I’ve got the beers in for the Carabao* Cup final on Sunday – that’s the Football League Cup in old money – though I see that the sponsors make “a low calorie fruity energy drink….with half the sugar of Red Bull” (not that that would be difficult – I tried the “gives you wings” tipple once when they sponsored the last six holes at European Tour events and found it undrinkable, more likely to make me stumble than soar). Still, they seem to be doing OK in Formula One, not the cheapest of sports to fund.
[*A carabao is a “domestic, swamp-type water buffalo” hence the featured picture. Congrats to anyone who spotted the connection.]
Sitting here writing this, I’m feeling slightly guilty about watching this match at all. It’s between Manchester City, currently the best team in England, aiming to win this competition (the least important on their list) for the fourth time in a row, apparently and Tottenham Hotspur, my club for more than 50 years, who’ve just sacked their manager Jose Mourinho but are in dire need of a trophy of any sort after years of flattering to deceive.
Worse, both City and Spurs were involved in the European Super League shambles, the excoriated elitist semi breakaway that collapsed before it really started, buried, perhaps temporarily, under a tsunami of scorn, fury, horror, whatever, from fans, governing bodies, government. I felt ashamed that my lot were involved in something so self-serving that smacked, in our case, of delusions of grandeur but why should I have expected anything else?
Professional sport is all about money, so why be outraged when those who already have a lot – although the pandemic has taken its toll of the pounds and the pennies and the sainted bottom line – want more? And to hell with everyone else.
Or is it really that simple? I was never a blonde and am not always dumb but the whole thing is puzzling. Why make the announcement when they (the dirty dozen intent on super stardom) did? And then realise that it was so cock-eyed and unpopular (to say the least) that they pulled out right away? They’re supposedly intelligent, successful businessmen, have they a hidden agenda; is there a cunning plan? Or did they just completely misjudge the public mood? They’re so used to making shedloads of money that they’ve forgotten that they can lose it too? Are all their advisers useless? Does the owners’ contempt for the fans know no bounds? (Probably not.) What will the fall-out be? Is modern sport unsustainable and unaffordable?
Football likes to ride roughshod over most other sports, dominating the telly, radio, whatever newspapers remain, hoovering up the mega sponsorships, paying massive transfer fees and salaries to the select few, maintaining a huge gap between the haves and have-nots. Moderation in all things? You’ve got to be kidding. What planet are you on?
Here I am hyperventilating about football and its inherent greediness and then we hear about the PGA Tour and its Player Impact Program(me), a bonus pool of $40 million for the ten biggest needle-movers, heaven help us. They will be decided by an Impact Score determined by five criteria (or metrics): a player’s popularity in Google Search; his Nielsen Brand Exposure rating (don’t ask); his Q Rating (appeal, apparently); his MVP Index rating (engagement on social and digital channels); and his Meltwater Mentions (frequency he generates coverage across media platforms).
I’ve copied this from golfchannel.com, who got it from Golfweek I believe and it makes me sick to my stomach, perhaps because it makes me realise that I’m a complete dinosaur, incapable of making sense of the gobbledygook or getting to grips with a concept that exists solely to make exceedingly rich people even richer. And no doubt their accountants have already worked out how to make sure that their clients pay next-to-no tax – no squeezing them and their PIP “earnings” until the pips squeak.
Based on figures from 2019, we’re talking about Tiger Woods (no one “moves the needle” like he does), Rory McIlroy, Brooks Koepka, Phil Mickelson, Rickie Fowler, Jordan Spieth, Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas, Justin Rose and Adam Scott. No doubt the PGA Tour will keep us posted as to who is up there in the rankings now – unbeknownst to most of us the PIP started at the beginning of this year.
Rose was asked for his thoughts about it and said: “…..you do want to incentivise the top players to create content. It’s very easy for the top players to say no because it doesn’t serve them. So if you are looking at content creation….that’s where it’s coming down to these days. So if it serves the fan and if it serves the game of golf…..then it’s probably a good thing for everybody….”
Blimey O’Reilly. This fan can take no more. The jig is up. The pros really have gone beyond me.
Ah well, at least there’s still the game itself and the joy of playing with friends, sometimes for money, mostly not, just the drinks and the bragging rights.
Still on the subject of money, I’ve just read a rather heartening article called Payback Time by Rupert Neate in The Guardian Weekly. There are, surprisingly, some super-rich people (multi-millionaires and billionaires) who are in favour of a wealth tax to help fund the recovery after the pandemic. Abigail Disney, the granddaughter of Roy, brother of Walt, has always been, she says, “too rich”. She is a member of the Patriotic Millionaires movement, a group keen to persuade governments to “raise taxes on people like us. Immediately. Substantially. Permanently.”
Blimey O’Reilly. Perhaps there is hope after all.