either live in Michigan or play for a program in the state.
The league will use yellow baseballs as a homage to the name of the league.
“Our owner (Tom Dickson) actually came up with the name of the league over the weekend,” Kigar said. “He came back with the Lemonade League because if they’re going to give us lemons, we’re going to make lemonade out of it.”
“We’re really hoping to get to Phase 5 so we can get 500 fans here,” Kigar said. “The field is ready. We’ve followed the 50 rule … no more than 50 people. We had youth tournaments here with no spectators. Once you have coaches and players, you have 50 people.
“Off the field, players will have to wear masks. Fans will have to wear masks. It’s a pretty big ballpark for 500 fans, so social distancing will not be a problem. We will have people spread out. We already have seating plans for 500 people. And we’ll fog the dugouts and bathrooms after the games.”
What I've been watching -
The story behind this iconic Olympics protest, from Vox. I found the story behind the iconic image of sprinters Tommie Smith and John Carlos raising their fists during a medal ceremony at the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City incredibly insightful. I hope to learn more about the “Olympic Project for Human Rights" and other inspirational stories around the events.
Have a wonderful weekend, all!