The Los Angeles Sparks mark their 25th anniversary with a first-of-its-kind sponsorship deal; the UFC’s investment in China begins to pay off;  and this year’s Six Nations tournament attracts huge viewership numbers. For these stories and more, check out the Red Phoenix Global Sports Update:

Sparks Become First WNBA Team to Sign Beer Sponsor

The Women’s National Basketball Association’s LA Sparks announced a dynamic partnership deal with Molson Coors Beverage Company. Molson Coors will become the exclusive beverage company of the Los Angeles Sparks and is the first-ever beer partner of the three-time WNBA champions. The deal is also the first all-encompassing beverage deal of its kind in WNBA history. The deal seeks to align with the Sparks’ 25th-anniversary celebration as one of the WNBA’s original teams. It came about as Molson Coors began to expand its business past traditional beer products into specialty alcoholic beverages and more non-alcoholic products. Full Story Yahoo (03/29)

UFC Reaps Rewards of China Investment with Migu Deal

UFC’s new partnership with Chinese digital media company Migu has nearly doubled the value of its media rights in the country. The new multi-year partnership with Migu, a state-owned China Mobile subsidiary, is in the high eight-figures. That’s close to double the value of UFC’s prior five-year deal with PPTV, inked in 2016, which has been reported to be roughly $50 million. The deal has been receiving positive feedback, and a significant factor to the success is the timing of a Chinese world champion, in strawweight winner Zhang Weili, a major star in her home market. Full Story Sports Business (03/25)

Average French Audience of 7.6 Million Watched Six Nations Finale

An average audience of 7.6 million viewers watched the final match of this year’s Six Nations tournament between France and Scotland on French public-service broadcaster France Télévisions. The deciding match of this year’s championship, which kicked off at 9 pm in France, attracted a peak audience of 8.7 million viewers and took more than 29.2-per-cent of the audience share for the broadcaster’s France 2 channel. The viewership numbers reflect the country’s strong support of their national rugby union team, enjoying a positive run of performances. Full Story Ministry of Sports (03/29)

ECA Launches First Women’s Football Masterplan, Targets Club World Cup

The European Club Association will explore the possibility of further competitions to sit alongside the UEFA Women’s Champions League. Plans for a second-tier European competition and a women’s FIFA Club World Cup are included in the European Club Association’s (ECA) first-ever strategy for women’s football, which launched on March 29. The news comes ahead of the UEFA Women’s Champions League adopting a new format for the 2021-22 season, with group stages to come into play for the first time in the competition’s current era. Full Story ECA (03/29)

Premiership Rugby Clubs to Benefit from £88m loan from Government to Finish 2020/21 Season 

English Premiership rugby union clubs will get £88m ($121.6m) in support from the government’s Sports Winter Survival Package. The loan support comes amid sports in England being impacted by the absence of spectators because of coronavirus. Premiership clubs are primarily reliant on ticket sales and fans being in stadiums to remain afloat, and the new funding is intended to allow the league to complete its 2020-21 season. Full Story Sky Sports (03/27)

Zhibo.tv Agrees Five-year Deal for MotoGP Rights 

Chinese sports streaming platform Zhibo. tv has agreed on a five-year deal for media rights for the MotoGP motorcycle racing world championship, beginning with the 2021 season. Zhibo. tv’s deal covers all MotoGP content, including the Moto2 and Moto3 support series and the MotoE esports series. Coverage will be available via the Zhibo. tv app and will include a feature allowing viewers to select different camera angles during live race broadcasts. Full Story Sport Pro Media (03/26)

CSK Extend with Equitas Small Finance Bank ahead of 2021 IPL

Equitas Small Finance Bank has extended its partnership with Chennai Super Kings for the 14th season of the Indian Premier League (IPL 2021) and will be the team’s Official Retail Banking Partner. Equitas Small Finance Bank has been associated with the Chennai Super Kings since IPL 2018. As part of the deal, the Equitas Small Finance Bank logo will be at the back of the Chennai Super Kings’ helmet and cap.Full Story Business Line (03/25)

DAZN Gets the TV Rights for Serie A   

Sports streaming service DAZN has secured one of its biggest rights deals after clubs in Italian soccer’s Serie A finally voted to award the company a domestic contract worth more than €2.5 billion (US$2.95 billion). The deal, which runs for the next three seasons, covers all Serie A matches between 2021 and 2024, including exclusive rights for seven out of ten fixtures per match day. Full Story Front Office Sports (03/29)

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