Facebook eyes sports for its next push in online events

A pay-per-view-like option for sports leagues wouldn’t be out of the question, apparently.

The next sports event you watch may be on Facebook.

The social network launched its paid online events product last summer, inviting some people running Facebook pages to use tools designed to create, promote, host and monetize virtual live events. Since launch, event hosts have received 100% of revenue from ticket sales through Facebook Pay. However, that is set to expire in August, after which Facebook may take a cut.

Facebook is reportedly targeting smaller leagues and sports events since the top sports leagues — such as the National Football League and National Basketball Association — are restricted by broadcast media rights. The social network sees potential for monetizing things outside of games, such as team practices or behind-the-scenes videos, Shaw told CNBC.

A Facebook spokesperson on Wednesday said the company’s paid online events feature is available to all publishers, and sports is one area where it’s being adopted.

French Open 2020: Tennis schedule, how to watch and more

Cord-cutting tennis fans have many options for livestreaming the matches on the red clay of Roland-Garros.

On the women’s side, Serena Williams will go for her 24th Grand Slam singles title to tie the legendary Margaret Court. Defending French Open champion Ash Barty is not playing due to coronavirus concerns, and Naomi Osaka is skipping the tournament with a hamstring injury, but the women’s draw is still loaded with 2018 French Open champion Simona Halep, Victoria Azarenka, Karolína Pliskova, Elina Svitolina, Sofia Kenin and Kiki Bertens all playing.

Rafael Nadal has his eye on his 13th French Open title as the tournament gets underway not in May but September this year.

First-round matches begin on Sunday, Sept. 27. The women’s final is scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 10, and men’s final is scheduled for Sunday, Oct. 11.

The tournament will be broadcast on the Tennis Channel and NBC. NBC’s new streaming service, Peacock — which is finally coming to Roku — will also show some third- and fourth-round matches from Saturday, Oct. 3 through Monday, Oct. 5.

Coverage starts at 5 a.m. ET and ends at 3 p.m. ET most days. Early round coverage is on the Tennis Channel, with NBC picking up afternoon coverage on the weekends. The men’s and women’s semifinal and final round matches are on NBC.

You can livestream the tournament on TennisChannel.com and NBCSports.com, but you will need to prove you have a pay TV subscription. Serious tennis fans can subscribe to Tennis Channel Plus for $110 a year to stream the match live from the French Open and hundreds of other tournaments.

If you don’t have a cable or satellite TV subscription, you can watch the French Open with a live-TV streaming service. For the big matches at the end of the tournament on NBC, however, you will need to make sure you can get a live feed of NBC in your area. In some markets, you can watch on-demand but not live content from NBC and the other local networks.

If you live in an area with good reception, you can watch matches on NBC for free just by attaching an affordable (under $30) indoor antenna to nearly any TV.

NBC is included in Sling TV’s $30-a-month Blue package. The Tennis Channel is part of the Sports Extra package, which you can add to Sling Blue for an extra $10 a month. Enter your address here to see which local channels are available where you live.

Read our Sling TV review.

YouTube TV costs $65 a month and includes NBC and the Tennis Channel. Plug in your ZIP code on its welcome page to see which local networks are available in your area.

Read our YouTube TV review.

FuboTV costs $65 per month and includes NBC. The $11-a-month Sports Plus package adds the Tennis Channel. Click here to see which local channels you get.

Read our FuboTV review.

AT&T TV Now’s basic $55-a-month Plus package includes NBC but there is no way to get Tennis Channel. You can use its channel lookup tool to see which local channels are available where you live.

Read our AT&T TV Now review.

Hulu with Live TV costs $55 a month and includes NBC but not the Tennis Channel. Click the “View channels in your area” link on its welcome page to see which local channels are offered in your ZIP code.

Read our Hulu with Live TV review.

Peacock offers three tiers: a limited free plan and two Premium plans. The ad-supported Premium plan costs $5 a month, and the ad-free Premium plan costs $10 a month. You need one of the Premium plans to watch French Open matches live.

Read our Peacock review.

All of the live TV streaming services above offer free trials (except Peacock, which just has a free tier), and all allow you to cancel anytime and require a solid internet connection. Looking for more information? Check out our massive streaming services guide.

How 5G played a role in the Phoenix Suns’ historic NBA title run

The wireless technology gave the team an edge when it came to crunching the data on its players to find ways for them to improve.

Chris Paul and Devin Booker during the 2021 NBA playoffs.

The new tools helped general manager James Jones and the rest of the coaching staff better evaluate player performance and adapt in real time. Ryan Resh, the Suns’ head of data analytics, credits 5G with “pushing the NBA’s boundaries” regarding how the coaches train and teach their athletes.

The Suns’ use of 5G is an example of one of the many different applications of the wireless technology beyond higher speeds on your phone. The technology, rolling out across the globe, is expected to transform many industries, including sports. Professional and college teams are installing 5G in stadiums and arenas to improve the on-site experience, and apps are emerging that let fans view replays from different angles or feel like they’re a part of the action. Teams are exploring ways to use 5G to improve the performance of the athletes themselves by quickly collecting huge amounts of data — something that isn’t possible with 4G or Wi-Fi.

“5G is allowing us to … take those movements and those analyses and make them so real-time that the process just becomes iterative and seamlessly flows into the working procedure of our coaches and our players,” Resh said in an interview.

While sports teams have been using analytics to improve player performance nearly as long as sports have existed, 5G is emerging as a new way to make that analysis even more effective. The key is the technology’s high speed and low latency. Cameras and sensors can collect data and provide insight in real time, letting coaches instruct their players on the fly or detect injuries before they become bigger problems. For the Suns, the intersection between 5G and athletics made its mark this NBA season.

“The 5G lab keeps the Suns on the cutting edge,” Jones said in a statement. “That cohesion provides our staff with unparalleled opportunities to efficiently unlock each athlete’s fullest potential.”

The need for real-time data is becoming more and more important in sports. Prior to the rollout of 5G and installation of sensors and cameras in arenas, players were used to waiting until the next day to review film highlighting in-game mistakes. While players and coaches still review film after games, the 5G lab offers data within milliseconds — something that once took several minutes to calculate.

“Coaching has been around for thousands of years, where coaches go out there and with their gut, they watch things,” Brian Mecum, vice president of device technology for Verizon, said in an interview. “Well, how about if we trust data, and how about if we flip it and trust what science is telling us by what it can measure?”

While Verizon is building 5G in more than 60 stadiums and arenas, its partnership with the Phoenix Suns is different. No other team working with Verizon uses 5G to help with real-time analytics.

5G helps the Suns coaching staff quickly gather and crunch data from three different tools. With a technology called Noah, the players are able to get real-time feedback, live and automated in-game data, and in-depth post-practice and game analytics. For instance, the practice center’s hoop is equipped with sensors that allow Noah to track the arch consistency, the depth and the left and right trajectory of the ball. Coaches will be able to compare subpar performance against a player’s peak, letting them know instantly what places or situations on a court have the best odds for sinking a shot.

“It gets down to centimeter accuracy, and it also has the ability to look at things in three dimensions [along] the X, the Y and the Z axis,” Verizon’s Mecum said. A player may not be able to tell in real time why their shots aren’t going in without the in-depth arc and angle analysis Noah provides.

“This team took and learned that sometimes players were spending too much time shooting, for example, they were taking too many shots and that was affecting the effectiveness of their shots,” Mecum said.

Adding Noah to the Sun’s practice facility has shown real results for the team. One younger player had a tough time consistently sinking his shots. With Noah and the tracking sensors installed in the rafters above the hoop, the coaching staff was able to show the player where his jump shots typically landed and where his performance was the weakest.

“That was enlightening to him because it allowed him to accept that his mechanics may not be as consistent as he wants them to be, which is not something that you really feel, in real time,” Resh said. “His work did eventually pay off in the playoffs, and he was our best three-point shooter.”

Another analytics source used by the Suns is called ShotTracker. Players and coaches are able to use a sensor-based system that generates shooting analytics stats to teams — and fans — thanks to a sensor placed on the ball. Players must also wear a small tracking device, and there are sensors in the rafters above the rim to pinpoint the location of the shot. Specifically, more than 100 sensors communicate to the coaches in real time what players are doing (or not). This allows both players and coaches to go back and review how many shots were taken and exactly where they were shot.

The final piece of the Suns’ technology expansion relates to lateral movement off the court. With the help of Simi’s motion capture cameras, coaches are able to track players’ abilities both before and after injuries. A returning player may feel they are back to normal, but coaches are able to see in real time if the player is healed or not by comparing the post-injury performance to the player’s baseline. The Suns are using Simi in the weight room to track static movements — but have hopes to one day use Simi to predict how players move on the court.

In the practice facilities, the Suns’ are also using Bertec’s 3D force plates in combination with Simi’s cameras. The Bertec plates, which players stand on, are able to track a player’s gait, jump and balance while Simi captures the movement in real time. Simi shows the coaches, the movement, while the Bertec plates provide data about pressure and other characteristics.

“While Wi-Fi can accomplish that, what 5G does is it makes it so fast [and] the latency is so low, that as soon as a player is done jumping, [the data is] there in front of them,” Resh said

Latency is the response or lag time between sending a signal and receiving one back, and 5G’s shorter latency is how it makes a difference in sports analytics.

“You want to reduce the delay as much as you can to give [people] real-time experiences,” said Technalysis Research analyst Bob O’Donnell. “Every little bit helps.”

3G networks had latencies in the hundreds of milliseconds, which is an appreciable fraction of a second. 4G networks, which enabled smartphones and all of the apps we use today, started with latencies of about 100 milliseconds and now are down to a range of about 30 milliseconds to 70 milliseconds. 5G aims to get to 1 millisecond, but it’s currently at about 20 milliseconds to 30 milliseconds, which is faster than the human eye blinks, Verizon’s Mecum said.

Fans are able to view a game from multiple camera angles.

An essential piece of the Suns’ practice facilities and arena is their use of millimeter wave 5G. MmWave is a band of radio airwaves that provides super-high speeds but can only travel short distances and gets blocked by objects like windows and trees. For sporting venues, though, those downsides aren’t an issue. Teams can easily install towers where needed in stadiums and arenas. MmWave’s ability to handle a huge number of devices on one network, at the same time, is ideal for fans during a game.

With the Suns’ stadium app, fans are able to receive feedback similar to what the coaches see while watching the game. The app is available to users with or without 5G phones. Seven different camera angles let fans view replays and real-time stats on the players. The app is available both in the stadium and at home. “You can go back and look at replays, and you’re in control instead of waiting for the jumbotron,” Mecum said.

Suns’ players and coaches are also able to get real-time feedback that lets them make live adjustments. The speeds needed to interpret this data captured during the Suns’ practice is only available over 5G, the coaching staff says. Neither Wi-Fi nor 4G can produce the results as quickly.

For now, the Suns are only using real-time analysis over 5G in the team’s practice facility. The NBA has strict guidelines surrounding what data collection is available in-game and doesn’t allow the kind of analysis the Suns perform in the practice facility.

The Suns aren’t the only ones interested in the numbers. Sports analytics bridges the gap between team stats and interpretation. When teams crunch data, the goal is almost always to figure out where performance fell short. After establishing areas in need of improvement, teams can optimize practice time using the data found from analytics. It’s a big business — the global sports analytics market size is expected to grow from $1.9 billion in 2019 to $5.2 billion by 2024, according to a report from MarketsandMarkets.

“When you are a professional athlete, standing on your feet just moving around a basketball court is actually considered work,” Resh said. “When you don’t have a ton of time to practice, you have to make your practices as efficient as possible.”

As the intersection between sports and analytics continues to grow, there is a need for 5G and real-time data, said Creative Strategies analyst Ben Bajarin. Many sporting venues are incorporating 5G and mmWave to receive feedback as quickly as possible.

Perhaps the best-known example of sports analytics was captured in the 2011 film Moneyball. The movie, based on the Oakland Athletics baseball team, explained how analysis and statistics alone could lead to victories.

Brad Pitt played then-A’s general manager Billy Beane, who put together a winning team utilizing analytics and minimal funding. He studied sabermetrics, “the objective knowledge about baseball,” to rebuild the team on a low budget. Through studying these analytics, he led his team to a 20-game winning streak, the longest one in franchise history.

While the Suns can use 5G to track performance in the practice arena, the coaches aren’t able to do such analysis in the arena. Instead, Second Spectrum exclusively partners with the NBA, as well as soccer’s Premier League and Major League Soccer, to provide in-game player tracking.

After an initial response, Second Spectrum didn’t respond to requests for comment.

Players, coaches and fans can use Second Spectrum to access years of game history and find game playbacks within seconds. The company uses machine learning and computer vision to form a tracking system. It’s able to collect 3D data live from cameras within the arenas and then generate reports showing player location, player stats and the type of play in progress.

Even though the Suns didn’t come out on top this season, the conversation around what 5G has provided is just beginning.

“That real-time feedback is what we found to be the best method of teaching and learning for our players and for our coaches,” Resh said.

CNET’s Shara Tibken contributed to this report.

Correction, 11:19 a.m. PT: This story initially misstated the Phoenix Suns’ history with the NBA Finals. The team has made it three times, in 1976, 1993 and 2021, losing each time four games to two.

March Madness Championship: How to stream Baylor vs. Gonzaga tonight on CBS

The final showdown in the NCAA’s men’s March Madness tournament takes place tonight.

The biggest game of the Big Dance airs tonight on CBS at 9:20 p.m. ET (6:20 p.m. PT). Here’s what you need to know about the 2021 men’s tournament.

Jalen Suggs, No. 1, celebrates with his Gonzaga teammates after making a game-winning three-pointer in overtime during the 2021 NCAA Final Four semifinal.

Tip-off for tonight’s contest is set for 9:20 p.m. ET (6:20 p.m. PT) on CBS.

Gonzaga, Baylor, Michigan and Illinois were the top teams in the tournament, each a No. 1 seed in their respective regions. After Illinois was knocked out early in the tourney, Michigan lost to UCLA in the Elite Eight, leaving just Gonzaga and Baylor as the only top seeds standing heading into the Final Four.

Those two teams will play for the title Monday night, but those looking to relive the tourney can find the full bracket on the NCAA’s website.

Yes, you can.

Live TV streaming services YouTube TV, Hulu Plus Live TV, FuboTV and AT&T TV all offer CBS, which is what you’ll need to catch the final game. They start at $65 per month ($70 per month for AT&T). Cheaper streaming services like Sling TV’s $35 per month Orange and Blue packages do not have CBS.

You can also get CBS with an antenna or with Paramount Plus, the new name for CBS All Access, a streaming service that runs $6 per month.

The game will be available to stream on the NCAA’s March Madness Live website and app, with the tournament’s CBS-broadcasted games — including tonight’s championship decider — available for free without needing to first authenticate with a cable provider.

YouTube TV costs $65 a month and includes CBS. Plug in your ZIP code on its welcome page to see what live, local networks are available where you live.

Hulu With Live TV costs $65 a month and includes CBS. Click the “View all channels in your area” link on its welcome page to see which local channels are offered in your ZIP code.

AT&T TV’s basic, $70-a-month package includes CBS. You can use its channel lookup tool to see if you get a live feed of CBS and the other local networks in your ZIP code.

You can watch the CBS games on Paramount Plus (formerly known as CBS All Access), if you live in one of these 206 markets where the service offers live TV. Paramount Plus costs $6 a month or $10 a month for no commercials.

FuboTV costs $60 a month and includes CBS. Click here to see which local channels you get.

Outside the US? Consider using a VPN: CNET editors choose the best VPN

The NCAA took a number of precautions to protect players, coaches and fans and to reduce the potential for COVID-19 to disrupt play. Usually, the tournament is spread all across the country in various venues, but this year, to reduce travel, all 67 men’s games are taking place in Indiana with the bulk of the action happening in Indianapolis. Teams were also required to quarantine upon arrival, and in-person attendance by fans is limited to 25% capacity to allow physical distancing.

COVID-19 also has impacted some games, with Oregon advancing past VCU in the first round due to the Rams’ having multiple positive tests.

Per the NCAA, this year’s tournament was played on two courts inside Lucas Oil Stadium (home of the NFL’s Indianapolis Colts) plus Bankers Life Fieldhouse (home of the NBA’s Indiana Pacers), Hinkle Fieldhouse (Butler’s stadium), Indiana Farmers Coliseum (home of the IUPUI Jaguars), Mackey Arena in West Lafayette (Purdue’s arena) and Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall in Bloomington (home of the Indiana Hoosiers).

The National Championship will take place at Lucas Oil Stadium.

On March 18, the NCAA tweeted out more images of this year’s floor layout for the courts at Lucas Oil Stadium.

Kevin Costner visits Field of Dreams ahead of real Yankees, White Sox game

If you build it, Major League Baseball will come. And so will Costner.

Kevin Costner starred in Field of Dreams in 1989.

Don’t expect any ghosts of former pro players to appear at the game. It will be a real game that counts in the regular season standings, and will air on the Fox network with a pregame show set to kick off at 3 p.m. PT.

The Field of Dreams is ready to host a real MLB game.

MLB built a temporary 8,000-seat ballpark at the Dyersville farm where the movie was filmed. The new field is located near the current tourist ballpark site and has a view of the surrounding cornfield. “We look forward to celebrating the movie’s enduring message of how baseball brings people together at this special cornfield in Iowa,” commissioner Rob Manfred told MLB.com when the game was announced in 2019.

Costner got in on the nostalgia with a visit to the field. MLB shared a video on Wednesday of the actor walking around on the grass and taking in the sights. “Wow. This is perfect. Every bit of it,” Costner said. “Felt so good to be back,” Costner tweeted when sharing a photo of himself playing catch.

MLB posted a scenic photo of corn, lights and a sign with the phrase “If you build it…” as it hyped up the game on social media on Thursday.

The New York Yankees team Twitter account shared a photo gallery of its own that shows off the verdant green field, stands and signage.

Fans have long made pilgrimages to the Iowa farm where the movie was set. This for-real MLB game will elevate the dream to an even higher level. Is this heaven? No, it’s Iowa.

Originally published Aug. 8, 11:24 a.m. PT.

Tokyo Summer Olympics bars overseas spectators

COVID-19 is to blame, say the organizers. Ticket holders will get their money back.

Originally set for 2020, the games have been delayed by the pandemic.

Originally set to take place from July 24 through Aug. 9, 2020, the Olympics were pushed back a year because of the coronavirus and rescheduled for July 23 through Aug. 8, 2021. The Paralympics were also delayed and are now set to run from Aug. 24 through Sept. 5, 2021.

The organizers noted Saturday that emerging coronavirus variants continue to raise concern and that the situation with COVID-19 in Japan and elsewhere remains challenging. They also pointed to severe international travel restrictions put in place by countries around the world and said overseas travelers may well be prohibited from entering Japan this summer.

Read more: Fear and COVID in hotel quarantine: What it’s like flying overseas right now

They said they made the decision about international spectators “to give clarity to ticket holders living overseas and to enable them to adjust their travel plans.” Information on how to get a refund will be made available soon, the organizers added.

“We will continue to do our utmost to deliver a safe and secure Games,” they said, “in the hopes that the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 will be a light of hope for people all over the world.”

European Super League: Man United, Liverpool, Chelsea, Spurs, Arsenal, Inter Milan and Man City all drop out

The controversial European Super League is crumbling.

Liverpool, among others, have left the proposed European Super League project.

The negativity was a direct response to a league that had the potential to wreak havoc on the traditional structures of European soccer, made up of domestic leagues like the English Premier League, Spain’s La Liga and Italy’s Serie A. The European Super League was designed to protect up to 15 founding members — the most powerful teams across Europe’s most powerful domestic leagues — from the relegation/promotion pyramid structure that anchors all of European soccer. A structure that goes all the way from the lowest levels of domestic soccer, all the way through to the Champions League, the biggest prize in club soccer.

Real Madrid President Florentino Perez was named as the inaugural chairman of the European Super League. It was his intent, he stated, to secure the future of soccer, not undermine it.

“We will help football at every level and take it to its rightful place in the world,” Perez said in a statement Sunday. “Football is the only global sport in the world with more than 4 billion fans and our responsibility as big clubs is to respond to their desires.”

Read more: How to watch Premier League games live in the US without cable

But in the wake of the initial announcement, UEFA and FIFA — which runs the existing Champions League competition and the World Cup respectively — threatened clubs and players participating in the European Super League with removal from all other competitions, including the World Cup.

“I cannot stress more strongly how everyone is united against these disgraceful, self-serving proposals, fuelled by greed above all else,” UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin said at a press conference Monday, as reported by the BBC. “Players who will play in the teams that might play in the closed league will be banned from the World Cup and Euros.”

“This idea is a spit in the face of all football lovers. We will not allow them to take it away from us.”

Here’s everything you need to know about the European Super League.

Six teams from the English Premier League, three from La Liga and three clubs from Serie A all initially signed up, making for 12 clubs. In the wake of fan outrage, over half of these clubs have withdrawn.

The original list of the founding clubs was as follows…

Where are teams from the French and German leagues? Teams like Bayern Munich from Germany and Paris Saint-Germain from France are undoubtedly among the biggest and best teams in Europe. Bayern and its German rival Borussia Dortmund announced Monday they are committed to the existing Champions League, which unveiled reforms Monday for the 2024 season. PSG is owned by the royal family of Qatar, which is holding the next World Cup and therefore unlikely to go against the soccer establishment.

Following backlash in response to the announcement, all Premier League teams have announced plans to drop out. Manchester City has confirmed it has “formally enacted the procedures to withdraw from the group developing plans for a European Super League,” with Chelsea to reportedly follow suit.

Manchester United’s controversial executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward has also announced his resignation following the backlash. Manchester United has also officially dropped out of the European Super League.

Liverpool also stated that its “involvement in proposed plans to form a European Super League has been discontinued.”

Arsenal and Spurs have both officially announced they’re leaving.

“We regret the anxiety and upset caused by the ESL proposal,” said Daniel Levy, chairman of Tottenham Hotspur. “We felt it was important that our club participated in the development of a possible new structure that sought to better ensure financial fair play and financial sustainability whilst delivering significantly increased support for the wider football pyramid.”

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson commented on the decision of English clubs to withdraw from the league.

“The decision by Chelsea and Manchester City is — if confirmed — absolutely the right one and I commend them for it,” he tweeted. “I hope the other clubs involved in the European Super League will follow their lead.”

Inter Milan has also become the first non-English team to officially remove itself from the European Super League.

In response, an official statement from the European Super League was sent out.

“The European Super League is convinced that the current status quo of European football needs to change,” read the statement.

“We are proposing a new European competition because the existing system does not work.

“Our proposal is aimed at allowing the sport to evolve while generating resources and stability for the full football pyramid, including helping to overcome the financial difficulties experienced by the entire football community as a result of the pandemic.

“Given the current circumstances, we shall reconsider the most appropriate steps to reshape the project, always having in mind our goals of offering fans the best experience possible while enhancing solidarity payments for the entire football community.”

According to original plans, the new competition was to feature 20 clubs made up of 15 founding clubs, with an option for five further clubs to qualify based on previous seasons’ achievements. (The details were currently murky on what those “achievements” actually mean.)

Each team was to continue to take part in domestic leagues, with European Super League matches taking place midweek. Two groups of 10 would take part in home and away matches, with the top three in each group automatically qualifying for a knockout stage. Teams who placed fourth and fifth in each league would compete in a two-leg match to see who qualifies for knockout stages.

Then, those remaining eight teams were set to take part in two-leg knockout format to reach a single final, which would take place at a neutral stadium. A women’s version of this league was also apparently in the works.

At least, that’s how the founding teams hope things would work. Both UEFA and FIFA came out against the league. FIFA backed UEFA, which means participating players may potentially be banned from representing their countries at this summer’s European Championships and next year’s World Cup, competitions run by those international bodies.

“If this were to happen, we wish to reiterate that we — UEFA, the English FA, RFEF, FIGC, the Premier League, LaLiga, Lega Serie A, but also FIFA and all our member associations — will remain united in our efforts to stop this cynical project, a project that is founded on the self-interest of a few clubs at a time when society needs solidarity more than ever,” UEFA said in a statement.

“We will consider all measures available to us, at all levels, both judicial and sporting in order to prevent this happening. Football is based on open competitions and sporting merit; it cannot be any other way.”

The teams involved were aiming for an August 2021 start.

Given the controversy and the reaction of FIFA, UEFA and the fact almost all of the teams have now removed themselves from the project, it would be surprising if the European Super League started at all.

Reaction to the announcement of the European Super League was almost universally negative. The hashtag #RIPfootball rapidly trended on Twitter as did the phrase #disgusting and #embarrassing. People were very angry about this.

Some wanted to organize protests. Ultimately, thousands went to protests at various stadiums across Europe.

Former players such as England and Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand were quick to condemn the clubs involved, including ones they played for.

High-profile current players spoke out, such as PSG’s Ander Herrera.

Liverpool’s James Milner also spoke out against the league after a recent match with Leeds United.

“I don’t like it and I hope it doesn’t happen,” he said.

Eventually that became the collective response of most Liverpool players as many posted the following message on social media platforms: “We don’t like it and we don’t want it to happen. This is our collective position.”

Jurgen Klopp, the current manager of Liverpool, had previously spoken out on opposition to a European Super League when it was first being talked about. “My opinion didn’t change,” he said in a post-match interview with Sky Sports.

The European Super League illustrates the money issues many believe continue to threaten soccer as a sport. Unlike sports leagues like the NBA, which operate with salary caps, clubs at the top of leagues like the EPL or La Liga have been allowed to spend with impunity. This means they can solidify a position at the top of the game and rule over smaller clubs with an iron fist. Clubs at the lower end of big leagues can’t compete.

Neither can top clubs in smaller European leagues in Holland, Scotland, Switzerland or Portugal. The evolution of football over the last 20 years has made it difficult for former giants of the sport like Ajax of Amsterdam or Celtic of Glasgow to compete for major prizes like the Champion’s League. Given the structure of the European Super League, even getting the chance to play would be next to impossible.

For perspective, each founding member of this club was expected to take home $400 million for taking part in this league. That’s roughly four times what a team would receive for winning the Champions League, currently the most prestigious tournament in world club soccer.

For many, including former player and current broadcaster Gary Neville, the whole thing felt anti-competitive. Unlike most other soccer leagues, the founding clubs of the European Super League would not face the threat of relegation if they sit at the bottom of the table.

There’s also the issue of team choice. Teams appear to have been chosen based on fan base and income, as opposed to performance. Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal, currently in seventh and ninth place respectively in the English Premier League, were two of the teams selected, despite the fact smaller clubs like Leicester City and West Ham have outperformed them this year.

UK Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden reportedly said the British government would do “whatever it takes” to stop the English teams from taking part in the European Super League Monday. Dowden also reportedly accused the six clubs of deciding to “put money before fans.”

Considering the longer game, many were worried about the potential impact on grassroots football. The current format of soccer, which favors teams in leagues with huge TV deals like the EPL and La Liga, have seen many teams decline. The European Super League would exacerbate that process. For fans of the sport, this feels like the culmination of soccer as a rich get richer, poor get poorer proposition.

“I do not believe the Super League will solve the financial problems of European clubs that have arisen as [a] result of the coronavirus pandemic,” Bayern Munich CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said Monday, instead pushing solidarity from European football and the “reliable foundation” of the Champions League.

In the wake of the announcement, Jose Mourinho, the high-profile manager of Tottenham Hotspur, has been sacked alongside all of his coaching staff.

Mourinho has yet to release a statement on the reasons for his dismissal, and it’s possible the two decisions are unconnected, but he has spoken negatively on the idea of a “super league” in the past.

Surfing at the Tokyo Olympics: How to watch and what to know

Surfing is [cough] making waves at the Tokyo Olympics.

Surfing will make its Olympic debut at the Tokyo Games in Japan. Athletes will surf at Tsurigasaki Beach in Chiba, Japan.

Check out the full Olympic schedule of events here.

There are many types of surfboards, but the primary categories include shortboard and longboard. Olympic surfers will use shortboards, which are known for their pointed noses and excellent maneuverability.

The Olympics are back on NBC, with a 24/7 stream online if you verify you’re a cable subscriber. NBCSports Gold will have a dedicated Olympics package — pay an upfront fee and you’ll be able to watch anywhere, uninterrupted by ads.

Tokyo is 16 hours ahead of the West Coast, so watching live should get a good spread of events. It’s a little trickier on the East Coast, where you may have to rely on highlights.

US residents don’t need a cable or satellite TV subscription in order to watch the Olympics on NBC’s family of channels. NBC itself will be the main channel, but you’ll also find coverage on NBCN, CNBC, USA Network, Olympics Channel, Golf Channel and Telemundo. The major live TV streaming services include most or all of these NBC-related channels, and each one includes NBC though not in every market. The Olympics will also stream in 4K HDR on two of the services, FuboTV and YouTube TV.

Surfing consists primarily of two disciplines: shortboard and longboard. At the Tokyo Olympics, all athletes will surf shortboard. A shortboard refers to any board that’s shorter than seven feet in length. They usually have a pointed nose and are lightweight. They’re designed to be quick and accurate, and are more suited to fast and powerful waves than are longboards.

Judges will rate athletes on the type and difficulty of maneuvers performed. One example of an advanced surfing move is the aerial, where a surfer finds a ramp within a wave and launches off of the lip, gains air and lands back on the face of the wave. For even more jaw drops, a surfer would spin in a complete circle while in the air and still manage to land gracefully — a surfing move known as the 360.

The judges will also account for speed, power and flow. Like other Olympic events, judges will score surfers from 1 to 10 with two decimals, for example, 7.91.

Only one surfer may ride a wave at any given time, and athletes may lose points for failing to use common surfer etiquette, which rules that the surfer closest to the peak of a wave has right of way for that wave.

Carl Nassib is first active NFL player to come out as gay: What to know

Nassib, who plays with the Las Vegas Raiders, donates $100,000 to the Trevor Project, a nonprofit focused on LGBTQ+ suicide prevention.

“I just think that representation and visibility are so important,” Carl Nassib said.

“I actually hope that one day videos like this and the whole coming out process are just not necessary, but until then I’m going to do my best to cultivate a culture that’s accepting and compassionate.”

Nassib also donated $100,000 to the Trevor Project, a US nonprofit that focuses on suicide prevention efforts among LGBTQ+ youth. June is Pride Month.

Although Nassib is the first active NFL player to come out, Michael Sam, another defensive end, came out as gay in 2014. He was drafted by the St. Louis Rams in 2014 but ultimately didn’t make the final roster after playing in the pre-season.

Other NFL players, like David Kopay and Roy Simmons, came out as gay after retiring from the NFL. Simmons said he never came out during his playing career for fear of destroying his career. “The NFL has a reputation,” he once said, “and it’s not even a verbal thing — it’s just known.”

Carl Nassib is a defensive end who currently plays for the NFL team the Las Vegas Raiders. He is a five-season veteran of the NFL, having previously played for the Cleveland Browns and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

He played for Penn State Nittany Lions in College and was extremely successful, becoming a consensus All American and winning the Hendricks Award for the nation’s top defensive end in 2015. He also received the Lombardi Award as the best college football lineman or linebacker.

In March 2020, Nassib signed a three-year, $25 million contract with the Las Vegas Raiders.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said he was “proud” of Nassib for “sharing his truth.”

“Representation matters,” he said. “We share his hope that someday soon statements like his will no longer be newsworthy as we march toward full equality for the LGBTQ+ community. We wish Carl the best of luck this coming season.”

The Raiders also showed their support. “Proud of you Carl,” the team tweeted.

While some social media reaction has sadly been focused on Nassib’s coming out not being an important issue, most have universally supported the athlete.

“I am just one person,” said Nassib. “I am a lanky walk-on who is living his dream. Thank you everyone for your support.”