5-POINT FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 25th, 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.
NASCAR news I am excited about -
NBA legend Michael Jordan is partnering with Nascar driver Denny Hamlin to field a car in the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series season, with Bubba Wallace (@BubbaWallace) named the single-car team’s driver. Hamlin will continue to drive the No. 11 for Joe Gibbs Racing.
“Growing up in North Carolina, my parents would take my brothers, sisters and me to races, and I’ve been a NASCAR fan my whole life,” Jordan said. “The opportunity to own my own racing team in partnership with my friend, Denny Hamlin, and to have Bubba Wallace driving for us, is very exciting for me.
“Historically, NASCAR has struggled with diversity and there have been few Black owners. The timing seemed perfect as NASCAR is evolving and embracing social change more and more. In addition to the recent commitment and donations I have made to combat systemic racism, I see this as a chance to educate a new audience and open more opportunities for Black people in racing.”
Nascar said in a statement: “We proudly welcome Michael Jordan into the Nascar family, and look forward to watching Michael, Denny Hamlin and Bubba Wallace compete in 2021. Michael is an iconic sports figure and celebrated champion whose fiercely competitive nature has placed him among the greatest athletes of all time. His presence at Nascar’s top level will further strengthen the competition, excitement and momentum growing around our sport. We wish Michael and his team tremendous success.”
Innovative thinking I am learning about -
The Collective, the women’s sport-focused division of international marketing agency Wasserman, has announced the launch of a think tank that will conduct research and share insights into issues surrounding gender parity and diversity.
The Collective Think Tank, which the company calls a ‘first-of-its-kind initiative’, will bring together researchers at academic institutions and sports organizations, including properties, brands, and media companies, to gather and disseminate insights and information ‘to promote more opportunity for women to succeed in sports’.
Coming just over a year after the formation of The Collective, a division dedicated to boosting the visibility of women in sport and entertainment, the new think tank will focus on creating ‘solution-based strategies for industry-changing activations, campaigns and platforms’, according to a company statement.
Part of its work will be to publish white papers and thought leadership content across various topics in a bid to raise awareness of issues among fans, consumers, and participants.
“Women in sports – as participants, fans and consumers – currently face inequities ranging from a lack of exposure, to limited access and pay, and everything in between,” said executive vice president of Wasserman Global Insights and Strategies, Shelley Pisarra.
“Our goal with the Think Tank is to uncover the underlying basis for these inequities and address them head-on to set women on a clearer path to parity. We want to look at all angles of the industry and, by tapping into an incredible group of academic experts, we feel confident we can make a tangible, positive change.”
Formula E news that is a world first -
The all-electric racing series has achieved a certified net-zero carbon footprint, becoming the first sport to do so.
The milestone dates back to the series’ first season in 2014, based on a framework set out by the United Nations, which has seen Formula E implement a variety of measures to reduce its emissions. These have included enhanced recycling of its car battery cells, cutting out single-use plastics at race venues, and the serving of 100% locally sourced and seasonal food at events.
Optimizing transport and logistics during the season has also played a major role in reducing carbon emissions. Transport alone accounts for up to 75% of emissions by Formula E, which is still looking to cut that output by 25% in time for the 2022/23 campaign by replacing air transport with shipping where possible.
The term ‘net-zero’ refers to achieving an overall balance between emissions produced and emissions taken out of the atmosphere of the earth, meaning Formula E is not having a negative effect on the overall environment of the planet.
Formula E’s achievement comes as it prepares to start its new season having secured world championship status from the FIA, motorsport’s global governing and sanctioning body.
UK sports news that I am following -
Plans to allow the phased return of spectators into sporting venues in the UK next month will be put on hold because of the recent rise in coronavirus cases, Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove has announced.
A number of pilot test events, in which capacities have been capped at 1,000 irrespective of the size of grounds, have already taken place, but Gove confirmed that the next phase has been paused.
Gove told the BBC “It was the case that we were looking at a staged program of more people returning.
“It wasn’t going to be the case that we were going to have stadiums thronged with fans, we’re looking at how we can, for the moment, pause that program.
“But what we do want to do is to make sure is that as and when circumstances allow get more people back.“We have to look at sporting events with caution.”
Gove added, “We also recognize that sport’s a vital part of the life of the nation and we’re looking at everything we can do to support our athletes and our great clubs at what is a challenging time.
“We have been piloting some open-air venues and we do want people to be watching sport.
“It is the case that we need to be cautious at the moment. A mass reopening would not be appropriate at the moment. We do need to proceed with caution.”
Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced new restrictions to combat coronavirus, which could last for up to six months. However, Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said not all restrictions would necessarily be in place in Scotland for that length of time.
There are now concerns over the lower league soccer season, which is due to start mid-October. With the view of having fans in the stadium, which would bring the revenue needed for clubs to function.
New league I am keeping my eye on -
Fan Controlled Football will stream its inaugural six-week season exclusively on Twitch starting in February 2021. The partnership will allow fans to submit play calls through a new Twitch extension accessed on-screen while watching games from a desktop or mobile device.
The startup football league lets fans vote for plays in real-time that coaches then call on the field during games. Player rosters will also be determined through a weekly draft by fans. In the preseason, fans will also vote for team-branding decisions such as name, logo and jersey design.
"We are pushing boundaries and pioneering a new category of immersive sports that will be a seismic shift in the worlds of sport and entertainment," said Sohrob Farudi (@sohrobf), Co-founder and CEO of Fan Controlled Football. "Fan Controlled Football is IRL meets URL. For the first time in sports history, fans get to call the shots for their team, everything from team branding, player selection, and real-time play calling is decided by the fans. This is the future of sports and we're excited to co-create history with the fans."
Each fan must first register on FCF’s website and select which of the league’s four teams they want to help make decisions for. All games will be played at the FCF’s facility in Atlanta.
Have a wonderful weekend, all!