Connect with us


Can It Still Be ‘Euro 2020’ in 2021? Sponsors Hope So



European soccer’s governing body, UEFA, posted a message on its Twitter account on Friday evening with a seemingly innocuous update: Its European Championship — another sporting casualty of the coronavirus outbreak — would still be known as Euro 2020, even though it has been postponed until 2021.

Within minutes, however, the tweet was deleted and replaced by a message saying it had been sent in error.

The inadvertent message underscored how organizers are grappling with the myriad complexities of rescheduling a tournament that stands just behind the Summer Olympics soccer competition and FIFA’s World Cup as one of sport’s most-watched events. This year’s tournament was billed as the biggest Euros yet, and for the first time it was to be a Pan-European spectacular, with the games spread across the length and breadth of the continent, instead of in just one or two host countries, to celebrate its 60th anniversary.

But when UEFA announced last week that it was postponing the tournament, which was set to start on June 12, by a year, it raised an important question for sponsors and commercial partners: Would it still be called Euro 2020, even in 2021?

Even before a final decision to postpone the Euros had been announced, the organization was preparing for the possibility, including on the branding front. A week before the announcement, lawyers for UEFA had registered the trademark Euro 2021 with patent offices for the European Union, Britain and the United States.

But with the event so close, planning had been completed, tickets were close to being issued and, just as crucial, millions of items of merchandise with the Euro 2020 branding were ready to hit the shops. A Euro 2020 video game from Konami was just a month away from its release. Promotions by Heineken and Coca-Cola had been approved, and Adidas had started to produce its anniversary ball.

Coca-Cola, a longtime partner of UEFA, had started shipping its first Euro 2020-branded packages to some markets two weeks before the tournament was postponed, and a promotion with the maker of the tournament’s popular sticker books was underway in Switzerland.

While a final decision has not been made, several of UEFA’s commercial partners prefer the tournament to keep the Euro 2020 name, according to people familiar with the matter who requested anonymity to discuss private deliberations. Such a move would be similar to one announced by the International Olympic Committee this week when it announced that the Olympic Games postponed until next year would retain the name Tokyo 2020.

Some Euro 2020 merchandise is already on shelves, making it a collectible for this unexpected moment, in which a mystery virus has brought sports to a halt. The popular collector cards and sticker albums for the tournament, produced by the Italian company Panini, for instance, are on sale.

Tim Crow, a sports marketing consultant based in Britain whose past clients include Coca-Cola and BMW, said retaining the 2020 branding would be “infinitely preferable” than having to rename it for UEFA’s many partners.

“Anybody who has done it knows that registering any kind of trademark and licensing is a very expensive and time-consuming exercise,” Crow said. “To rip all that up and start again because you’ve postponed an event is one of the things you don’t necessarily have to do.”

A spokeswoman for Coca-Cola said: “We look forward to working with UEFA to create a successful event next year, and would appreciate the decision to continue the use of the Euro 2020 marks to minimize impact to materials that were already created.”

While some of UEFA’s sponsorship contracts run for many years and cover other events in its portfolio, some are specifically for the European Championship and were set to terminate this year. Those, according to the people familiar with the matter, are now likely to be extended for another year. UEFA’s contracts with broadcasters already have a provision for a case in which the tournament is postponed for up to 13 months.


Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


MLB players push back on leaving families behind for season in Arizona



Baseball’s proposed idea to bring all 30 teams to Arizona to play in empty spring training stadiums was greeted with skepticism from players, some of whom can’t imagine agreeing to be separated from their families for the duration of the season.

The idea, as outlined in multiple reports, would call for players and staff to be quarantined away from their families in hopes of keeping the league in a coronavirus-free bubble. Teams would go from hotels to buses to stadiums while undergoing regular testing in an attempt to prevent the disease from spreading.

“I definitely think this is just a first idea that’s being thrown around,” Diamondbacks catcher Stephen Vogt said.

“Obviously, I’m not a fan of the idea of being away from my family for four months. If anything, what I took away from this initial proposal is that it shows MLB’s dedication to just, hey, we’re trying to do whatever we can to get the longest season possible for the fans, the players and everyone who works in the industry of baseball.”

CORONAVIRUS & SPORTS: Get the latest news and information right in your inbox. Sign up here.

DON’T DO IT: MLB’s crazy Arizona plan could have terrible consequences

Sources said MLB and the players association are discussing a variety of possible solutions, with the league issuing a statement on Tuesday morning insisting it had not settled on a specific option or developed a detailed plan for the season.

One player wondered if he could see his contract voided if he refused to go along with the idea. Another said he wouldn’t be able to bring himself to leave his wife at home after they recently welcomed a new baby.

Not everyone was opposed.

“It has merit, just a lot more logistics to be worked out,” one player wrote in a text message. “But if that what it takes, then I’m in. I doubt it would be (away from families) for four months, but I can imagine for six weeks.”

In a report on Tuesday, The Athletic cited sources that said families “might be permitted” to stay with players, though that would further complicate the sport’s ability to keep its players insulated.

Diamondbacks left fielder David Peralta said he was going crazy without baseball and assumes most other players felt the same, but he also did not think this idea was the right one.

“We just have to wait a little bit and keep praying that the situation calms down, keep following the rules and hopefully the virus goes away and we can start playing games as soon as possible,” Peralta said. “That idea, you’re going to throw a bunch of ideas out there and see which one is going to click. Hopefully, it’s just an idea and we’ll see what’s going to happen.”

Said Vogt: “I think we all want to play and we want to play as many games as possible, but we also want to do what’s best for ourselves and our families. … We’re blessed that we have the ability to play this game for a living, but at what cost would we be wanting to do it?”

Reach Piecoro at (602) 444-8680 or Follow him on Twitter @nickpiecoro.


Continue Reading


They Played Sports at the Highest Level. Now Their Job Is to Save Lives.



The four-time Olympic gold medalist Hayley Wickenheiser of Canada was around 10 years old when she first had the idea of being both a professional hockey player and a doctor. Wickenheiser, now 41, grew up in Shaunavon, Saskatchewan, a town of fewer than 2,000 people and less than two square miles in size. A young girl in the area had been severely injured after getting hit by a grocery delivery van.

“I remember going to the hospital with all the kids in the neighborhood and just being really inspired and intrigued by the doctors and nurses that were taking care of her,” Wickenheiser said in a telephone interview.

“That’s how it all started. At that age, I had two goals: to play for the Edmonton Oilers and to go to Harvard Medical School.”

After retiring in 2017 as Team Canada’s career scoring leader, Wickenheiser enrolled in medical school at the University of Calgary, then took on the role as an assistant director of player development for the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2018. She was in the midst of her clinical rotation in emergency rooms around Toronto two weeks ago, when medical students and trainees were pulled from their assignments as the number of coronavirus cases in the country reached a critical point.

As of Tuesday afternoon, there have been more than 1.3 million coronavirus cases and 81,106 virus-related deaths recorded worldwide. More than 30 percent of those diagnosed cases are in the United States. Canada is home to more than 17,000 cases, or just over 1 percent.


Medical students aren’t allowed to directly treat patients who have contracted Covid-19, so Wickenheiser has been gathering personal protective equipment, or P.P.E., for front line workers and helping with contact tracing of diagnosed patients to track the spread of the virus.

“I remember when the first Covid patient came through the emergency room doors in the hospital I was at, one of the doctors I was with did not physically want to go into the room,” she said. “They didn’t feel protected or that they had enough P.P.E. and they didn’t really know what they were dealing with.”

One morning in early March, after a particularly unsettling shift, Wickenheiser, a member of the International Olympic Committee’s Athletes’ Commission, was stunned to read that the I.O.C. still was planning for the Summer Olympics to continue as scheduled in Tokyo starting in July.

“I kept on seeing this blatant, ‘We are going ahead no matter what,’ kind of attitude and I just thought, ‘How can you be speaking?’” she said. “It was making me crazy. Every day I was losing sleep listening to this dialogue.”

Wickenheiser voiced her concerns to Canadian and international Olympic leaders before publishing a statement to her social media accounts on March 17 imploring the I.O.C. to make a decision about postponing or canceling the Games.

“I think the I.O.C. insisting this will move ahead, with such conviction, is insensitive and irresponsible given the state of humanity,” she wrote. “We don’t know what’s happening in the next 24 hours, let alone in the next three months.”

Five days later, the Canadian Olympic Committee announced it would not send the country’s athletes to Tokyo in 2020 and called on the I.O.C. to postpone the games, a decision the I.O.C. made with the Japanese government on March 24.

Wickenheiser has since been in contact with the office of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada to help promote social distancing advisories to the public and has contributed to his #plankthecurve social media campaign.

She isn’t the only elite athlete now on the front lines in the fight against the spread of the coronavirus.


Continue Reading


U.F.C. 249, Skirting Coronavirus Limits, Is Set for Tribal Land in California



“The commission echoes the guidance of California Governor Gavin Newsom, the Department of Public Health, local health officials, and the recommendations of the Association of Ringside Physicians regarding the cancellation of events where people may be at risk of contracting Covid-19 and encourages the industry to do the same,” the California athletic commission said in a statement. “The commission will not participate in the U.F.C. event on April 18, regardless of the event location.”

U.F.C. 249 was originally scheduled to be held on April 18 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, and to be headlined by a lightweight championship bout between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson — one of the U.F.C.’s most anticipated matchups in years. But after Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York restricted mass gatherings and the New York State Athletic Commission announced it wouldn’t authorize the event, White said the U.F.C. would go forward at a different location.

On Monday, White said that Nurmagomedov, now at home in Dagestan, Russia, was out of the fight and would be replaced by Justin Gaethje in the interim lightweight title matchup. Nurmagomedov and Ferguson have been scheduled to fight each other five times since 2015, but each plan fell apart because of injury, illness and now the pandemic.

To book any fights involving athletes who cannot travel to the United States, White has said he secured an island but has not disclosed where.

Though the U.F.C. produces all of its own events, the April 18 pay-per-view event will be sold by ESPN+, ESPN’s streaming service, and the preliminary card will be scheduled for one of ESPN’s cable channels. An ESPN spokeswoman declined to comment on Tuesday.

Tribal casinos, including the Tachi Palace Casino Resort, regularly host mixed martial arts and boxing matches with the full support and participation of state athletic commissions. World Extreme Cagefighting, a mixed martial arts company founded in 2001, held most of its first two dozen events at the Tachi Palace Casino Resort. It was purchased in 2006 by Zuffa, then the parent entity of the U.F.C., and merged with the U.F.C. in 2010.

But tribal casinos also sometimes host mixed martial arts events that cannot be sanctioned elsewhere, a form of venue shopping that most state athletic commissions view unfavorably.


Continue Reading


We use cookies in order to give you the best possible experience on our website. By continuing to use this site, you agree to our use of cookies.