2020 In Review – July

It was confirmed that the Denver Broncos would become the first NFL American football team to open an in-stadium sports betting lounge after agreeing a multi-year partnership with BetMGM. The deal builds on the Broncos’ reputation as a trail-blazer in the NFL sports betting space, with the franchise announcing partnerships with Betfred USA and FanDuel in the previous month. The NFL permitted sponsorships in this category in February and legalised sports betting launched in Colorado in May.

The COVID-19 pandemic continued to have a devastating impact on the international sporting calendar, with further disruptions confirmed for several events – and their host venues. In July alone, golf’s Ryder Cup was put back to 2021, while the Africa Cup of Nations and the MLB All-Star game were postponed until 2022. The Dakar Youth Olympic Games were rescheduled for 2026, while Australia’s T20 World Cup was also postponed.

Swiss financial services company UBS acquired naming rights to the under-construction new home of the New York Islanders NHL ice hockey franchise in a deal worth a reported $275m. The 19,000-seat venue, scheduled to open in time for the 2021-22 NHL season, will officially be known as UBS Arena at Belmont Park under a 20-year agreement.

Fans attended a UK sporting event for the first time since March as 1,000 people watched a friendly cricket match between Surrey and Middlesex at the Kia Oval. The contest was one of a number of events selected by the UK government to serve as pilots for the safe return of spectators. Social distancing guidelines were in place, with fans seated on alternate rows and two-seat gaps between groups, while hand sanitiser was also available around the ground.

The Washington Redskins NFL American football team retired its controversial name and logo following a review. The move was confirmed after several of the District of Columbia’s top officials warned owner Daniel Snyder that there was no chance of the team being allowed to move to the RFK Stadium site unless the moniker is dropped. RFK Stadium is federally owned and the venue is currently undergoing demolition work. Snyder has reportedly been considering the site for a possible return when the team’s lease at FedExField expires in 2027.

Image: Denver Broncos