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The Big Deal Weekly: Port's costly concussion mistake, Buddy brand like no other, Matildas' massive audience, Ashes balls up, United's $1B deal & more
Newsletter no.44, 4 August 2023
There’s no podcast this week with both Tredders and Monty away, but with so much going on in the world of sports business Jack Hudson is still delivering the goods with this week’s newsletter (our normal process resumes next week).
Port Adelaide is counting the cost of mismanaging concussion protocols.
Our national teams have done us proud, retaining the Ashes and qualifying for the round of 16, but the English have thrown their tea out the cot.
Get into our sports business wrap and scroll the key points.
COSTLY COLLISION … IN MORE WAYS THAN ONE
When Lachie Jones and Aliir Aliir collided head-first in Saturday night’s Showdown, Port fans collectively held their breath, as did commentators.
All expected that neither player would be seen for the remainder of the game, and for Jones, that was correct, albeit ruled out with a ‘migraine’.
Aliir was seen moments later, and now, both have been entered into concussion protocols and will miss this weekend’s trek to Geelong.
The AFL issued Port Adelaide with a please explain, and then slapped the club with the largest ever concussion-related fine - a whopping $100,000, with $50,000 included in the soft cap.
The league wants to send a message across the competition, as it deals with litigation from former players over its handling of head injuries.
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BUDDY A GAME CHANGER, ON AND OFF THE FIELD
A quiet departure which was the opposite of how his career transpired - Lance ‘Buddy’ Franklin retired effective immediately after suffering a calf injury in the narrow win over Essendon.
On the field, Buddy was a remarkable watch. An unorthodox kicking style which defied logic at times, and a main event ticket the AFL hasn’t seen in a long time.
Off the field, HIS nine-year, $10 million contract was a gamechanger.
Did it deliver a premiership? No. But it has set the tone for more longer term and lucrative contracts in the competition.
For the game in Sydney, it would have done wonders, highlighted by a flooded SCG when he booted his 1000th goal just over 12 months ago.
A genuine super star, Franklin built one of the biggest personal brands in Australian sport.
Later this year, we’ll hear more about his career in a book titled - ‘Lance Franklin: My Football Journey’.
THE SPIRIT OF CRICKET, HUH?
It’s a phrase that has been uttered a significant amount of times during this Ashes series, which concluded with England tying at 2-2.
However, it wasn’t without controversy again, as a ball change, changed the game.
Usman Khawaja was struck in the helmet in the 37th over, and the umpires decided to change the ball after it had been damaged following Mark Wood’s delivery, for a ‘like for like’ replacement.
It was anything but.
Post-series, claims were made the English had refused to share a drink with the Aussies, which they refuted, blaming the speeches for retiring duo Stuart Broad and Moeen Ali.
English captain Ben Stokes later clarified, saying they had decided to meet up in the night club.
After the shock loss to Nigeria, the Matildas’ World Cup hopes relied on getting a win over Canada.
Sam Kerr was declared fit to play, but wasn’t named as a starter … and wasn’t needed.
The Matildas stunned Canada with 4-0 win.
They had the support of the country behind them, with 4.71 million tuning into Channel 7 to watch.
It is the broadcaster’s most-watched program of 2023.
LOPSIDED WORLD CUP?
The Netball World Cup’s structure has been called into question after a raft of lopsided results.
While Australia went down by a goal to England in a thriller, other results have caused concern.
Jamaica beat Trinidad and Tobago 89-26, and the English defeated Fiji 89-28 in two drastically one-sided results.
Current South Africa coach Norma Plummer suggested the tournament be split in two groups, with one half being the top eight teams, and the other half being the next ranked teams, but compete for a '“shield or something”, while implementing a promotion/relegation system.
IF YOU AIN’T FIRST, YOU’RE WHAT?
If you ain’t first, you’re last, to quote Ricky Bobby.
However, that isn’t how it is at the World Swimming Championships.
The Aussies sat top of the gold medal tally, but, due to ‘total medals’, didn’t win the ‘best team award’ trophy, with it instead going to the Americans.
Change it up!
UNITED SIGNS RECORD DEAL, MBAPPE DOESN’T
Glory, glory, Man United. And cash, a lot of it.
Adidas and the Red Devils have inked a $1.15B deal to remain as the club’s jersey provider, and will see it paid more than $100 million annually.
It’s an annual increase of $5 million for United, who were top spot in worldwide jersey sales, largely thanks to Cristiano Ronaldo’s brief second stint.
Meanwhile, Kylian Mbappe turned his back on the monstrous move to Saudi Arabia, and has recently been linked to a move to Liverpool.
Also in England, Tottenham’s billionaire owner Joe Lewis pleaded not guilty to insider trading charges last week.
Ange Postecoglou, already facing an uphill battle in trying to keep talismanic striker Harry Kane, is also trying to bring in reinforcements in defence.
However, with the man responsible for financing the deals facing serious charges, does it leave Spurs’ immediate transfer future in the balance?
BACK TO BEN’S BEST?
It’s been a rollercoaster career for Ben Simmons.
But, after a tumultuous two years, is he finally getting it all together?
Simmons last signed a five-year, USD$177.2M contract while in Philadelphia, but has been far from that value in recent times.
It seems the plan for Simmons is to be Brooklyn’s point guard and primary ballhandler for this season.
In good news, Bronny James, son of NBA all-time points scorer, LeBron James, was discharged from hospital after his cardiac arrest scare last week.
Bronny is draft-eligible in 2024 and projected to be a first-round pick.
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