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. 

July gave us an interesting story from the Sierra Leone Football Association (SLFA) investigating two ‘suspicious’ second-tier matches which had a combined total of 187 goals.

The matches saw Kahula Rangers beat Lumbenbu United 95-0, whilst Koquima Lebanon received a 91-1 thrashing from Gulf FC.

There was further suspicious activity in the IPL, where a fake competition took place, set up by a gang who used farm labourers acting as players in the aim of scamming Russian bettors.

The scheme managed to reach the quarter-final stage before the Police showed up to the farm in Mehsana.

In the NFL, Pittsburgh Steelers’ stadium was renamed as the Acrisure Stadium in a 15-year deal with a fintech firm.

Acrisure immediately took over the naming rights to the team’s North Shore stadium, beginning with the 2022 season. The venue had been named Heinz Field since it opened in 2001.

Arguably the biggest sporting news of 2022 was England winning the Women’s EURO 2022, which achieved a record crowd of 87,192 people as the Lionesses beat Germany in the final at Wembley Stadium.

The total aggregate attendance was brought to over half a million for a tournament that UEFA highlighted has ‘set new benchmarks at every step of the way’.

In gambling news, talkSPORT announced an expansion of its sports betting operations, with support from the BetVictor sportsbook operator. 

The new site now sits alongside talkSPORT’s existing commercial arrangements with betting operators, such as show sponsorships, advertising and affiliate partnerships.

Furthermore, in August the NFL formed a partnership with ITV which now means the broadcaster becomes the sport’s new free-to-air television home in the UK and Ireland.

The three-year deal sees sports presenter Laura Woods join analysts Osi Umenyiora and Jason Bell for a series of hour-long weekly shows, kicking off on 9 September.

“We have seen the NFL grow to a level I could never have imagined from when I played here for the Giants in 2007,” said Umenyiora. 

“This new partnership can see us bringing the sport to an even broader audience. We have felt so embraced by British fans and we are excited that they will be able to watch us on ITV.”

In racing, the Formula One World Championship revealed that Audi is joining the competition as a power unit supplier, starting from the 2026 season.

The news followed updates to power unit regulations, published earlier that month, designed specifically to attract newcomers to the sport at a competitive level.

Notably, the owners of the New York Yankees partnered with RedBird Capital to complete the €1.2bn takeover of AC Milan.

Gerry Cardinale, RedBird Founder and Managing Partner, said: “Our vision for Milan is clear: we will support our talented players, coaches and staff to deliver success on the pitch and allow our fans to share in the extraordinary experiences of this historic club.  

“We will look to leverage our global sports and media network, our analytics expertise, our track record in sports stadium developments and hospitality to deliver one goal – maintaining Milan’s place at the summit of European and world football.”

Moreover, the Australian Football League (AFL) made history by signing a broadcast deal with Foxtel and Seven West Media, as they both continue to televise the sport until the end of 2031.

Reportedly worth $4.5bn – the richest deal ever in Australian sports broadcasting – the collaboration was an extended partnership which has been running for a decade.

Finally, Betway took a hit after being charged £408,945 by the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) after its marketing material was displayed on West Ham United children’s webpages.

Between 14 April 2020 and 6 November 2021, Betway’s logo – which linked to its website – was displayed on a webpage offering the opportunity to print a teddy bear for children to colour in.

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