Update on the latest sports
Virtual NFL draft kicks off Thursday night
UNDATED (AP) – The virtual NFL draft begins Thursday night. And not since the NFL draft became a televised event in 1980 has it been stripped to the basics like this one.
Selectors will work from their homes as a safeguard against the coronavirus. Prospects will be at their homes, too. Commissioner Roger Goodell won’t be sharing hugs with any of the 32 first-rounders as usual. Instead, he will offer his congratulations remotely.
Fifty-eight prospects will take part remotely with video kits supplied by the NFL that will record their reactions to being selected. The kits include two cell phones, two light stands, a pair of tripods, a headset for interviews and a microphone. One of the phone cameras will be on the entire time until the player is selected, while another will be used for interviews with ESPN, the NFL Network and Goodell.
The draft wraps up Saturday.
Incentive deal to move Carolina Panthers to S.C. approved
ROCK HILL, S.C. (AP) – A county in South Carolina has approved a deal loaded with tax breaks for the Carolina Panthers to move their headquarters and practice site.
News outlets report that the York County Council approved the deal in a 4-3 vote after listening to public comments during their virtual meeting on Monday. It follows a series of moves the state has made to attract the team’s headquarters. They’ll continue to play their games in Charlotte, North Carolina.
The approved deal will give the Panthers relief from all property taxes in the City of Rock Hill for 20 to 25 years, according to the York County Council.
The Panthers first announced the move to Rock Hill last June during a celebration with Panthers owner David Tepper and several South Carolina politicians including Gov. Henry McMaster.
MLB-MINOR LEAGUE CONTRACTION
MLB, minors term talks constructive, stop sniping for now
NEW YORK (AP) – The tone of talks for a new agreement governing the relationship between baseball’s major and minor leagues took a positive turn when the bickering sides met electronically for about an hour and later issued a joint statement that termed the session “constructive.”
Negotiators for the governing body of the minor leagues asked questions during Wednesday’s session about what the administrative structure would be if Major League Baseball takes over their operation next year, according to a person familiar with the talks. The person told The Associated Press that MLB deputy commissioner Dan Halem did most of the talking during the one-hour electronic meeting and the sides did not address MLB’s proposal to cut the minimum total of affiliated minor league teams to 120. That is the most contentious issue in talks to replace the Professional Baseball Agreement that expires after this season.
In a joint statement Thursday, the sides said “The parties are continuing their discussions, with the goal of concluding a mutually beneficial long-term agreement in the near future.”
No date was set for the next meeting.
OLYMPICS-COLLECTIVE BARGAINING SURVEY
Study: Olympians should push for collective bargaining
UNDATED (AP) – A study of Olympic spending patterns concludes that athletes who compete at the games are woefully underpaid. It says they would be best served by banding together to create the sort of collective-bargaining arrangement commonly found in the pros.
The study of the worldwide Olympic bureaucracy’s finances concludes there’s far more money available for athletes than what they receive. It says the IOC averages $1.4 billion a year in revenues and spends only about 4% of it on athletes. Leagues such as the NFL and the Premier League spend between 40% and 60% of their revenue on players.
The study was a collaboration between the Global Athlete advocacy group and the Ryerson University Ted Rogers School of Management in Toronto.
‘Kentucky Derby at home’ will be online party
UNDATED (AP) – Churchill Downs will recognize the first Saturday in May with a “Kentucky Derby at Home” online party, highlighted by a virtual Derby featuring 13 former Triple Crown winners in an effort to raise $2 million for COVID-19 relief.
The 146th Kentucky Derby was postponed from May 2 to Sept. 5 because of public health concerns about pandemic, the first time horse racing’s marquee event won’t run on its traditional day since 1945. The computer-generated Derby created by Inspired Entertainment will feature past Triple Crown champions using data algorithms, including historical handicapping information for each horse to determine the probability of potential finishing positions.
Participants who choose the winner will have the chance to win a Kentucky Derby VIP Experience. The virtual Derby will be shown May 2 on NBC during a special broadcast featuring the 2015 Kentucky Derby, when American Pharoah began his Triple Crown run.
In other developments related to the coronavirus pandemic:
– New York Jets chairman and CEO Christopher Johnson and his family are making an additional $2 million donation to support the COVID-19 relief response in New York and New Jersey. The Johnson family and the Jets last month made a joint $1 million donation to multiple local United Way agencies to help combat the pandemic. The latest contribution, announced by the Jets on Thursday, will provide funding to the Food Bank of New York City, the EMS FDNY Help Fund, the Community Food Bank of NJ and the New Jersey Pandemic Relief Fund.
– The chief executive of the Tokyo Olympics has promised “transparency” with the Japanese public regarding the cost of postponing the games until next year. Neither the Japanese organizers nor the IOC has said what it will cost. Estimates in Japan range between $2 billion and $6 billion. CEO Toshiro Muto says only that expenses “will be higher than the originally planned budget.” Japanese governments are expected to pick up almost all of the added costs under an agreement signed with the International Olympic Committee. The cost issue is sensitive in Japan. The country could be deep in a recession next year because of the coronavirus pandemic.
– It’s still not clear when baseball or soccer will resume in Japan but it will likely be without fans when it does. That was the decision when the heads of Japanese professional baseball and soccer met in online meetings. Japanese baseball commissioner Atsushi Saito says “my feelings that I want to start the season without spectators haven’t changed.” Baseball and soccer officials both agreed nothing could begin until a state of emergency was lifted in Japan. The earliest that can happen is May 6. They are expected to wait until that date before moving forward. The J-League’s top two soccer divisions were suspended in February. Japanese baseball played some preseason games without fans before all play was stopped.
– German soccer could resume on May 9 if regional politicians sign off on the league’s plan. The state governors of Bavaria and North Rhine-Westphalia have said May 9 would be acceptable but other state officials have signaled they would prefer the middle or end of May. League CEO Christian Seifert says “if the state governors and the federal government decide that this day is May 9, then we would be ready on May 9.” Seifert says games could be held with a limit of 213 people in the stadium and up to 109 in the surrounding area.
– The French sports minister says the resumption of sporting events in the country is not among the government’s priorities.” France is locked down until May 11 because of the coronavirus pandemic and speculation has increased recently as to whether the country’s soccer league could resume in late June. The Tour de France cycling race has been rescheduled to start Aug. 29 and end Sept. 20. The final day coincides with the same day the rescheduled French Open tennis tournament is to begin. Public gatherings are banned in France until at least mid-July but Sports Minister Roxana Maracineanu says they could be extended until “at least September.” She told Eurosport television that “what’s certain is that sports won’t take priority in our society.” She says “it wouldn’t be the end of the world” if the Tour de France has to be canceled.