Premiership Rugby's salary cap of around £5.2M ($8.5M) per club "is set to rise" by almost 10% this year -- the first increase in two seasons -- now that the money from the BT Sport TV contract and other sponsorship deals "is kicking in," according to Hugh Godwin of the London INDEPENDENT. It "will be up to each club to decide" whether to put the extra £500,000 ($821,000) into the pockets of one or two players, or spread it so that, for example, 10 younger players earn an extra £40,000 ($66,000) -- "head-turning figures in most walks of life although peanuts compared with football." As a result, playing for England "will continue to be the carrot that keeps the best young players at home." However, Harlequins Dir of Rugby Conor O’Shea believes that the spending power of French clubs thanks to their new €355M ($480M), five-year contract with TV broadcaster Canal+ "means more England players will head over to France after the 2015 World Cup" (INDEPENDENT, 1/19).
The Jamaican bobsled team "may be headed to another Olympics," according to the AP. The "catch: it needs a lot of money, and it needs it fast." Olympic organizers said on Saturday that "Jamaica has qualified for the two-man competition at the Sochi Games, though it remains unclear if the fledgling squad will get a chance to race." Funding is a "serious problem" and sled driver Winston Watts said that he is trying to raise as much as $80,000 in the next two weeks to "cover travel and equipment costs." Watts: "Right now, we're at zero" (AP, 1/20). The JAMAICA GLEANER reported Watts said, "We have received some help from the Jamaica Olympic Association and the Jamaica Tourist Board but it's really disappointing because we have not been able to get enough sponsorship out of Jamaica to help our efforts. They are paying more attention to track and field and football and so on, but you have to understand and people have to remember that we also have a bobsled team and we are pretty good at it and with support we can get to the top like the other sports." Watts added that the team is "in need of a new blade for its sled," which costs around $15,000, in "addition to transportation, training and accommodation costs" (JAMAICA GLEANER, 1/19).