This article was originally published on May 15th, 2020.
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.
New sport league I am learning about -
A new professional softball league, called Athletes Unlimited, will debut in the United States in August, aimed at reviving the commercial fortunes of the sport. The league is co-founded by Jon Patricof (@jpatricof), the former president of MLS club NYCFC, and Jonathan Soros (@imjonasaurus), the CEO of investment firm JS Capital Management, LLC.
The inaugural six-week season will be held exclusively at Parkway Bank Sports Complex in Rosemont, Illinois. Each of the four Athletes Unlimited teams will play three games per week.
In an innovative new scoring system, players will earn points based on team victories and individual performances, giving them the chance to win financial bonuses based on the end-of-season standings. Every week will start with a new draft; the top four players on the leaderboard are selected as team captains and will pick who will play on their team for the week.
“We really believe strongly that fans are increasingly following players over teams,” Patricof told ESPN. “So there is this opportunity to really take advantage of that aspect and how you rethink a pro league where the athletes themselves are put front and center and where you give fans the opportunity to engage and track athlete performance in a new way.”
Soccer news I am following -
French side Amiens have started legal proceedings for their "unjust" relegation after Ligue 1 season was ended early because of the coronavirus crisis. Amiens was 19th in the table, four points behind Nimes and 10 points ahead of Toulouse, with 10 games to play.
Club president Bernard Joannin said in a news conference "We find that this decision goes against sporting fairness. The decision is a punishment from the league. It is unjust.
"We have been forced into fighting, into going to court to try to overturn this unfair decision."
Furthermore, Christophe Bertrand lawyer for Amiens stated "We are not contesting the decision to stop the season. That is not really the object of these proceedings. It would be a bit inappropriate.
"However, what we are contesting are the consequences of the decisions that were taken."
Technology I am learning about -
Spanish La Liga side Real Sociedad are set to trial the use of near-field communications (NFC) technology on fan’s jerseys, ahead of the 2020/21 season. The technology includes a ‘smart tag’ that can be found on fan's jerseys, which can be scanned via the club’s mobile app, giving supporters the ability to redeem discounts for food and beverage purchases at the club's Reale Arena stadium.
The innovation is designed to open up new sponsorship opportunities by connecting fans with partner brands, via their user data stored on the club’s digital database.
Juan Iraola, Real Sociedad’s head of digital transformation and innovation, stated, "The digital asset is key and we have to innovate in the way we are connecting brands, fans, and club. The smart tag is an example.
“The objective is to add value to the official kit and to motivate fans to buy them and wear them during the match.”
Article I have been reading -
Why Men Started Wearing Female Athlete Jerseys, by Mark Dent (@mdent05). Dent delves into the interesting new phenomenon around merchandise for women's sports. Sabrina Ionescu is the latest female athlete to see her jersey being paraded by male and female sports fans, but is certainly not the first to be celebrated, as the article demonstrates.
Soccer league I am going to be paying attention to -
This week saw the return of soccer in the Faroe Islands, a rocky archipelago between Scotland and Iceland. Local government declared the islands entirely free of Covid-19.
“As a nation, we have achieved what few other countries have managed to do,” said the prime minister, Bardur a Steig Nielsen, in a statement. “As a society we should be grateful and proud of what we have accomplished. We will soon be able to get back to normal daily life as much as we can under these abnormal circumstances.”
The league started with a 2-0 win for B36 Torshavn over KI Klaksvik, in Klaksvik. The government allowed the league to restart, with the stipulation that no more than 50 people are allowed into the stadium, this includes the 22 players on the field.
Have a wonderful weekend, all!