#soccer

Crowd boos national anthem kneelers

Fans who went to watch FC Dallas and Nashville SC play soccer started booing the players when they knelt in support of BLM during the national anthem.

Woke Dallas defender Reggie Cannon tweeted,

I will give #MLS another shot in the “second leg” of Nashville v Dallas. Having a crowd at all, booing of those kneeling, throwing of objects & lack of social distancing got to me. I will for now chalk it up as just a Dallas thing and hope it does not happen again.

No Reggie, fans are sick and tired of watching more social justice politics when they deliberately went to the game in the hope of distracting them from it in the first place.

Cannon went on, “You got fans booing you for people taking a stand for what they believe in.

No Reggie, you expected the fans to back your little stunt and when it backfired you had the hide to tell your customers off.

When will these overpaid meatheads get that fans have been supporters of equality in all of its forms. They are just telling you they sick of being reminded before every game. It is nothing more than institutionalized nagging. They were just letting you know that you should stop the moral preening.

Sports Illustrated defines our woke age

You have to hand it to society nowadays. So desperate are people to appear virtuous they will go above and beyond to prove themselves worthy. Sports awards tend to be a mix of on-field performance and off-field service to promote the game for the greater good.

Megan Rapinoe has won the Sports Illustrated 2019 Sportsperson of the Year. Yes, the US Women’s National Team (USWNT) has won the Soccer World Cup back to back. It is an admirable achievement even though the USWNT were defeated 5-2 by a bunch of 14yo boys from Dallas.

260m watched the Women’s Soccer World Cup final in 2019. The 2018 men’s World Cup in Russia saw 1.12bn tune in for the final. 4.3x the audience. Sponsors are well aware of this and tailor advertising dollars accordingly. If the women’s teams garnered more eyeballs, we can be guaranteed women would be paid more.

Unfortunately, Rapinoe is such a dreadful role model for children even though she ticks the diversity and LGBT boxes. Her profanity-laden victory parade speech (in front of kids) after the World Cup win (from 6:30 in the video) was all class. All about identity politics and screaming for “equal pay” even though the stats reveal the USWNT gets more funding than the men’s team (USMNT). The USMNT generates more revenues, despite the poorer results.

Yet Rapinoe defines the age. All about equal pay regardless of revenue generated. Perhaps every soccer player in the world should be benchmarked against Cristiano Ronaldo at Juventus. Perhaps his 81mn Twitter followers and talent allow him to charge a premium for his services which the market is willing to bear i.e. $108mn in 2019. Neymar should be up in arms for the pithy $90m at Real Madrid! Surely those on the bench should be protesting the fact they aren’t on an even playing field! Equal Pay, Equal Pay!

If Sports Illustrated truly wanted to brand a female success story in sports against the odds and shove it in the face of the white patriarchy, they could have championed the brilliance of 21yo Spanish rider Ana Carrasco, who became the first-ever woman to win a world motorcycle racing championship competing alongside men. She won the World Supersport 300s crown. If there was ever a better display of rising to a challenge in a sport dominated by males, this was it! She beat them all! More than that she embodies great sportsmanship.

CM wrote in January about her first-ever race win last year on equal machines with the boys. Shows that grit, determination and skill can make the difference without this recent desire to throw handicaps to even it out. Great job indeed to win on identical bikes.

Rapinoe is a talent in her own right. No one can dispute that. It is just a shame that it comes with all unnecessary identity politics based bluster.

Perhaps Sports Illustrated should heap lashings of praise on the Football Federation of Australia’s (FFA) kneeling at the altar of political correctness by carrying through with equal pay. Little does the FFA realise that pandering to social justice does nothing to win over fans. Because if the right talent isn’t paid accordingly, an overseas league will quickly bid the best players away and hollow out the local market. Attendance will drop and the revenues and sponsorship dollars will dry up with it. Doesn’t require rocket science.

The Aussie women’s Matildas achieved a peak crowd attendance of 16,829. The men’s Socceroo team saw 77,060 supporters at ANZ Stadium on 15 November 2018. 4.6x more fans watched the men’s national team over the women’s. It is nothing to do with gender. Fans prefer watching the men’s game, including women. Because of that, sponsors are willing to pay for greater exposure.

That isn’t casting aspersions on the female players per se. It is just that sports will always be driven by the sponsorship dollar. In certain fields, men get paid more than women. Perhaps male supermodels should take umbrage that Kate Moss gets paid multiples more for the same job.

Linius Tech – video Spotify on steroids

Linius.png

CM added Linius Tech (LNU.AX) to the SMSF today. Another diamond in the rough listed on the ASX. LNU basically does the following with its Video Virtualisation Engine (VVE),

[Linius empowers you] to instantly search the data within your video, and programmatically assemble the ultra-granular results, for the first time. Imagine the possibilities. Effortlessly give every viewer the exact video content they want in milliseconds – delivered as a single video ready for immediate playback on any web-enabled device or platform. No human hands required.”

Essentially users get to have their own custom TV channel. A good video example can be found here. The added bonus is that advertisers would be able to even better target audiences by knowing individual preferences.

So a football fan can say: ‘I want to watch all the highlights from these six teams that are my favourites and in particular every time one of ten players scores a goal or gets a red card or a yellow card.”

Sports betting – Betting on horse racing generates over $116B in annual revenues globally. One could easily search which horse in a race is best suited to particular conditions. The more punters can use technology to finesse betting, the more likely they are to place bets. LNU announced in September 2019 that it has partnered with Racing.com to deliver a range of virtual video experiences to Racing.com viewers. Linius has entered into a Master Services Agreement with SportsHero (ASX:SHO)

LNU even works in education. Students often spend hours combing through recorded lectures, just to find small nuggets of information. Linius flips that experience on its head. It allows students to search and find any object – from text to audio and even facial recognition – across any video source.

Law enforcement – LNU connects the dots by automatically detecting related activities, objects or incidents from an infinite number of video streams and archives. Flagging a person for suspicious activity, then submitting a search for archived footage of the same individual. Immediately identify any other instance in which the person of interest has appeared across any video archives – even footage from different systems in separate locations and agencies. Now that’s high-impact, real-time intelligence sharing. And, because Linius is AI and analyst toolbox agnostic, it easily integrates with government-approved solutions like Darknet/YOLO, Caffe and Tenserflow.

Media & News – For the first time, media outlets can provide every viewer with a hyper-personalized video newsfeed. It’s the single biggest change in news video delivery – ever. Linius is the only one doing it. Think of all those chronic Trump Derangement Syndrome sufferers who could search their inner rage using Linius enabled devices.

The company is partnered with Amazon Web Services, IBM and Microsoft. The company holds patents in the US, EU, Canada, S. Korea, PRC, Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia and India.

This stock has been clubbed toward all-time lows. It most recently capped off a $4.5mn cap raise.

Given that we all observe many people nose deep in video feeds, this technology will allow them to tailor feeds to their liking. Broadcasters can charge circa $5pcm per subscriber and or use an ad-funded model; There are 1.8 billion sports subscribers. The European Premier League alone generated £2.8B in broadcast revenue in 2016-2017.  The global value of sports media rights reached $49.53B in 2018 of which soccer accounts for 40%.

At 3.5c, and contracts already signed with an Asian and soon to be EU broadcaster, this thing looks a ridiculously overlooked stock. On a DCF basis with a 20% discount rate, it looks fair value at around c.30c.

Nike kicks July 4 kicks on Kaep’s call

Apparently Colin Kaepernick said that Nike’s limited edition 4th of July Betsy Ross flag sneakers could be perceived as harking back to the slavery era. Betsy Ross was credited with making the first American flag in 1790.

Nike has pulled the shoes from stores citing some spurious claims that white nationalists use the Betsy Ross flag.

Good to see Arizona Governor Doug Ducey rescind the incentive dollars offered to Nike to open the plant just outside Phoenix. Ducey said,

Words cannot express my disappointment at this terrible decision…Instead of celebrating American history the week of our nation’s independence, Nike has apparently decided that Betsy Ross is unworthy, and has bowed to the current onslaught of political correctness and historical revisionism.”

Maybe Nike should make a BLM edition sneaker? Better still they can make Colin Kaepernick branded kneepads to help kneelers such as Megan Rapinoe protest the very country she represents.

Gender pay gap in US soccer?

US Democratic Senator Kirsten Gillibrand railed at the gender pay gap between the US Soccer men’s team and women’s team after the latter thrashed Thailand 13-0.

Democratic Senator and perennial identity politician Elizabeth Warren also chipped in with her slant on things about how it is high time to address the pay gap!

Former Republican Senator Orrin Hatch asked the U.S. Soccer Federation to “end this two-tiered, gender-based structure that has unfairly discriminated against female athletes.”

Before US senators took to bashing the US Soccer Federation (USSF), a quick look at the Annual Report for 2018 reveals that “expenses” on the national women’s team were higher than the men’s.

By the numbers, women’s expenditure grew 25% to $17.13m in 2018 over the previous year while the men’s slid 35% to $14.63m (down from $22.43m in 2017). While expenditures aren’t completely broken down, one can assume that this adjustment includes paying for performance.

When boiled down, the expenses allocated to the women’s national team came in at 24% of overall expenses in 2018 from 18% in 2017. Men fell from 30% of the total to 20% over the same time period.

Unless multiple men’s team players have been sacked and there are surplus female players the pay gap is probably swinging in favour of the fairer sex. Or could it be that the governing body is exercising good governance?

Whatever it is, even better to see the investment in the youth national team and player development which has risen from $23.2m to $27.4m.

If only female soccer star Megan Rapinoe could casts aside her Trump Derangement Syndrome and sing the national anthem because she’s representing her country.

Not surprising to see own goals kicked by politicians who don’t look at the facts.

Perhaps the US women’s soccer team should address the pay gap between themselves first. Then once that is complete go after the blokes.

Italy misses 2018 World Cup qualifiers

It is quite a big surprise to see Italy not qualify for the World Cup soccer in 2018. While always entertaining, sometimes teams overestimate their ability to be guaranteed a berth. Being 4-time World Cup winners  should mean it is a formality but great to see that the level rises to stop competitions being dominated by a select few. Think of the Japanese Blossoms beating the Sth African Springboks back in the 2015 Rugby World Cup. Be complacent at your peril.