As we approach the end of 2020, Insider Sport is looking back at the top stories from each month of what has been a turbulent year.
Between May and June, both rugby union and rugby league took steps towards ensuring their futures, with the latter securing a financial aid package from the government. The Denver Broncos became the first NFL to select a betting operator as its sponsor and the NBA made a magical return.
In June, all 13 Premiership Rugby clubs approved a significant overhaul of the competition’s salary cap regulations. The proposed changes, as mentioned in the Myners Review, included stricter punishments for breaching the rules such as loss of titles, heavier fines, a return of prize money, and potential suspensions.
Whilst in rugby league, the RFL secured an emergency loan of £16 million from the government for Betfred Super League, Championship and League 1 clubs, in order to financially stabilise rugby league’s ecosystem and safeguard the future of the sport amid the COVID-19 crisis.
The Premier League confirmed the first batch fixtures for the revised campaign, with AFC Bournemouth’s clash against Crystal Palace on 20 June becoming the competition’s first-ever televised match on the BBC. The match reached peak viewership of 3.9 million, narrowly missing out as the most viewed match in the competition’s history.
Meanwhile, England captain Harry Kane announced a unique sponsorship deal with one of his former clubs, Leyton Orient. Under the terms of the agreement, the EFL League Two side’s 2020/21 home shirt featured a thank you message to frontline NHS workers, whilst the Haven House Children’s Hospice appeared on the club’s away kit and the third kit sported the mental health charity Mind’s logo.
In the US, the Denver Broncos made history by becoming the first the first National Football League (NFL) side to sign a sports betting partnership after agreeing a multi-year deal with FanDuel Group. The online sportsbook was named as the official sports betting and official daily fantasy partner of the Broncos, with the franchise’s Chief Commercial Officer Mac Freeman stating that the partnership coincided with ‘Broncos’ innovative thinking‘.
Later in the month, the National Basketball Association’s (NBA) board of governors agreed on a competitive format for the restart of its 2019-20 campaign, which saw 22 play-off contending teams compete at Disney World Resort in Florida. The NBA invested $190 million into the isolation zone which became known as the ‘Disney Bubble’.