Trippant Takeaways.

Golf’s shock merger, the Saudi transfer strategy, Messi in Miami, Apple’s big ducking idea, Barbie’s rebound and 20 years of podcasts all feature in a bumper helping of Trippant Takeaways, our round-up of stories on communications trends in sport, tech, entertainment and media.

The Ringer and The Times on golf’s mega-merger

It was the deal no one saw coming — even those who did see it coming, probably, eventually.

The PGA Tour, the DP World Tour and Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) confirmed on Tuesday, out of nowhere, that they would merge their interests in men’s professional golf into a single commercial entity. At a stroke, that should end two years of legal battles and bitter public rows between the established golf bodies and the Saudi-backed LIV Golf breakaway, which has signed some leading players to eye-poppingly expensive contracts — albeit without yet attracting many fan eyeballs.

Still, the sudden nature of the resolution — reached without the prior knowledge of those players who stayed loyal to the two main tours — leaves many unanswered questions about golf’s future, sportswashing, and the point of the whole dispute.

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The New York Times on Saudi’s football revolution

Before that stunning golf news dropped, a major Saudi announcement had already shaken the world of club football. Four Saudi Pro League teams are now under PIF ownership, clearing the way for a massive transfer spree.

French striker Karim Benzema has already confirmed a move from Real Madrid to Al-Ittihad, with more top names expected to join Cristiano Ronaldo and make the league a centre for thirtysomething talent in a football-mad nation. It is all part of a strategic latticework of sporting projects that will continue to be far-reaching, controversial and completely unignorable.

The Athletic on Messi League Soccer

There is one player, however, that the Saudi Pro League has missed out on.

Lionel Messi has passed up a move to the Middle East and a return to Barcelona to join MLS strugglers Inter Miami. His arrival in Florida was reportedly smoothed by a discounted team ownership offer and even a cut of Apple TV+ subscriptions. It is being hailed as maybe the most important signing in US football history — bigger, even, than David Beckham and Pelé.


Reuters on Fifa’s carbon cop-out

World football governing body Fifa made misleading statements about Qatar 2022 being its first carbon-neutral World Cup, according to the Swiss Fairness Commission.

The regulator — which upheld complaints from Switzerland, France, Belgium, the UK and the Netherlands — does not have the power to punish Fifa but the impact on messaging around other sports events could be revealing.

The Economist and Fast Company on the Apple Vision Pro play

Even in the high-gloss surrounds of a big corporate product launch, there are moments where an audience can give the game away.

This week Apple gave the world an extended glimpse at its next generation of digital experiences when it finally unveiled the Apple Vision Pro AR headset. But the announcement of a $3499 price tag — and the audible gasp that accompanied it — confirmed this will not be a future the average consumer shares in any time soon.

For now, the signal appears to be that Apple is targeting businesses, software developers and luxury early adopters as it explores the possibilities of the ‘spatial computing’ category.

Insider on the books ChatGPT reads

Researchers have compiled a list of the top 50 copyrighted books that ChatGPT-4 has been trained on. Can the process help to prevent intellectual property infringement by AI systems? And what does it say about the influence of those books in the existing wider internet?

The Drum on the Barbie bounce-back at Mattel

Back in 2015, iconic doll brand Barbie faced declining sales and an uncertain future. Today, its revenues have rebounded to record levels and it is the subject of one of the most talked-about movies of the summer.

Mattel president and COO Richard Dickson explains the reinvention that made it all possible.

The Guardian on two decades of podcasting

The first podcast was published in June 2003 and in the 20 years since, they have conquered the mainstream while exploring every niche, bringing unusual voices to the fore and playing with formats that tell stories, spark insights or just kill time.

The medium is still growing but with so much competition out there, how will it evolve next?


The Independent on a big ducking change on iPhone

The Vision Pro was not the only update from Apple at its Worldwide Developers’ Conference this week. Its latest smartphone software, iOS17, features an improved autocorrect function to enable better predictive typing and — for the irritable and expressive — a less aggressive approach to censorship.

About ducking time.

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