Come over to Aarhus
With sports venues being indefinitely closed to fans in most areas, teams everywhere have been trying to figure out how best to approach the feel of real crowds. Drive-ins, mannequins and banners are some of the ideas that have been widespread so far, but the Danish soccer team AGF Aarhus asked: “What if we just do it the way everyone is doing everything: via Zoom?”
The teleconferencing brand supports the Superliga team in their efforts to build the world’s first virtual grandstand in Ceres Park, which will be back to playing behind closed doors from May 28th. Fans can gather in home, away and neutral meeting rooms after receiving tickets for a video link with a view of the game. During the game against Randers FC, their faces will be shown alternately on television on a three-part video board on the edge of the field.
Up to 200 faces will appear on the board at a time, but the club hopes to include 10,000 fans and divide them into 556 separate meeting rooms. 50 “digital stewards” are supposed to give the fans two minutes of screen time each, but zoom bombers watch out, they are also instructed to keep an eye out for troublemakers.
“If you don’t comply with the rules,” says Carlsen, “you’ll be kicked out of the Zoom meeting.”
Everything in the game
Numerous leading sports stars have spent their quarantine hours playing video games, much to the delight of esports series operators who have booked them for guest appearances.
Among those athletes was Bryce Harper, the Philadelphia Phillies baseball star who has garnered nearly 20,000 followers on the streaming site Twitch since early May. The 27-year-old wants to make something of this newfound audience once the game in Major League Baseball resumes. He and agent Scott Boras have signed a contract with Loaded, an agency that takes care of the marketing interests of professional gaming favorites like Tyler ‘Ninja’ Blevins and Michael ‘Shroud’ Grzesiek.
Harper may publicly refer to gaming as a “fun competitive outlet,” but Brandon Freytag, Loaded co-founder and senior vice president of talent, told Esports Observer that he thinks the Slugger is a “smart guy” who takes his new audience seriously.
“In baseball, he’s probably captured a good chunk of the enthusiast, while in the gaming world, not many people know Bryce, especially if they don’t watch baseball,” said Freytag. “Our playbook should first set him up and get used to streaming and certainly work with Boras on endemic sponsorships in the tech world.”
Not every sports professional has recognized the importance of their new gaming activities as well as Harper. Audi fired its Formula E driver Daniel Abt after the German was disqualified for fraud in the latest leg of the Race at Home Challenge Esports series.
Abt, 27, was initially fined 10,000 euros after it was discovered that he had impersonated sim specialist Lorenz Hoerzing in the latest virtual edition of the postponed Berlin ePrix, before later confirming his departure from Audi, the Team he has raced for since 2014.
The incident is another example of the commercial impact digital violations are believed to have had. In a subsequent statement on his YouTube channel, Abt said he and Hoerzing planned the episode as a social video prank but took responsibility for his mistake.
Quit to re-enter?
The XFL could see another comeback in 2021, despite filing for bankruptcy in April, but it looks likely it’s under new management now. The Athletic reports that previous owner Vince McMahon pulled out of the tender after being accused by a committee of creditors of manipulating the process in his own favor by insisting on inappropriate clauses and a short window of sale.
The WWE founder had run the XFL – which was reissued this year in a well-received, less bombastic form than its original 2001 incarnation – through a company called Alpha Entertainment until the league season was cut short by the Covid-19 pandemic. However, investment bank Houlihan Lokey said in a filing with a Delaware bankruptcy court that it is in active discussions with dozens of potential buyers, several of whom are keen to restart in spring 2021. The XFL has retained important intellectual property, including new regulations, while The Athletic found last week that it had started talks with venues to renew leases.
Houlihan’s managing partner, William Hardie, said in a filing, “In fact, I understand that the debtor has developed a 12-week tournament approach to television for 2021 – since the XFL is particularly good for an audience.” Experience that could thrive in the current environment given existing innovations such as in-game audio from players and coaches and live on-screen sports betting information. ‘
In a separate file, McMahon complained that his efforts to keep the league’s payroll running and repay season ticket holders had been misunderstood as harassment and accused the committee of “knee-jerk obstructionism,” which was and is “ruthless and devastating “. .
He also included testimony from a hearing last week in which he said, “I don’t know why this is out there and makes me evil. [that] I’m basically going to buy the XFL back for pennies on the dollar. That helped me move in the direction that I won’t be a bidder, that I won’t have anything to do with it. I hope someone pays a lot of money for it, and I hope it survives. “
McMahon’s filing also stated that “a number of potentially interested private equity firms and other strategic and financial sponsors” were interested in buying. He has postponed the end of the sale process to August after previously insisting on July to split the difference with creditors aiming for a September deadline.
There is a large sponsorship item on the market, which means it must be time for an adult content and / or illegal product provider to engage through empty speculation.
This long tradition is joined by Stripchat, a distance communication service for naked people. Last week she confirmed an offer of up to $ 15 million for the soon-to-be-vacant naming rights to the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, home of the NFL’s New Orleans Saints.
“We’d like to call it ‘Stripchat Superdome’ and it’s supposed to be the home of future Super Bowl champions New Orleans Saints,” said Stripchat communications director Max Bennett, ironically reminiscent of really simple reporting.
A new spin
Physical sporting events may flow back, but there is still time to develop new genres of virtual events. Remote spinning and gymnastics course operator Peleton will create a one-hour special for ESPN on May 30th, featuring golfer Rory McIlroy, sprinter Allyson Felix and tennis star Victoria Azarenka among dozens of athletes from instructors Alex Toussaint and Robin. Arzon are put through their paces.
After Argentine football authorities suspended relegation and promotion to clean up all coronavirus-related calendar clashes, Argentine football authorities have regained control of the country’s top division. The Asociación del Fútbol Argentino (AFA) has confirmed that the Superliga Argentina, which has been independently run for three seasons, will be replaced by the centrally managed Liga Profesional de Fútbol (LPF).
The LPF will grow to 28 teams in its opening season by the time promotion and relegation resume, while the AFA hopes to better coordinate the interests of their home game and their national team.
Reality check of the week
“The Australians have flattened the Covid-19 curve exceptionally well and we are not far from easing further restrictions. Now is not the time for sports codes to consider having crowds playing games.
“You have to wait for the medical experts to say that this is completely safe – and that won’t be in July.”
Australian Medical Association President Tony Bartone is leaving the National Rugby League’s plan to re-admit a limited number of fans to the venues from July 1st, describing it as an “absurd and dangerous idea” which ” belongs in the sin box “.