Premier League rights deal to LinkedIn gets quirky.

The Takeaway is Trippant’s round-up of essential stories on communications trends in sport, entertainment and experience.  

This week: the Premier League renews, GTA returns, IMG looks ahead, Kiss go virtual, Rowena Samarasinhe talks to The Story Board, LinkedIn gets weird, and much more.

The Independent on a new Premier League rights deal 

For the world’s most lucrative domestic football competition, the home broadcast picture is now set for the rest of the decade. 

England’s Premier League has confirmed media rights deals in the UK until 2029, with long-term partner Sky Sports taking an expanded selection of games and TNT Sports – the joint venture between BT Sport and Eurosport owner Warner Bros Discovery – staying on as the junior player. 

A £6.7 billion headline figure is good news for clubs, albeit at a lower rights fee per game, but what does it all mean for fans? And what does the absence of a successful streaming-first or big tech bidder mean for the rest of the sports industry?  

SportsPro on the rise of WhatsApp channels

For countless sports fans, dedicated and curated WhatsApp groups are increasingly to following their favourite teams and events. That brings friends and family together around shared passions but, for the most part, brands have been kept outside the circle. 

WhatsApp Channels is Meta’s attempt to bring its partners into all the conversation that has migrated to the platform. Formula One’s Mercedes, Matchroom Boxing and a host of football clubs are among those to try it out so far.   

IMG serves up its digital trends for 2024

In UK sport, Seven League has come to set the early agenda for the new year with its Digital Trends Report. And it’s a festive tradition that has continued, with gusto, now that the agency has been fully absorbed into the IMG family. 

Smarter stadiums, less ‘social’ media, AI-infused creativity, women’s sport, personalisation and the rise of the ‘mega-influencer’ are just some of the things to keep track of in 2024.

The Athletic on Ineos’ plans for Manchester United

Results on the pitch have been more miss than hit for Manchester United recently but the Premier League giants’ tortuous ownership saga could at least be at an end in the weeks to come. 

British chemicals billionaire Sir Jim Ratcliffe is soon expected to complete a deal for a 25 per cent stake in the club, taking control of sporting operations in the process. That will bring United into an Ineos portfolio that is already active in cycling, athletics, motorsport and athletics, with a mixed and intriguing track record.

The Times on sport’s YouTube blindspot

YouTube is where much of the internet spends most of its video-watching life, so it’s naturally the place for tens of millions of people to find highlights and other sports content. 

Not all of it gets there via the proper channels, and rights owners often face a delicate balance between protecting their commercial interests and encouraging greater reach. Still, with popular rugby and cricket channels feeling the legal squeeze, are some organisations getting that approach wrong? 

Rowena Samarasinhe joins The Story Board

In the latest of a series of conversations about sport and other professional challenges, Rowena Samarasinhe talks to The Story Board podcast and Trippant head of content Eoin Connolly about her rich and varied sports business career. 

She discusses her roles as an athlete, commercial lawyer, prolific consultant, public speaker, non-executive director and adviser to startups –  along with the economic climate for young companies, the push for greater diversity, sport’s social impact, and the value of empathy.

The Verge on Saudi Arabia’s gaming strategy

The Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia’s seismic, controversial investments in sport and entertainment have been a defining theme of the past couple of years, and its interest in the video game industry can no longer be overlooked. 

Its initial forays into esports were sceptically received but the kingdom has persisted, stringing together minority investments in the likes of Nintendo, Take-Two, EA and Activision Blizzard while also pouring money into other developers and promoters. If nothing else, it is another statement of a desire to put Saudi Arabia at the centre of things. 

The BBC on the GTA 6 trailer drop

One of the biggest video game series of all time is back – almost. 

After an online leak forced an early reveal, Rockstar Games has released the trailer for GTA VI, the latest, very long-awaited instalment of the smash hit Grand Theft Auto series. The game itself is not due for release until 2025, close to 12 years after the debut of GTA V. 

That title has sold over 190 million copies across various platforms and continues to sustain a thriving online community. So as well as offering a technical update and a 2020s take on the series’ uncompromising satire and scabrous themes, GTA VI is sure to be a bedrock of gaming culture for years to come. 

Business Insider on LinkedIn’s funny turn

It is not too long since LinkedIn was a dry, quiet forum for the straightforward exchange of business contacts and job listings. But with its thought leadership ecosystem flourishing – and certain other social platforms providing a, shall we say, challenging environment – more and more users are spending time there. 

So LinkedIn is becoming a space for more personal connections and reflections, with some profoundly unexpected effects.  

Fast Company on the Kiss set to last forever

Legendary rockers Kiss have been saying a characteristically loud farewell for over 58 months – and now it is never going to end.

As their End of the Road World Tour played its final encore at Madison Square Garden last week, the group unveiled the Abba Voyage-style cadre of holographic avatars that will replace them. It is another glimpse of the future of some of the world’s favourite live music acts.  

Trippant champions people and storytelling to grow businesses across sport, entertainment and experience. If you want to see what we can do for you, head to our website.

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