OLYMPICS

U.S. Olympic hopefuls will be able to cut their own deals with the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee’s marketing partners under a first-of-its-kind plan that has potential to shift the top-heavy sponsorship model that rules the Olympic world.

The USOPC unveiled a program Tuesday called AMP – Athlete Marketing Program – which will give potential Olympians three ways of connecting with the federation’s sponsors. One includes a $1,250 payment in 2021 simply for signing up with an arm of the program that will produce content featuring athletes in groups of three or more.

Another part of the program allows some athletes to earn royalties on licensed merchandise with their name on it. The third part allows athletes to sign separate endorsement deals with USOPC sponsors. The entire program is voluntary. Athletes will sign up by building a profile on an online platform that sponsors and licensees can access.

“It gives you a chance to get marketing exposure you might not have had access to,” two-time Olympic champion triple jumper Christian Taylor said.

The program could augment deals that many champions such as Taylor already have, while providing a starting point for up-and-comers who haven’t hired agents or otherwise become well-known.

GOLF

PGA TOUR: Bill Haas has tested positive for the coronavirus and has withdrawn from the RSM Classic this week at Sea Island. Haas had received a sponsor exemption.

Haas is the 16th player to test positive since the PGA Tour returned from the COVID-19 pandemic in June. The RSM Classic is the 24th consecutive week of tour events, including the three majors.

Haas says he was disappointed to get the news and now wants to make sure he and his family are healthy. He must self-isolate for 10 days. The final PGA Tour event of the year is Dec. 3-6 at the Mayakoba Golf Classic in Mexico.

TENNIS

ATP FINALS: Dominic Thiem mastered the tiebreakers again to get the better of Rafael Nadal, beating the 20-time Grand Slam champion in straight sets for a second win at the ATP Finals.

Thiem clinched a 7-6 (7), 7-6 (4) win on his fifth match point in their first meeting since the Australian Open quarterfinals in January, when the Austrian player prevailed after winning three tiebreakers in a tight four-set match.

SOCCER

POSTPONED AGAIN: FIFA says the women’s Under-20 and Under-17 World Cups have been postponed for a second time because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Both tournaments will now be played in 2022. Exact dates were not confirmed. FIFA says Costa Rica will remain host of the Under-20 tournament and India will still stage the Under-17 event. Both tournaments are played every two years and were originally scheduled for 2020. They were first postponed in May.

FIFA says there were lingering concerns about preparation times for the teams “and the numerous obstacles to finalizing the continental qualification tournaments due to the pandemic.”

TECHNOLOGY: FIFA is working with technology firms to develop better visuals of offside lines and improve decision making by referees, the soccer body said Tuesday.

FIFA provided an update on its innovation panel’s work to also study semi-automated offside calls that can help match officials and develop cheaper video review systems for less wealthy competition organizers. A priority for the panel is “improvement of the visualisation of close offside incidents,” FIFA said.

The increasing use of video assistant referees has seen goals ruled out for marginal calls – including “armpit offsides” – that called into question the accuracy of on-screen graphics used to judge them. The innovation panel has received proposals from tech providers who will be supplied with data to help develop improved visuals, FIFA said.

In addition, three providers are working on semi-automated offside calls. The research, however, has been delayed by the coronavirus pandemic.


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