Here at Earnie we keep a keen eye on the sporting world, and with a summer as packed as this one it’s hard not to get caught up in it all. This week, we’ve provided a round-up of recent sports news, from Rio 2016 to the new England manager.
Countdown to Rio 2016: overshadowed?
With the countdown to Rio 2016 well underway, the media scrutiny remains around the Russian doping scandal. 37 Russian athletes have already been banned from the games, but the whistleblowers that first brought the allegations to light are certain that other Russian athletes who have doped will be competing in Rio. It remains to be seen how this scandal will impact the Olympics; however, a BBC survey already suggests that 57% (19,000 participants across 19 countries) of respondents feel that doping has at least some negative impact on their personal attention to the Games.
A somewhat more positive story regarding Rio 2016 caught our eye this week, as VISA has agreed a deal to sponsor the IOC refugee team. See the full story here – it’s an interesting example of how brands can foster goodwill among consumers.
Allardyce steps in
The big news this week was the confirmation of the new England manager, Sam Allardyce. Following the FA settling a compensation deal with Sunderland, Allardyce’s former club, the new boss was unveiled at a press conference on Monday. A divisive choice no doubt, with question marks surrounding his footballing philosophy, but Allardyce can point to decades of club experience (including the feat of never being relegated from the Premier League) and his qualities as a man manager as part of a number of reasons for his appointment. Big choices lie ahead for Allardyce, not least regarding the captaincy of Wayne Rooney, but he says he’s ready for his ‘biggest challenge‘ and we’ll have to wait and see whether ‘Big Sam’ can deliver where so many others have failed. What is certainly true is that sponsors will be hoping Allardyce brings some semblance of credibility to the team, considering that Vauxhall is reportedly paying £6m a year to be associated with continuing major tournament failure.
Old Trafford proves a happy hunting ground
In cricket, England bounced back emphatically from their Lords loss to dominate Pakistan at Old Trafford. As convincing as it gets, the return of James Anderson and continued career-best form of Chris Woakes saw England comfortably take 20 wickets to back up Joe Root’s masterful stroke play. A career high score of 254, followed by a rapid 71 in the second innings, showcased the very best of Root, surely the finest batsman in the world (although 1.252 billion Indian fans may disagree). It was an all-star performance from this increasingly exciting team and England will be looking to finish the series off with wins at Edgbaston and The Oval. NatWest will be hoping this form continues for years to come, after signing on for an extended deal with the ECB that includes full shirt sponsorship of the England teams.
The England Lions aren’t performing badly either, finishing off their Tri-series with Pakistan A and Sri Lanka A with four wins out of four. Explosive batting was the order of the day during their matches at Cheltenham, Northampton and Canterbury, with individual 150s from four separate players and a stunning unbeaten double-hundred from Ben Duckett. Duckett, Malan, Billings and Bell-Drummond aren’t just knocking at the proverbial door, they’re using a battering ram. GM cricket will certainly be happy that three of these record-breakers are utilising their bats to smash the ball to all parts!
Konta wins in Stanford
In tennis, Johanna Konta won her first tour title in Stanford, defeating Venus Williams in a tight three-set match. Konta moves up to 14th in the world following her win, and will be eager to continue her form in the run up to the US Open. Is there a British female Grand Slam winner in the wings? We can dream, as will sportswear brand Asics, who renewed their sponsorship of Konta this February and must be ecstatic to be reaping the rewards of putting their faith in the rising Brit.
Stenson overhauls Mickelson
At Royal Troon, another top quality major golf tournament ended in a win for Henrik Stenson after a fierce battle with the American veteran Phil Mickelson. The first major title for the Swede, who dedicated his win to a late friend, he pulled three shots ahead of Mickelson to lift the Claret Jug.
F1 Championship stays on a knife edge
And finally on the outskirts of Budapest, Lewis Hamilton won the Hungarian Grand Prix with ease to pull ahead in the Formula One Drivers’ Championship. With the podium completed by Hamilton’s teammate and rival, Rosberg and Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo, the Drivers’ Championship remains firmly in the balance for when they meet in Germany this weekend.
London best bits
With the Rio 2016 Games starting next Friday (5th August), here’s a look at a very small number of our favourite moments from London 2012.