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Premier League renews US TV deal with NBC for US$2.7bn (SportsPro Insider) The agreement with NBC covers all 380 Premier League matches in a season and runs to 2028. English soccer’s top-flight has seen strong broadcast ratings in the US, even as others suffered during the pandemic. This season, NBC’s broadcasts are averaging 609,000 viewers, the highest mark to this point since the 2015/16 campaign and up 14 per cent from last year.

2022 World Cup one year to go: Moral dilemmas, divided opinion and questions for Qatar (SportsPro Insider) The 85-year-old, along with Michel Platini, once the president of European soccer body Uefa, is due in court over an alleged illegal CHF2 million (US$2.2 million) payment. The formal charge arrived after a six-year investigation, and with it comes a repeat examination of Blatter’s 17-year tenure at the helm of Fifa, including accusations of bribery and corruption in the selection of Qatar to host next year’s World Cup.

Major League Baseball to Increase Housing Options for Minor League Players (SportsTravel)

Stepping up improvements for minor leaguers after widespread criticism, Major League Baseball’s new housing policy will require teams to provide furnished accommodations, with no more than two players per bedroom and housing “located at a reasonable, commutable distance from the ballpark,” with teams being responsible for basic utility bills, the league announced on Thursday.

The Latest in Sports and COVID-19: NFL Steps Up Health Protocols As Potential Thanksgiving Surge Looms (SportsTravel) The coronavirus outbreak has forced difficult decisions for the sports-event industry. As events come back online and as destinations, venues and event organizers determine capacity limits for fans along with health and safety protocols for their events, here is a look at where things stand.

NFL Analytics Guru Paul Ballew Says the League Has a ‘Football Quality Index’; High-Scores, Good Officiating, No Injuries, Happy Fans = a 10 (SportTechie) Paul Ballew joined the NFL four months ago as its chief data and analytics officer. He oversees data-driven strategies across all areas of the league, from bolstering personalized fan engagement to supporting rule changes on the field.

China’s Foreign Ministry says it's not aware of controversy surrounding Peng Shuai (USA TODAY)

BEIJING – China’s Foreign Ministry on Friday stuck to its line that it wasn’t aware of the controversy surrounding tennis professional Peng Shuai, who disappeared after accusing a former top official of sexually assaulting her.

Angels star Shohei Ohtani is unanimous American League MVP, becoming first two-way player to win (USA TODAY) Shohei Ohtani put it all together in 2021 and the Los Angeles Angels' two-way superstar earned himself the American League Most Valuable Player award Thursday, receiving all 30 first-place votes for his historic campaign.

DraftKings, Boston Bruins Agree To Multi-Year Daily Fantasy Sports Deal (Sports Handle) “The Boston Bruins are excited to announce this new partnership with DraftKings, a Boston-based company that has established itself as the premier hub for daily fantasy sports,” said Bruins President Cam Neely in the release. “We are looking forward to collaborating with DraftKings to continue to provide the best possible sports and entertainment experience for our fans at TD Garden.”

Denmark announce plans to highlight human rights issues at Qatar 2022 World Cup (SportsPro Insider) The Danish Football Association (DBU) has announced that it will be using the national team’s platform at the 2022 Fifa World Cup in Qatar to highlight human rights issues in the country.

World Rugby partners with Land Rover ahead of 2023 World Cup (SportsPro Insider) World Rugby has revealed a new global partnership with British car manufacturer Land Rover ahead of the 2023 Rugby World Cup in France.

Expansion of NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament to 68 Teams Approved (SportsTravel) The approval follows a recommendation from the much-discussed external gender equity review of NCAA championships that examined historical inequities in college basketball after the publicized issues that arose during the 2021 Division I Men’s and Women’s Basketball Championships. Both the Division I Women’s Basketball Committee and the Division I Women’s Basketball Oversight Committee supported the expansion, which brings participation opportunities for the women’s tournament in line with the men’s event.

NFL Fans to Receive Commemorative NFT Tickets for Attending Games (SportTechie) Fans who buy tickets to select NFL games for the remainder of the 2021 season will receive commemorative NFTs to serve as digital keepsakes. The souvenir tokens yearn to resemble the sentimental value of paper ticket stubs—now an ancient relic due to mobile-ticket only stadiums.

Despite Hosting NCAA Final 4, Trinity College Athletes Label Their Own Facility ‘Unimpressive’ (Forbes SportsMoney)

In what reminds some of the complaints surrounding the Division I women’s basketball tournament last March, an NCAA tournament is, once again, caught up in another facility controversy. What should be a celebratory weekend filled with the promise of winning a Division III Field Hockey national championship has evolved into a frustrating situation for all involved at Trinity College in Connecticut.

Roger Federer Doubts Wimbledon Return In 2022, Hoping To Come Back Sometime Next Year (Forbes SportsMoney) “I will be able to resume running quietly in January and resume sessions on the court with complex support in March or April,” the 40-year-old 20-time Grand Slam champion said in an interview with the Swiss publication Le Matin. “I therefore estimate my return to competition in the summer of 2022. I would be extremely surprised if I could play Wimbledon.”

Texas Tech football radio announcers suspended by Big 12 for criticizing officials (USA TODAY) The Big 12 Conference on Wednesday issued a public reprimand of the Texas Tech football radio announcers, saying they violated the conference sportsmanship and ethical conduct policies during the Red Raiders' 41-38 victory last Saturday against Iowa State. 

Fenway Sports Group is set to pick up the Pittsburgh Penguins (Cynopsis Sports) Fenway Sports Group is reportedly about to buy controlling stake in the Pittsburgh Penguins, pending approval from FSG board members and the NHL according to multiple reports yesterday. FSG, led by billionaire John Henry, will assume ownership from Mario Lemieux and Ron Burkle, although Lemieux could reportedly retain a small portion of his equity. If the deal is approved, the Penguins would join sports brands that include the Boston Red Sox, Fenway Park, Liverpool FC and Roush Fenway Racing in FSG’s portfolio.

Premier League Chair Out After Newcastle Drama (Front Office Sports) Premier League chair Gary Hoffman will resign in January following criticism from a majority of the league’s clubs due to his handling of the Newcastle United takeover.

Rays Pitch New Stadiums in Tampa Bay, Montreal (Front Office Sports) Last week, team president Brian Auld presented a proposal to local officials and community members in which the team and city would split the cost of a $700 million stadium.

Man U Matchday Revenue Soars 1,005.9% to $25.3 Million (Front Office Sports)

Manchester United recorded a $20.9 million first-quarter loss Wednesday — cutting year-over-year losses by nearly half — and posted $170.4 million in total revenue in its first earnings report since bringing back Cristiano Ronaldo.

Fenway Sports Reportedly In Talks to Buy Pittsburgh Penguins (Front Office Sports) Former Penguins star Mario Lemieux and investor Ron Burkle purchased the team out of bankruptcy in 1999 for $107 million, and Forbes valued the franchise at $650 million last December.

Fears grow for China's missing tennis star (AXIOS Sports)

Naomi Osaka and Novak Djokovic are the latest top athletes to voice concerns about the safety of Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai, who has not been heard from in days after accusing China's former vice premier of sexual assault.

NASCAR giant corners Nashville's racing market (AXIOS Sports)

Speedway Motorsports Inc.'s acquisition of the Nashville Superspeedway in Wilson County gives the company momentum heading into the final stretch of its negotiations with Nashville Mayor John Cooper over renovating the fairgrounds racetrack.

Marshall Islands: The last soccer-less nation (AXIOS Sports) The big picture: The Marshall Islands — perhaps best known as a post-war nuclear testing site — is the lone country among the 195 recognized by the UN that has never played an international soccer match.

NBA and Sportradar sign ‘US$1bn’ betting data and streaming deal (SportsPro Insider)

The National Basketball Association (NBA) has announced an expansive multi-year partnership with Sportradar for the distribution of data and live game video to betting operators in the US, as well as internationally. 

Twitter reports rise in NFL and NCAA interactions as it seeks to monetise sports audiences (SportsPro Insider) Twitter says conversations about National Football League (NFL) and National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) football games are increasing year-on-year, suggesting that its approach to monetising sports activity on its platform is working.

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