Archive for the ‘Golf’ Category

France will host 2018 Ryder Cup after all-star support

Tuesday, May 17th, 2011

By Sportingintelligence

17 May 2011

France have won the right to stage the 2018 Ryder Cup, seeing off challenges from rival bids from Spain, Germany, the Netherlands and Portugal.

France’s campaign had a number of high-profile supporters from sports away from golf, including Manchester City’s Patrick Vieira, who outlined France’s Ryder Cup case to sportingintelligence in March, in articles linked here and linked here.

The France 2018 bid emphasised its legacy value, which proved sufficient to see it past an understanably emotional appeal to send the event to Spain in memory of the late, great Seve Ballesteros.

More about the bidding process can be found the European Tour website, and more on the French bid at their website.

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Rio Ferdinand, English football’s Twitter king, closes in on 1m followers

Thursday, May 12th, 2011

By Nick Harris

SJA Internet Sports Writer of the Year

12 May 2011

Rio Ferdinand is closing in on a new Twitter landmark of one million followers, a milestone that will cement the Manchester United centre-half’s place as the most popular English footballer on the micro-blogging network.

The 32-year-old England international is also the most followed footballer of any nationality based in Britain, and one of the world’s most popular athletes from any sport on Twitter.

At 3pm today Ferdinand (@rioferdy5) had 993,002 followers, and is adding them at a rate of around 200 per hour. At that speed, he should go past the million mark at some point on Friday, or over the weekend at the latest. United play at Blackburn on Saturday, needing one point to win the Premier League title.

Only one other British sportsman has more Twitter followers than Ferdindand – golfer Ian Poulter, with 1.18m to date.

Only three other footballers in the world have more Twitter followers that Ferdinand: Kaka (3.8m), Cristiano Ronaldo (2.8m) and Andres Iniesta (1.1m).

The next most followed footballer based in England, behind Ferdinand, is Arsenal’s Cesc Fabregas, with 846,000 followers at 3pm today.

Sportingintelligence has been tracking a select group of Tweeters since 20 April, and our previous articles are linked here and here.

Social networking is still in its infancy, at least in business terms, but Twitter is already a major social and political phenomenon, in many senses, both as a platform for breaking news (eg: Japan quake, OBL’s death) and as a communication tool in times of change (eg: the Arab Spring, Libya etc).

Twitter is also increasingly a source of news stories, and entertainment. Ferdinand’s Twitter banter with the former newspaper editor and talent show co-judge, Piers Morgan, caught the imagination of followers of both men. Hard data shows Ferdinand continues to get the best of their battle in terms of popularity.

On 20 April, Ferdinand’s lead over Morgan was 246,447 followers. At 3pm today Ferdinand’s lead had stretched to 316,617 followers. Not only is Ferdinand extending his lead over Arsenal fan Morgan, but extending it at a quicker rate. Ferdinand’s following has increased by 22.7 per cent since 20 April while Morgan’s number of followers has grown by only 20.2 per cent in the same time.

The graph below depicts the number of followers of a select group at 3pm, set against the followers they had on 20 April. Newcomers to Twitter-land in recent weeks include Wayne Rooney, Michael Owen and the Neville brothers, Gary and Phil.

United became the most popular sports team on the world in terms of Facebook followers earlier this season, and while they have seen been overtaken again by Barcelona, they remain the biggest English club by far, and vie with Barca and Real Madrid for Facebook supremacy. More here.

Note added on 14 May: Other recent footballing members of Twitter’s “1m club” include @10Ronaldinho and former Man Utd striker @diegoforlan7

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Slam dunk: NBA the richest sports league in the world by average pay

Thursday, April 21st, 2011

By Nick Harris

SJA Internet Sports Writer of the Year

22 April 2011

The best paid sportsmen in the world, judged on average earnings per player across whole leagues, are the basketball players who make their living in the NBA in North America, according to the findings of sportingintelligence’s Global Sports Salaries Report 2011 (GSSS 2011), published today.

Across the 30 teams in the NBA, the average base salary in the latest completed season was £2.9m per player per season, or £55,816 per week. At current exchange rates, that equates to US$4.79m per year (which is €3.29m per year) or US$92,199 per week (which is €63,352 per week).

Earlier this week, we revealed that the best paid teams in global sport were Barcelona (from Spanish football), Real Madrid (ditto) and then the New York Yankees (US baseball), the latter having been knocked off the No1 perch they inhabited in our last report a year ago.

But when measuring leagues as a whole, the NBA is the richest, man for man. One reason for this is that teams (and squads / rosters) have fewer players per team than any other among the world’s major sports leagues. The simplistic conclusion from that is that the pot of wages at each NBA team is divided among fewer players than at, say, each NFL franchise. But that is far from the whole story.

If fewer players meant bigger money, always, then we would expect NHL ice hockey players (with fewer players per team than the NFL) to earn more than NFL players, on average. In our report last year, they did, just.

But this time, NFL players earned more. Why? Because there wasn’t any NFL salary cap or floor in 2010? (That is a much more convoluted debate for another day). But NFL players earned more per man in 2010 than NHL players. In the 2010 season (ending in the 2011 Super Bowl), NFL players earned £1.44m on average each per year (£27,637 per week) according to the GSSS 2011, against ‘only’ £1.39m per NHL player per year on average (£26,822 per week) in the 2010-11 season.

One of the issues – but only one – that we hope to explore on this site in the near future is the argument that NFL players might be the chronically underpaid performers of global sport. That’s for another day.

Back to today, the report contains average team salary calculation for 272 teams from 14 leagues. Those 14 leagues are the NBA (basketball), IPL (cricket), MLB (baseball), Premier League (English football), NFL (US gridiron), NHL (ice hockey), Bundesliga (German football), Serie A (Italian football), La Liga (Spanish football), NPB (Japanese baseball), SPL (Scottish football), AFL (Aussie Rules football), MLS (American soccer) and CFL (Canadian gridiron).

When only weekly pay is taken into account, the No2 league by average pay is cricket’s IPL. It last just six weeks per year but with multi-million dollar short-term contracts for the best players and six-figure deals for many more, it is justifiable for inclusion, not least because many of those involved earn other incomes elsewhere during the rest of the year.

The full contents of the GSSS 2011 are detailed here.

One of the features of the report is a wage distribution chart per league that shows the relative pay levels between the teams in each league. Some leagues have massive discrepancies between the best paid and worst paid teams.

Here is the distribution chart for the league with the biggest discrepancy, where players at the best paid team earn an average of 39.47 times as much as the players at the worst paid team in that league:

And here is the distribution chart for the league with the smallest discrepancy, where players at the best paid team earn an average of 1.08 times as much as the players at the worst paid team in that league:

Does pay in these leagues affect results? Is one inherently fairer than the other? These are the kind of questions and debates that the report hopes to explore and foster.

The headline findings of the report, including the list of the best paid teams are freely available, here on this website, and at ESPN The Magazine. We will also carry more features and analysis arising from findings in the report on this site in the near future.

For those who want the full report, you can find details of its full contents, and how to order, here.

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REVEALED: Barcelona and Real Madrid overtake Yankees as world’s best paid teams

Wednesday, April 20th, 2011

By Nick Harris

SJA Internet Sports Writer of the Year

20 April 2011

Barcelona are the best paid team in global sport measured by average first-team wages, ahead of their great rivals Real Madrid in second place, knocking baseball’s New York Yankees from the No1 spot, according to the Global Sports Salaries Survey 2011, to be published this week by sportingintelligence.

The average first team pay at Barcelona has been calculated at £95,081 per player per week, or £4,944,211 per year in the period under review. Real Madrid’s players in No2 place earned £88,421 per week (£4.6m per year) while first-team stars at the Yankees, at No3, will earn an average of £81,206 per man per week in the 2011 season, or £4.2m per year.

Click on graphic (left) to enlarge to see the top 12 in detail.

This year’s report has been compiled in association with ESPN The Magazine in America, which carries exclusive details in its 2 May 2011 edition, a special ‘All About the Money’ issue, on sale now.

SLAM DUNK: NBA is the best paid league in the world. More here

The salaries report features average salary information from 272 teams in 14 leagues in seven sports across 10 countries. ESPN The Magazine carries the top section of that main list online at this link, where there are more links to other content and details about the special issue of the magazine.

Sportingintelligence’s first global salaries report was published last year and compared average first-team pay on a like-for-like basis for the first time at clubs in the world’s richest and most popular sports leagues.

This year’s full report, to be published on Friday, has been expanded to include the dozen most popular sports leagues in the world (by average attendance per game) plus the MLS and SPL as examples of smaller leagues from the world’s most popular sport, football.

The LA Lakers and Orlando Magic of the NBA are No4 and No5 in this year’s list, followed by Chelsea of the Premier League, Inter Milan of Serie A, baseball’s Boston Red Sox, and the NBA’s Denver Nuggets.

Manchester City, owned by Sheikh Mansour of Abu Dhabi, have stormed into the top 10, with City’s average first-team annual pay in the 2009-10 season calculated at £3.66m ($5.9m) per player, or £70,476 ($112,761) per week.

The Premier League remains the richest football league in the world and five of its clubs – Chelsea, City, Manchester United, Liverpool and Arsenal – are among the top 30 best paid teams.

The NBA remains the richest league in terms of average pay per player across the whole NBA, and NBA teams occupy 10 of the top 30 places, while MLB baseball teams occupy eight, teams from La Liga, Serie A and the IPL two places each, and the Bundesliga one.

The full report 78-page report reveals the best-paid leagues overall, contains 56 pages of league-by-league detail assessing the relationship between money and success, and includes prize earnings for the top golfers and top tennis players to see how team sports earnings compare to those in major solo sports.

More details from the report and features based around its findings will appear on sportingintelligence.com in the coming days and weeks.

Pre-order information for anyone interested in purchasing the full report is available upon request.

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EXCLUSIVE: Snooker’s biggest management firm about to go bust, owing players

Friday, April 15th, 2011

By Nick Harris

SJA Internet Sports Writer of the Year

15 April 2011

The 110 Sport Group, the management company that handles the affairs of a string of the biggest names in snooker, is about to be liquidated, sportingintelligence has learned today.

The company is expected to make a public confirmation next week that it has gone bust, and this website understands that it will go out of business owing cash to a large number of sports stars not just from snooker but golf, football and other sports.

The news comes on the eve of snooker’s showcase event, the 17-day World Championship, which begins at The Crucible in Sheffield on Saturday.

A subsidiary of the 110 Sport Group – 110 Sport Management – went into liquidation recently. That raised questions over the viability of 110 Sport Group and another of its subsidiaries, 110 Sport TV, which received £709,000 in public money to help fund an internet broadcasting service that struggled to get off the ground.

Lee Doyle, chairman of 110 Group, told me last month the future of the group couldn’t be guaranteed but he wouldn’t comment on who was owed money.

Former clients of 110 include Sir Chris Hoy (who parted terms with them a few months ago), while the 110 website, under its clients list, says at the time of writing (Friday, 5pm) that the firm’s clients include golfer Alastair Forsyth, snooker players including Allister Carter, Stephen Hendry, Ken Doherty, Marco Fu, Mark Allen, Matthew Stevens and Peter Ebdon among others, curlers including Olympian David Murdoch and an array of footballers including Gavin Skelton and Steven Thompson.

Fraser Niven, a director at 110 Sport, told me this afternoon that barring an unlikely intervention, the 110 Sport Group will go into liquidation next week. Asked how many sportsmen were owed money, and the chances of them recovering it, Niven declined to mention numbers but said: “In any situation of liquidation, they will become unsecured creditors.”

The 110 Group sent a letter to shareholders earlier this week claiming that its bank’s decision to effectively call in £100,000 of funding had had a “catastrophic” effect on the company. An insolvency practitioner from Begbies Traynor has already been appointed as provisional liquidator.

Sportingintelligence understands that at least nine of the players (of 32) about to commence action at the World Championships in Sheffield could be financially affected by the collapse of the 110 Sport group, either because they are owed winnings or logo money, or because their financial affairs, including tax matters, are somehow involved in the 110 meltdown.

That does not bode well for the mental well-being of the players involved as snooker’s main event of the year gets underway.

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Patrick Vieira endorses French 2018 Ryder Cup bid as ‘legacy option’ for golf

Sunday, March 13th, 2011

By Nick Harris

SJA Internet Sports Writer of the Year

13 March 2011

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Manchester City’s Patrick Vieira has today voiced his strong support for France’s bid to stage the 2018 Ryder Cup, saying it represents the legacy option for golf in Europe.

Vieira, 34, who won the football World Cup with France in an event staged in France in 1998, is selective in the causes he backs; he has worked as a Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations, and helps fund and run the expanding Diambers schools project in Africa.

But he is endorsing France’s Ryder Cup bid because key parts of the bid focus on making golf in France more accessible, especially in poorer urban areas. He has also played the game himself since he first arrived in England, with Arsenal, in 1996.

Up for the (Ryder) Cup: Patrick Vieira. Photo: Paul Lewis

‘The first time I played was with Ashley Cole, Dennis Bergkamp and the cook at Arsenal, who was English and a really good player,’ he tells me as part of a long interview, linked in full here. ‘I really enjoyed it, it was different from how I thought it was going to be.’

He continues to play at City, where he nominates one of his team-mates, Vincent Kompany, as the worst footballing golfer he’s ever seen.

‘Vincent Kompany is an atrocity, terrible!’ Vieira says. ‘He’s terrible because he’s just hit a ball for the first time a few days ago, so it’s difficult for him and he needs more practice.

‘And the best I’ve played with was Dennis Bergkamp, a perfectionist. His handicap was around 10, but I’ve heard James Milner’s handicap is seven, but I haven’t had the chance to play with him. They say he’s one of the best players at City.’

Five countries are bidding to stage the 2018 Ryder Cup: France, Portugal, Spain, Germany and The Netherlands are in the running as the event organisers looks to expand the traditional hosting territories.

The nominated French course is Golf National, just south-west of Paris, adjacent to Chateau de Versailles.

The French golf federation plans 100 urban course to ‘widen the demographic’ of the game, and all registered golfers in France will contribute to the bid funding. President Sarkozy is another prominent supporter.

The winning bidder will be announced on 17 May by the Ryder Cup Europe Committee.

‘I support [France’s bid] as a Frenchman, and I support it also because I play golf and I really love the game and golf’s getting bigger and bigger in France, and what is really exciting is that it’s open to everybody now,’ Vieira says.

‘And after hosting the rugby [World Cup in 2007] and hosting the World Cup in 1998, I think if France win the Ryder Cup it would be really good. It’s really important because like the football, like the rugby, golf can leave something for the society.

‘After [France] winning the World Cup, the percentage of kids wanting to play football was higher, and I’m sure organising the Ryder Cup in France will make more people want to play golf. And I think that’s really important. This is one of the important messages of the legacy – that golf will have a legacy in France after the Ryder Cup.’

Vieira sees the urban courses as a key element, ‘really exciting because golf can be really open to everybody in different areas. It’s important as well to show that everyone can have access to enjoy the game.’

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The French 2018 bid site

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AP McCoy accepts major BBC award with plug for Sky

Sunday, December 19th, 2010

By Nick Harris

19 December 2010

Tony McCoy, the greatest jump jockey of all time, was crowned the BBC Sports Personality of the Year at a star-studded awards night in Birmingham this evening – and then mentioned the Beeb’s great broadcasting rivals, Sky, in his acceptance speech. He was talking about the delight with which his three-year-old daughter, Eve,  had greeted his appearance on TV this morning, letting slip the name Sky before correcting himself to a more neutral ‘on television’.

LATE ADD TO STORY: The BBC video is now online for UK viewers. Watch the slip of the tongue here, at 2min 38sec into the clip, although to see it in context start a few seconds earlier. Fair play to the BBC for keeping it in. You can hearing a murmur of chuckles among those in the audience who realised what he’d said.

McCoy also acknowledged the orchestrated nature of the campaign backing him to win by joking that he owed thanks to all in racing, who he said had probably spent all night voting for him. The Racing For Change campaign had actively worked to gain votes for McCoy, a fearsome competitor who won the Grand National this year for the first time at the 15th time of asking.

The darts legend Phil ‘The Power’ Taylor was the runner-up in the main award and heptathlete Jess Ennis was third.

Diver Tom Daley collected his third Young Sports Personality of the Year Award. The European Ryder Cup team were Team of Year, and Colin Montgomerie the Coach of the Year. Rafa Nadal was Overseas Personality of the Year.

David Beckham collected a Lifetime Achievement award, at the age of 35, and received such a lengthy ovation that he almost cried. His wife Victoria was in floods of tears in the audience.

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Tony McCoy wins first gong of sports awards season

Monday, November 8th, 2010

By Nick Harris

8 November 2010

Tony McCoy’s victory in the 2010 Grand National has been acknowledged as the ‘Jump off the sofa’ moment of the British sporting year so far, bolstering his credentials as the favourite to win next month’s BBC Sports Personality of the Year Award.

The category was included in the inaugural Jaguar Academy of Sport Awards, which took place last night in the Long Room at Lord’s.

Other awards went to Graeme McDowell (most inspirational British sportsman of 2010 for winning the US Open), Jess Ennis (most inspirational British sportswoman), Amy Williams (best British sporting performance, for winning Winter Olympic gold) and Ellie Simmonds (best British sporting performance for an athlete with a disability).

But McCoy’s award is arguably the best pointer to the SPOTY award, because his National win, at the 15th attempt in the race, was effectively voted as the defining sporting moment of the year. The SPOTY award is decided by a public vote and McCoy, champion jump jockey 15 times, is sure to be a major contender at the very least.

The Ulsterman has regained his SPOTY favourite’s status with the bookmakers having been briefly overtaken by McDowell in October after the latter had secured the vital hole that sealed the Ryder Cup for Europe.

At the time of writing, McCoy is now back to 6-5 favourite for the SPOTY award generally, while McDowell is 3-1 second favourite. (Current odds here). The new world No1 golfer Lee Westwood is third favourite at around 8-1, followed by Ennis and diver Tom Daley.

The Jaguar Academy of Sport, established this year and funded by the British car maker, is a bursaries and mentoring programme with a stated aim to “recognise, celebrate and inspire the very best of British sporting talent and success.”

In its first year, it has given bursaries worth £100,000 to 35 young, aspiring athletes across a range of sports.

Five of the athletes were given awards for their achievements last night: Jade Jones (with live medal hopes for London 2012 in taekwondo), Thomas Allen (open water swimming), Sheree Cox (shooting), Kelsie Gibson (adaptive rowing) and Grace Reid (diving). More details about all 35 bursary recipients are at this link.

The academy intends to award bursaries of more than £1m in 2011, and to continue increasing its investment in British sport beyond the 2012 Olympics. Its stellar cast of patrons and ambassadors, including David Beckham, Sir Ian Botham, Gareth Edwards, Dame Kelly Holmes, Denise Lewis, Sir Steve Redgrave, Ennis, Rio Ferdinand, Steven Gerrard, Sir Chris Hoy, Lee Westwood and a growing cast of others, have been or will be involved in mentoring events in the coming years.

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More stories mentioning the Jaguar Academy

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Graeme McDowell now clear ‘Sports Personality’ favourite after Ryder Cup win

Monday, October 4th, 2010

By Nick Harris

4 October 2010

Graeme McDowell has become the clear favourite to win the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award after winning the crucial deciding match in the Ryder Cup this afternoon to regain the trophy for Europe from America.

McDowell, 31, from Portrush in Northern Ireland, was already among the leading contenders, having won the US Open at Pebble Beach in June. But after beating Hunter Mahan 3&1 in the deciding singles match this afternoon, to seal Europe’s 14 1/2 – 13 1/2 victory, McDowell’s price came in to make him clear favourite for the SPOTY award.

Others in the frame include jockey Tony McCoy, heptathlete Jess Ennis, darts player Phil Taylor, F1 driver Lewis Hamilton, and Europe’s Ryder Cup captain, Colin Montgomerie.

The last golfer to win the award was Nick Faldo in 1989.

McDowell’s favouritism shouldn’t be taken as meaning he’ll win the award; bookies’ outsiders have stormed from long odds to win in the past four years with Ryan Giggs (2009), Chris Hoy (2008), Joe Calzaghe (2007) and Zara Phillips (2006) pipping previous front-runners on the night after a public vote.

Different bookies have McDowell at different prices but a comparison at Oddschecker at the time of writing shows McDowell generally at 7-4 favourite ahead of McCoy (2-1), Ennis, Hamilton and Taylor.

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Ian Poulter feels ‘like a cash machine’ after fresh bet loss in Ryder Cup build-up

Wednesday, September 29th, 2010

By Nick Harris

29 September 2010

A day after Ian Poulter clarified, via his Twitter account, that Colin Montgomerie had not in fact banned his Ryder Cup players from tweeting during the event, the English golfer has revealed he’s lost another bet to a team-mate over the result of a practice round.

Yesterday, Poulter tweeted:  ”Great day today played with [Ross] Fisher today against [Padraig] Harrington [and Luke] Donald and the[y] cleaned us out. Need a visit to the ATM machine.”

Today he tweeted: “Practice went well again today. The Italian brother[s] [Francesco and Edoardo] took Miguel [Angel Jiminez] and my cash today. I feel like a cash machine this week.”

Poulter’s latest dispatch at about 6pm today (Wednesday) detailed how the European team were on the bus to Cardiff castle to meet “HRH”, aka Prince Charles.

Poulter is the 11th most followed tweeter in the whole of global sport, with 1.01m followers as of today. The only 10 sportspeople with more followers to date are Shaq, Lance Armstrong, Tony Hawk, Kaka, Serena Williams, Dwight Howard, Ryan Sheckler, Paul Pierce, Chad Ochocinco and Nick Swisher. A regularly updated list can he found at Famecount.

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More on social networking

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