As 2022 comes to a close, Insider Sport takes a look back at the notable highs and lows of the sports business industry over the past 12 months. 

The year started off with some big news at Manchester United, as the club announced Richard Arnold as the new Chief Executive Officer.

The former Group Managing Director of the Premier League side took on the title of the team’s most Senior Executive, after having worked for United since 2007.

Also in the English top-flight, Arsenal introduced a ‘No More Red’ initiative in collaboration with Adidas to continue its support for keeping people safe from knife crime and youth violence.

The collaboration saw the sports brand boost Arsenal’s ‘long-standing’ work against knife crime in the UK, as last year, figures reached the highest number of teenage murders in a year in London since records began – most of which involved knife attacks.

The team replaced their red home shirt with a fully white kit in the Emirates FA Cup match against Nottingham Forest.

In rugby, the French Rugby League Federation announced that France had been selected as the host of the 2025 Rugby League World Cup, for the third time.

Furthermore, January also saw a big sponsorship story in darts as the PDC announced online car retailer Cazoo as the latest sponsor of the World Championship, the UK Open, Players Championship Finals and Masters.

Taking the brands partnership to eight PDC tournaments, PDC Chief Executive, Matt Porter, said: “Cazoo’s partnership with the PDC has already seen their brand receive huge worldwide exposure and this new multi-event deal will extend their sponsorship to four of our biggest and most prestigious events.”

In February, Oracle was named as Red Bull Formula 1 team’s new title sponsor in a partnership enhancement with the US-based technology company.

Replacing Honda as its main sponsor, the firm’s logo was featured on the rear wing and side of the new RB18 for the 2022 season. 

This was a successful venture that was followed by Red Bull driver Max Verstappen winning his second World Championship in October.

It was a bad month for West Ham as UK life insurance company, Vitality, suspended its sponsorship of the club after a video emerged of Defender Kurt Zouma kicking and hitting his cat.

The player was fined £250,000 by the Hammers and has had his cats taken away from him by the RSPCA. Adidas also broke off its contract with the player.

Moreover, in the US, the NFL revealed that the Super Bowl LVI averaged an audience of 112.3 million viewers, and was the most-watched show in five years.

The clash between the Cincinnati Bengals and Los Angeles Rams hit the 100-million viewer mark in a turnaround from viewership of the previous year’s big game, which the organisation stated marked a ‘strong finish to an NFL postseason rife’.

Back to football, UEFA made the decision to relocate the Champions League final from St Petersburg to Paris, following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The governing body called an extraordinary meeting in the aftermath of Russian military action, with the discussion primarily revolving around whether the Gazprom Arena should continue to host this year’s final. 

UEFA stated: “UEFA wishes to express its thanks and appreciation to French Republic President Emmanuel Macron for his personal support and commitment to have European club football’s most prestigious game moved to France at a time of unparalleled crisis. 

“Together with the French government, UEFA will fully support multi-stakeholder efforts to ensure the provision of rescue for football players and their families in Ukraine who face dire human suffering, destruction and displacement.”

Shortly after this, FIFA and UEFA made the decision to ban all Russian football teams, both national representatives or clubs, from all FIFA and UEFA competitions until further notice. This meant the Russian National Team would not be able to participate in the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

Adidas announced the suspension of its collaboration with the Russian Football Union (RFS) with immediate effect.

The decision came as several high profile sports organisations cut all ties with Russian-affiliated bodies or companies due to the conflict in Ukraine.

The German sportswear brand had been the kit manufacturer for the country since 2008, and designed the shirts for its home World Cup in 2018. 

In March, FC Barcelona announced a partnership with Spotify where the music streaming service became the main partner of the club and the official audio streaming partner, which would start in June.

The deal saw Spotify become the title partner of the La Liga club’s ground with the Camp Nou stadium rebranded to Spotify Camp Nou. 

Furthermore, the brand appeared on the front of both men’s and women’s team shirts and training shirts during the current season, with Drake’s OVO owl logo worn in El Clasico against Real Madrid.

Finally, March closed with Las Vegas being announced as the host of Formula One’s new night event from 2023, named The Las Vegas Grand Prix, which will be one of three races in the US, joining Miami and Austin.F1 President and CEO, Stefano Domenicali, commented: “This is an incredible moment for Formula One that demonstrates the huge appeal and growth of our sport with a third race in the US. Las Vegas is a destination known around the world for its excitement, hospitality, thrills, and of course, the famous Strip.”

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