Booze bans, blue-light therapy and the use of "humidi-flyer" face masks are "among the steps being taken to ensure the welfare of players" involved in the England vs. New Zealand rugby test at Mile High Stadium in Denver, according to Adrian Proszenko of the SYDNEY MORNING HERALD. The National Rugby League and the Rugby League Players' Association "raised concerns about the toll it will take on star players," particularly given the match will be played in Colorado's high altitude in the middle of summer. To "alleviate the concerns and ensure the health of the players is a priority," the New Zealand Rugby League prepared a "medical overview" that includes "revolutionary ways to combat jet lag, fatigue and injuries." To ensure the players get the necessary sleep in transit and adjust to the new time zone, Kiwi players will be given melatonin for their first three days in the U.S. and "as part of their protocols for their return home." But perhaps the "most intriguing aspects of the medical plan are the use of blue-light therapy and humidi-flyer technology" (SMH, 4/18).
Events and Attractions
Fathers and sons often work together in family-owned businesses, but that dynamic can become slightly more public when those businesses are an NFL team and one of the oldest clubs in English football. As part of an afternoon panel on Day 1 of the '18 CAA World Congress of Sports, NFL Jacksonville Jaguars and League Championship side Fulham Owner Shahid Khan sat down for an interview alongside his son Tony, who serves as Jaguars VP/football technology & analytics and Fulham director of football operations. Shahid: “This is serious money. Serious business. And you can’t screw it up just because you want your son involved.” Tony, who also owns and operates data firm TruMedia Networks, noted analytics has become a big part of Fulham, particularly as it looks to return to the EPL. Tony: “We really turned things around by going to a more analytics-heavy approach. Basically, we weigh analytics 50% in every decision we make.”
APPLES & ORANGES: Shahid, on major differences between English football and the NFL, said, “The NFL is very fan-friendly, and in our case, we’re the youngest team in football. 20 years old. We want people coming in and having a good family experience. English soccer, or soccer period, is hard core. No breaks. No alcohol in English stadiums during games. So if you’re looking for revenue from that side, it’s not there. It’s ticket sales and sponsorships. Very much an eat-what-you-kill mindset vs. a shared revenue model which the NFL has.”
WHERE TO PLANT A FLAG: The Jaguars have been at the forefront of playing games in London, with Shahid noting that is due to certain limitations being in the Jacksonville market (i.e. high number of transplants in the market, three NFL teams already in Florida). Shahid, when asked where it could make sense for an NFL team abroad, said, “The place you want to start is London. We can sell out our game in around three days, 85,000 tickets, at a significant premium. And the makeup of the crowd is around 30% from greater London, 30% from outside greater London and 40% from outside the U.K. So what it does is it really exposes football to a diverse audience.” Shahid noted they are teaching fans about tailgating, and that consuming alcohol during games is something new for English fans. Shahid: “That’s a new experience for a lot of people, which they love!” Shahid noted 1:30pm local time in London for a game is ideal because it's primetime in China and “very rarely do they have live sports in China because of the time difference.” Other than London, Shahid sees Mexico City as an NFL possibility, as football in that country is a very “upper-middle-class sport,” meaning “great demographics.”
PLAYING IN THE BIG TIME: Shahid also talked about the power of the NFL, saying, “To this day, I’m intimidated by what the NFL is. You can’t be anonymous anymore.”
Complete coverage of the World Congress of Sports is in The Daily.
The England national football team will host Switzerland and the U.S. in two autumn internationals to complement its Nations League fixtures. The side will face the Swiss on Sept. 11 "at a venue to be decided," with the game against the U.S. scheduled for Nov. 15 at Wembley. Both matches are within three days of Nations League games (BBC, 4/18).
Liverpool fans "can expect to pay £73" ($103.70) for tickets for the second leg of the club's Champions League semifinal against Roma. A total of 5,000 tickets will be made available to purchase for traveling fans ahead of the clash at Rome's Stadio Olimpico on May 2. The £73 fee marks a "significant increase" from the £44.50 ($63.21) figure Chelsea fans paid for their side's group-stage game away at Roma (London INDEPENDENT, 4/18).
National Rifle Association of India President Raninder Singh wants India to boycott the 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games in the wake of the organizers' decision to drop shooting from the program. Shooting, which has been featured at every Games since '66 with the exception of Edinburgh in '70, is an optional sport for host cities and media reports have cited "a lack of suitable facilities" as the reason behind Birmingham's decision (REUTERS, 4/18).