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.
Tech partnership I am excited to see -
La Liga club Valencia is set to integrate augmented reality (AR) content into their mobile app as part of a new two-year partnership with Canadian technology firm ImagineAR.
Valencia president Anil Murthy said that the move would enable the club to maintain a “strong personal connection” with fans while spectators are banned from attending sports venues in Spain due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“The resulting immersive experiences will create fun, energy and excitement that can be shared with other fans on all social media platforms,” Murthy added.
ImagineAR chief executive Alen Paul Silverrstieen said, “Valencia CF is not only our first La Liga partner, they are also our first professional sports team partner outside of the US and opens the door to further global expansion at the highest level of sports. Our shareholders can take great pride in this achievement.”
Basketball news that I am keeping an eye on -
ULEB, a group of 11 major European basketball leagues, has asked EU antitrust enforcers to act against organizer Euroleague Commercial Assets (ECA) for allegedly blocking other basketball teams from taking part in Europe's elite club basketball competition EuroLeague.
ECA is owned by 11 major basketball clubs while its subsidiary Euroleague Basketball runs the top two continental men's club basketball competitions, EuroLeague and EuroCup.
"We believe that all of our clubs must be able to compete at the highest level and we want to keep the dream of international basketball alive for every club at every level," ULEB President Tomas Van Den Spiegel (@tomasvds) said in a statement on ULEB's website.
The alleged anti-competitive behavior includes EuroLeague granting 10-year licenses to the 11 shareholder clubs without any transparent award process and reducing the number of available slots in the competition to just 18 from 24, ULEB said.
ULEB is a minority shareholder in ECA and managed the EuroLeague until 2009 when the competition was transferred to ECA.
Soccer news I am interested by -
Rangers have agreed to a landmark Indian broadcast partnership with Disney-owned Star Sports after acquiring the regional rights to the SPFL for the 2020/21 season.
Alongside Rangers' live matches, Star Sports will broadcast more than 15 other SPFL Premiership fixtures as well as having ‘unique access’ and behind-the-scenes content. In addition to the Premiership coverage, the deal also includes exclusive rights to Rangers’ friendly with Bengaluru FC at Ibrox next summer.
James Bisgrove (@james2910), Rangers’ director of commercial and marketing, said, “The signing of the broadcast deal will give Rangers and the SPFL Premiership unprecedented visibility in India and with it a unique opportunity for both the club and Star Sports to develop commercially.”
Motorsport story I am paying attention to -
Honda announced that it will cease to participate as an engine provider for the Formula 1 racing series at the end of the 2021 season in order to increase its focus on electric vehicles.
Honda’s stated goal to become a carbon-neutral company drove the engine maker to shift its F1 development budget to consumer vehicle applications. “Honda will allocate its energy management and fuel technologies as well as knowledge amassed through F1 activities to this area of power unit and energy technologies” the statement said.
The Aston Martin Red Bull Racing team and its secondary F1 level team, Scuderia Alpha Tauri, are two of the main competitors affected by the announcement.
“Their decision presents obvious challenges for us as a team,” Christian Horner, Team Principal of Red Bull Racing said. “Whilst we are disappointed not to continue our partnership with Honda, we are enormously proud of our joint success.” Aston Martin Red Bull has been competitive with Honda power plants, and the team is in second place in the F1 standings after finishing third last year.
The move leaves F1 with three power unit suppliers: Mercedes, Ferrari and Renault. Under the current F1 rules, Renault, which supplies the fewest teams, would have to supply Aston Martin Red Bull with engines unless the team completes a deal with Mercedes or Ferrari.
What I've been watching -
IFC’s Brockmire created by Joel Church-Cooper (@churchcooper) and starring Hank Azaria (@HankAzaria). The comedy series follows a famed MLB announcer, Jim Brockmire, who suffers a career-ending on-air meltdown, and his attempts to reclaim his career by calling for a minor league team.
Have a wonderful weekend, all!