Rolling sports business news wrap: Every deal, every day

Top story: NBA Africa Game heads to Pretoria.

Rolling sports business news wrap: Every deal, every day

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Top story

The National Basketball Association (NBA) has announced this year’s edition of its Africa Game will take place in the South African city of Pretoria, having initially been planned for Johannesburg.

The preeminent North American basketball league’s outreach game will take place on 4th August at Pretoria’s Sun Arena and will once again feature a Team Africa vs Team World format.


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Johannesburg hosted the NBA Africa Game in 2015 and 2017. In February, the league’s vice-president and managing director for Africa, Amadou Gallo Fall, said the city had been pencilled in to host this year’s event. The league has now formally announced that nearby Pretoria will host the fixture instead.

The game will follow the 16th edition of Basketball without Borders Africa, the NBA and International Basketball Federation’s (Fiba) global elite basketball development programme.

The NBA became the first major US professional sports league to host games on the African continent when the inaugural Africa Game was held in August 2015 at Ellis Park Arena in Johannesburg. The city also hosted the second game last year at the Ticketpro Dome.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver said: “We are deeply honoured to be a part of the centennial celebration of President Mandela’s birthday. Our third NBA Africa Game and 16th Basketball Without Borders Africa camp will embody one of the most enduring parts of his legacy, which is the belief that sports have the power to inspire and change the world.”


Spanish top-flight soccer club Celta de Vigo has extended their sponsorship deal the Hijos de Rivera brewery. The deal sees brands Estrella de Galicia and Cabreiroá remain as sponsors of the La Liga club for three more seasons, with the former retaining its place on the front the team's shirt.

Mexican Liga MX soccer side Santos Laguna has entered into a partnership with Mexican sportswear manufacturer Charly, starting with the 2018 Torneo de Apertura.

The Austrian Football Association (ÖFB) has opted to renew its partnership with Burgenland Tourismus, the tourism body for the Austrian state of Burgenland, for a further two years.

Japanese design and construction firm Nomura has been unveiled as the latest official supporter of the Tokyo 2020 summer Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The University of Nevada's athletics department has entered into a new, seven-year partnership with German sportswear company Adidas, beginning with the 2018/19 academic year.

Biman Bangladesh Airlines has become the title sponsor of the Bangladesh vs Afghanistan Twenty20 cricket series taking place in Dehradun, India.

Asian online gambling company has agreed a deal to become title sponsor of the European Masters snooker event.

English top-flight rugby union team Saracens have extended their sponsorship contract with Alan Day Volkswagen for another two-years. The deal sees the Aviva Premiership champions kitted out with a new fleet of vehicles by the North London dealership.

Media Rights

Australian telecommunications company Telstra has further expanded its partnership with the Australian Football League (AFL), the top division of Australian rules football, by agreeing what it claims is a “landmark deal” with the players’ union. The AFL Players’ Association has signed an agreement to cross-promote the national competition and Telstra’s services in a venture that aims to enhance fans’ access to AFL content.

European Athletics has appointed Sunset+Vine as host broadcaster for the 2019 Indoor Championships, set to take at the Emirates Arena, Glasgow from 1st to 3rd March, 2019.

Greek pay-television broadcaster Cosmote has extended its rights deal to European football’s governing body Uefa. Cosmote has secured rights to all Uefa European Qualifiers for Euro 2020 and the 2022 Fifa World Cup, including matches featuring the Greek national team.

ESPN will launch its first gambling-related programme on the ESPN+ over-the-top (OTT) platform called “I’ll Take That Bet,” produced by The Action Network in conjunction with ESPN. 


United Soccer League club Louisville City FC has been given the green light by the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority (KEDFA) to use tax-increment financing (TIF) to subsidise building a new soccer stadium. The state government voted to give the soccer club and Louisville Metro Government US$21.7 million to create a 20-year TIF district for the US$193.1 million project.


Global sports marketing firm Fenway Sports Management (FSM) has announced that it has established a partnership agreement with All American Games (AAG), granting the firm exclusive sponsorship sales rights to AAG’s portfolio of properties.

MP & Silva has announced its appointment as the media distribution and commercial partner of Way of the Dragon (WOTD) Sports Company, which is official partner of Chinese Taipei Mixed Martial Arts Association (CTMMAA).

Van Wagner Sports & Entertainment (VWSE) has announced a media and sponsorship sales representation agreement with the upcoming FEI World Equestrian Games Tryon 2018 (WEG).

Bidding & Hosting

The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) has announced they will submit an Expression of Interest (EoI) to host four major events: the 2032 Olympic Games, the 2021 International Olympic Committee Congress, 2026 Youth Olympic Games and the 2030 Asian Games.

The Canadian Premier League granted Vancouver Island conditional entry into the domestic men's soccer league, which is set to kick-off in Spring 2019. 

Politics & Governance

The Sri Lankan government has temporarily taken control of Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) amid ongoing uncertainty over the future of the national governing body’s president, Thilanga Sumathipala. SLC had been due stage an election last week after Sumathipala’s term as president ended last week. However, SLC was forced to delay the process after the Court of Appeal issued a stay order following an intervention from Sumathipala’s challenger Nishantha Ranatunga. 

Failed publicity stunt of the day

MasterCard has faced a backlash on social media over its campaign to donate 10,000 meals to starving children every time soccer players Lionel Messi and Neymar score. 

The credit card company announced it would donate the equivalent value of the meals to the World Food Programme (WFP) for children in Latin America and the Caribbean each time the soccer stars net a goal between now and March 2020. 

The campaign has been hit with a fierce backlash on Twitter and other social media platforms by some high-profile figures in the British media. The Times chief soccer writer Henry Winter likened the stunt to fictitious Hunger Games and former Arsenal and England striker Ian Wright described the MasterCard offer as the 'worst marketing I've ever seen'.

Our industry digest will update throughout the day as deals break so check back to make sure you do not miss a story