SBC’s On The Ball: QPR, Reddit and Chicago Fire

From sponsorship to the ever-expanding world of football media coverage, when it comes to the business of football, SBC has you covered, this week’s edition looks at a controversial new sponsorship for West Ham, as well as an innovative new initiative between QPR and Ticketmaster.

FA to investigate West Ham Sponsorship 

The Football Association (FA) will carry out inquiries into the sponsorship deal between West Ham Women’s team and sports management agency, Unique Sports Management (USM).

USM agreed to become a shirt sponsor for the women’s team at the start of this season, with the deal reported to be worth close to £250,000, however this has not yet been confirmed by neither West Ham nor USM.

The FA are said to have been aware of the sponsorship deal at the time it was brokered, however are now said to be requiring further clarification on the circumstances in which USM were asked to sponsor the team.

Jack Sullivan, 19, is the managing director of the women’s team, and is also the son of West Ham’s co-owner, David Sullivan. The father-son duo are said to be on close personal terms with USM boss Will Salthouse, who is often spotted in the Director’s Box at The London Stadium.

Reddit Soccerstreams closed down after continued copyright infringements

The fight to stop football piracy got a major boost this week, as the Reddit page where users go to post links to live football matches was closed.

After numerous warnings from Reddit over copyright infringement, something that is in breach of the site’s user policy, the page which had accrued 425,000 subscribers was taken down.

A statement from the R/soccerstreams’ moderator confirmed: “We’ve officially reached critical mass. I regret to inform you all that a few days ago the Reddit Admins got in touch with us about an impeding ban of this subreddit if changes weren’t made.

“The only way to save it, from our perspective, was to cease all user-related activity here. Due to this, and to save the history behind this subreddit over the years, r/soccerstreams will now serve as a home base for the official Soccer Streams mod team.”

The news comes as the Premier League continues to strengthen its long standing against piracy, in order to maintain the growing value of its rights. And although the page directed its users to a temporary alternative, the shutting of the page shows a real intent in the battle against illegal sports streaming.

Furthermore, the burden of illegal streaming is not solely felt from football, Matchroom Boxing Promotions vehemently pursued rights to protection against illegal live streams prior to  Anthony Joshua’s last title defence against Alexander Povetkin.

Commenting at the time, group CEO of Matchroom Sport, Steve Dawson, emphasised: “This blocking order is a game-changer in our efforts to tackle piracy of our PPV [pay-per-view] and non PPV boxing events. It will allow us to quickly and effectively block and disrupt illegal broadcasts of our shows.

“The protection of the copyright in broadcasts of our events is hugely important to us and we are pleased that the Court has recognised this with the granting of this blocking order.”

Chicago Fire unveils new partnership with Motorola

The Chicago Fire Soccer Club and Motorola have announced a three-year partnership which means the mobile communications company will gain maximum exposure as the official jersey partner of the club.

Both the home and away jerseys were unveiled by former World Cup winner Bastian Schweinsteiger, U.S. Men’s National Team player and Fire team captain Dax McCarty and 2017 MLS Golden Boot Winner Nemanja Nikolić. Supporters will be able to purchase the jerseys from March 1.

Chicago Fire Soccer Club Chief Operating Officer John Urban commented:“We’re extremely excited to announce our new jersey partnership with Motorola. Motorola is a globally recognised brand that, similar to our Club, is proud of its Chicago roots. We look forward to introducing the Motorola brand to the diverse audience that exists within MLS and the sport of soccer.”

Rudi Kalil, vice president and general manager, North America at Motorola added: “As a proud Chicago-based company, Motorola is thrilled to further our dedication to our hometown by teaming up with the Chicago Fire Soccer Club,” said  “The Chicago Fire is the latest to join our roster of iconic Chicago sports partnerships. Much like Motorola, the Chicago Fire are forward-looking, agile and driven to win, which made this partnership easy to root for.”

QPR partners with Ticketmaster to provide ticketing innovation

Uniting with Ticketmaster Sport, Queens Park Rangers is the first UK football club to integrate the only in-app mobile ticketing solution that allows secure ticket transfers across operating systems.

The implementation of newly developed and innovative mobile ticketing technology from fan engagement specialists, InCrowd has allowed both match day and season tickets to become available in the official QPR app to those who opted into the trial phase in September 2018, and are now available to all fans attending games at Loftus Road via a personal in-app ticket wallet.

David Scriven, Digital Content Manager at QPR commented: “The QPR Ticket Wallet has helped simplify the matchday for fans at Loftus Road. Not only can fans now access the latest news at the push of a button they can also access the stadium with one. By working closely with Ticketmaster and implementing this advanced, fan first technology from InCrowd we’ve been able to deliver a unique product in an efficient manner with significant upsides to supporter experience and the businesses digital objectives.”

The payment method has experienced strong growth since its formation, with it now being utilised by 12%of fans that attend games at Loftus Road.

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