Insider Sport’s Year In Review:
March – April

As 2019 comes to a close Insider Sport looks through the year to highlight major news that you might have missed in the sports world. 

This second edition looks at March and April with a specific focus on an interview with Parimatch CCO Andrii Suslenko, how TV deals are hampering heavyweight boxing, La Liga’s reaction to UEFA proposals and the role of social media in sports streaming. 

Andrii Suslenko, Parimatch: Why the UFC and McGregor makes for a punch perfect combination

At the end of last year, online betting operator Parimatch landed a key partnership with the Ultimate Fighting Championships (UFC), after becoming the “Official Betting and Wagering Partner of UFC” across EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa), excluding the UK and Ireland.

The new international collaboration also made history as Parimatch became the UFC’s first-ever marketing partner from the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) region.

Andrii Suslenko, Chief Communications Officer at Parimatch, emphasised that the synergy between the world’s leading Mixed Martial Arts organisation and Parimatch was undeniable, highlighting that Parimatch CEO Sergey Portnov was an avid martial artist in his youth.

Suslenko added that when Portnov met the UFC fighters, the camaraderie shared between the two only elevated Portnov’s desire to secure the partnership.

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How TV deals are hampering heavyweight boxing’s resurgence

Money makes the world go round, or so they say. Yet, in the case of modern boxing, it’s more like a spanner in the works than a vital cog in the machine.

At a time when interest in boxing’s heavyweight division is growing once again, there now seem to be even more obstacles to overcome when setting up the big fights.

With the recent announcement of Tyson Fury’s mammoth deal with ESPN in the USA, it looks like it may be harder than ever for heavyweight deals to be agreed upon in the immediate future. Fury’s fights will continue to be shown on BT Sport in the UK.

Boxing already had to contend with the various organisations all offering world title belts. There is the World Boxing Association (WBA), the World Boxing Council (WBC), the International Boxing Federation (IBF) and the World Boxing Organisation (WBO). However, with pay-per-view packages the go-to tactic of all boxing broadcasters, cross-platform deals are becoming more and more complex as time goes on.

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La Liga and football’s latest power struggle

Speaking exclusively to Reuters, La Liga President Javier Tebas recently described UEFA’s proposals to alter the Champions League schedule as “catastrophic”.

The La Liga Chief accused UEFA of negotiating with the European Club Association (ECA)“behind closed to doors so that the others don’t know about the reforms which put national leagues in danger.”

Tebas’ criticism of the proposals escalated the continued unrest between La Liga and UEFA, which intensified throughout 2018. It began when LaLiga’s plans to hold a Spanish league game in Miami, USA, were disapproved of by football’s international governing body, FIFA. 

La Liga had hoped to play the regular season fixture between Girona and Barcelona at the Hard Rock Stadium on January 26th, 2019. However, the fixture can not go ahead without the approval of the Spanish Football Association, FIFA, US Soccer and CONCACAF. In this case, the Spanish F.A. were also against the idea of the Spanish league game being played in another ‘territory’.

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The role of social media in sports streaming

Change is constant. It’s always been there. It’s the speed change occurs in this digital age that can leave our heads spinning from time to time.

The internet was the single biggest step in communications and multimedia development in the last 50 years. It has transformed how we live our everyday lives. A big part of that for sports fans is how we consume our interests.

Live streaming has been a thing since the mid-noughties, possibly earlier, using peer-to-peer technology. Now, social media platforms are taking the step into live sports streaming, hosting coverage of live events on their platform for their users to see. What can we expect in the coming years in terms of live sports coverage?

Back in early 2018, Facebook hired Eurosport CEO, Peter Hutton. The reason for hiring him? The social media giant wanted Hutton to lead their negotiations for worldwide live sports streams.

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