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Why we should be extra careful with what we say online

Social media, for the most part has been a groundbreaking invention that has allowed people across the world to interact from the comfort of their own homes.

We are able to communicate with friends, family and anyone else through platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter and before their declines, myspace and Messenger.

But in the eyes of some, the use of social media has allowed those to express feelings and thoughts in a negative manner. And in the world of sport, there’s usually someone or something on the receiving end of this ‘abuse’.

Quite frankly, it’s downright disgusting.

To hide behind a keyboard and post things you wouldn’t say to or someone if they were standing right in front of you is a true act of cowardice. And deservedly, it’s universally condemned.

But it’s easy to take this perspective when you’re fortunate enough to not be the subject of online abuse and vitriol.

For those who play sport at a professional level and for clubs with significant fan bases, it can be quite scary to read things that people around the world say about you.

With the stakes they play for being so high, any level of failure is met with a knee-jerk reaction by those online. And with such easy access to the aforementioned platforms, it’s hard for professional athletes to see the bright side.

Some athletes do see the bright side, knowing that what’s said online rarely translates to what’s said in real life. A great example of this is through the popular TV segment, Mean Tweets.

Hosted by late night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel, high profile people are made to read derogatory tweets directed at them, with most of them expressing laughter at the stupidity of what’s said.

Here’s a couple of examples of the segment.

But then there’s the other side of the equation, those who do get affected by what people say.

Often, these comments left online can be quite upsetting and sometimes, those on the receiving end don’t take it well. And despite there being those who can cop the abuse, some have different perspectives.

These comments, whether they’re made online or from the stands, are dragging the game of soccer down and it’s a real shame.

Back in 2017, Liverpool defender Dejan Lovren played a poor game against Tottenham Hotspur in a 4-1 loss. Following the game, Lovren’s family members were threatened purely based on his performance.

You could be the most soulless person on this planet and still find that kind of comment disgraceful.

Briefly on Tottenham, left-back Danny Rose was diagnosed with depression in 2018. He seems to have put it behind him after becoming a first team regular for Tottenham this season.

Granted, Rose has admitted that injuries played a part in his depression during a BBC video that went online this year (can be found below in full), but it goes to show something.

We may see them as these worldwide superstars who can do anything. But in reality, they’re just like us.

Human.

Some may think that these comments don’t have any affect, but they do.

Mental health is one of the biggest problems surrounding soccer players and athletes around the globe because people think that they can say anything and get away with it.

They say these things for numerous reasons. Their performances on the field, as we know. It can be down to their appearance and personality (see above video for Peter Crouch). But there’s one other factor.

The fact that most of these players are millionaires.

Footballers get paid lots of money and there is a select group that think because of this, they should never be sad in their lives. Purely because they’re a bit wealthier than most folk.

To rebut these opinions, there is only one thing that needs to be said.

Money can’t buy happiness.

So before you send that tweet, Facebook post or whatever it is, put yourselves in their shoes.

How would you feel seeing someone say that about you? Because in life, you should only treat people the way you want to be treated.

And it’s time that we stamp the abuse out, whether it’s racism, sexism or general oppression. Because whatever it is, it has no place in sport or in life. Anywhere.

 

 

La Liga opens new office in London

Spanish top flight competition La Liga has announced the opening of a new office in the United Kingdom as part of its ongoing plans to grow on their international following.

The office, situated in London’s King’s Cross district, will act as a regional hub for forging and maintaining relationships with stakeholders in the local market and will work to promote clubs across the top two tiers of Spanish soccer.

It will be spearheaded by Keegan Pierce and Javier del Rio, who already serve as ambassadors for La Liga in the UK and Ireland as part of the La Liga Global Network, which is composed of 46 ‘delegates’ based in 43 countries around the world.

“The UK is one of the most important strategic markets for both La Liga and its clubs,” said League President Javier Tebas (pictured).

“From a business perspective, London is home to the world’s leading media outlets, broadcasters and sponsors.

“We look forward to building on the already strong reputation that Spanish football has in the country where the game was born.”

The new UK operation becomes La Liga’s 11th international office, joining existing locations in the United States, Mexico, Belgium, Nigeria, South Africa, the UAE, India, Singapore and China, where it operates two hubs.

The new office opening comes after the recent launch of LaLigaTV in the UK and Ireland. The linear TV channel, managed in partnership with local broadcast partner Premier Sports, went live on Sky and Virgin Media platforms last month. The package is priced at UK£5.99 (AU$11.53) per month in the UK and at €5.99 per month in Ireland.

Premier League looking to introduce its own OTT service

Premier League Chief Executive Richard Masters has confirmed that English soccer’s top flight is developing plans to launch its own over-the-top (OTT) streaming service in the future.

While he didn’t reveal all the finer details, Masters did confirm to UK media that streaming matches directly to the consumer could be an option as early as 2022, when the next rights cycle kicks in.

The launch of an OTT service would not eliminate the Premier League’s method of selling media rights to traditional broadcasters and third-party streaming services, with Masters suggesting instead that the competition will adopt a more mixed approach in the future.

Masters’ comments come a year after it was reported that the Premier League considered trialling an OTT service in Singapore, before opting to sign a three-year extension of its deal with telecommunications company Singtel.

“During the last [rights bidding] process [for the 2019-2022 seasons], we invested a lot of time and resources in building our expertise and capacity in direct-to-consumer,” Masters told reporters.

“We considered whether strategically it would be the right time to test a few markets then and decided not to.

“We were ready last time and we will be ready next time, should the opportunity arise. I’m not saying it will happen in the next cycle, or when it will happen, but eventually the Premier League will move to a mix of direct-to-consumer and media rights sales.

“There is risk associated with it. Sports competitions like the Premier League have been successful in seeking partnerships with established broadcasters and having to secure funding as its model. Secured licensed revenue and direct-to-consumer revenue are entirely different strategies – the transition from one to the other, if and when it ever happens, would be a big moment.”

The Premier League suffered a slight drop in the value of its domestic rights during the last sales process, but an uptick overseas saw the competition bring in a total UK£9.2 billion (AU$17.7 billion) for the three-year cycle from 2019 to 2022, representing an increase of eight per cent.

They have already started selling rights for the 2022 to 2025 cycle. Swedish media giant Nordic Entertainment Group (NENT Group) was the first to announce a deal last week, signing a landmark six-year contract covering Norway, Denmark, Sweden and Finland which was reported by UK media to be worth a whopping UK£2 billion (AU$3.8 billion).

“We have every reason to be optimistic about the future of sports rights,” Masters said.

“I don’t think the bubble has burst because our business is effectively hedged between domestic performance and international.

“The domestic rights did go down by a small margin last time round, but off the back of two big leaps. International revenue has continued to grow and I have no reason to believe it won’t continue to do so.”

However, according to analysis by the Daily Mail, the Premier League could stand to significantly increase its revenue by switching from traditional media rights sales to a global OTT service.

Based on the estimation that the Premier League has 200 million fans worldwide currently paying to watch the competition, the UK newspaper calculated that a UK£10 monthly subscription would theoretically see the league rake in UK£24 billion (AU$46.3 billion) each year.

The Premier League would not be the first major European soccer rights holder to launch its own OTT service. UEFA, the continental governing body, launched its free Uefa.tv service last year, while Spain’s La Liga runs LaLigaSportsTV, which aims to boost the visibility and exposure of all Spanish sport, while it also streamed a number of major pre-season soccer games last summer.

Next season Germany’s Bundesliga is launching an OTT platform for live matches in key markets where it does not receive an adequate rights bid.

Premier League chief executive Richard Masters ‘not sniffy about gambling’

English Premier League’s new chief executive, Richard Masters, has expressed the gambling industry needs tighter regulation as the debate over how betting is used in soccer continues.

Masters, who was confirmed as the permanent head of the English top-flight in December following an interim basis, told Sky News that the league was not considering outlawing betting entirely, but greater safeguarding measures are being considered.

British government ministers have committed to reviewing the 2005 Gambling Act looking to add greater restrictions around betting companies’ involvement in sports, with The Times reporting that a blanket ban was also a possibility.

“We’re not sniffy about the gambling industry,” said Masters.

“The Premier League has never had a betting relationship, but it’s our clubs that enter into shirt sponsorship.

“The whole area does need, I think, probably, slightly firmer regulation, particularly around the most vulnerable. But I don’t necessarily think that the answer should be that clubs should no longer have betting partnerships.”

Masters statements come as bookmakers consider a voluntary ban on soccer shirt sponsorship and pitch side advertising.

Brigid Simmonds, Chair of the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC), which represents 90 per cent of the betting and gaming industry, told the House of Lords’ Gambling Industry Committee that it was “absolutely open” to reducing advertising around sport.

“We are certainly looking at the whole issue of sponsorship,” she said.

“We can consider this going forward, we are active in considering it.

The gambling industry does seem aware of its need to self-regulate. The BGC says that the whistle-to-whistle ban has reduced gambling advertising on television by 85 per cent, whilst GVC, the parent company of Ladbrokes and Coral, has already withdrawn its sponsorship in soccer.

For the 2019/20 season, half of the 20 teams in the Premier League have gambling firms as their main shirt sponsor, earning them a combined UK£69.6 million (AU$133.7 million). Even teams without betting brands as a lead partner have smaller partnerships in the industry.

Gambling’s influence is also felt in lower leagues. In the second-tier Championship, 15 of the 24 teams have betting companies as their shirt sponsor, while the English Football League (EFL), which oversees the three divisions below the Premier League, is sponsored by Sky Bet. The organisation has described income from gambling firms as a ‘significant’ part of its financial model.

In addition, the Football Association (FA), English soccer’s governing body, was heavily criticised for selling online streaming rights to FA Cup games to betting companies, via a third party. The FA has said it will assess those relationships during the next rights cycle.

© 2019 Soccerscene Industry News. All Rights reserved.

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