Help yourselves to another order of Trippant Takeaways, picking out stories that highlight striking communications trends across sport, tech, entertainment and culture. This time: an extraordinary Fifa Women’s World Cup sponsorship, high-tech surfing, surprising signage, a happy blue dog, a slap in the face, and much more.
The New York Times on Fifa, Saudi Arabia and the limits of sponsorship
The influence of Saudi Arabia on the sports and entertainment industry is now hard to miss and its relationship with Fifa, world football’s governing body, has also grown close.
Still, even in that context, the country’s latest commercial venture looks pretty bold: a major sponsorship deal for its Visit Saudi tourist board with the Fifa Women’s World Cup 2023, due to take place in Australia and New Zealand this July and August.
The Saudi track record on women’s and LGBTQ+ rights has led the Australian former Fifa official Moya Dodd to describe the reported move as “deeply perplexing”, while blindsided local organisers have spent the week seeking clarification. Could Fifa, fresh from a men’s World Cup in a country whose women’s team have not played an official match since 2014, be ready to put a different spin on things?
The Times on life at the top for Novak Djokovic
Novak Djokovic is the best tennis player in the world. He could this year become the most successful men’s tennis player of all time. He is also much-admired — words chosen carefully — around the world.
As a still-productive career approaches its final phase, the gap between the 35-year-old’s achievements and the affection he receives is somehow still growing — a trend that has only accelerated since an apparent heel turn in the Covid era. But none of that will stop Djokovic being the best, or making the best of it.
Autosport on ChatGPT and the F1 paddock
After the flurry of excitement around ChatGPT, the news cycle is carrying speculation around AI from galaxy-brained long-termism to more grounded practical applications.
And that conversation could be especially important for one highly tech-infused sport: Formula 1.
The Guardian on a new wave of surfing innovation
Between a surging digital presence and the mainstream acknowledgement of a place at the Olympics, it has been a transformative decade for surfing.
With a new World Surf League season arriving — replete with an unprecedented Apple Watch sponsorship deal — the sport could be about to reach another level.
The Drum on Nike’s engagement with Tiffany
High-low brand collaborations have become a marketing staple and the most anticipated and dissected of 2023 so far is Nike’s footwear launch with LVMH-owned luxury retailer Tiffany & Co.
Leaked images of the Nike x Tiffany Air Force 1 Low drew a muted reaction on social media but as some commentators have told The Drum, that does not necessarily mean the strategy has gone off course.
Vice on some eye-opening content
Should it be left to a millionaire YouTube influencer to pay for surgery that cures a thousand ordinary Americans of blindness? Of course not. But, Vice says, there is something to be learned in seeing MrBeast work that out for himself.
Wired on the kids’ show that’s not just for parents
Few people are as grateful for on-demand entertainment as those raising small children but when it comes to supervised viewing, toddler TV varies in tolerability.
One show hailed by parents as not just bearable but brilliant is Bluey: an Australian animated series about a family of anthropomorphic dogs. It’s so good, in fact, that an emerging online community of grown-ups are watching without kids’ permission.
The New Yorker on Power Slap
Two rivals face off… then slap each other. Is this sport stripped down to its essence or past the point of absurdity?
Fast Company on a sign of the times
Split-flap sign boards loomed over the concourses of train stations and airports for decades before being mostly digitised out of existence. Now, app-controlled iterations are introducing their familiar pitter-patter updates to some unexpected settings — from Big Tech offices to cannabis dispensaries.
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