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from Breakingviews:

NFL only understands hits where they really hurt

By Jeffrey Goldfarb

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own. 

The National Football League has thrown its weight around to grow into a $10 billion entertainment colossus, and already has its sights firmly set on doubling. It is swiftly becoming apparent just how many victims of the sport’s violence routinely get trampled by this gladiatorial march toward greater lucre. Only the moral compasses of sponsors and television partners have a commanding enough offense to reform this uniquely American athletic institution.

Over the past two weeks, a series of shameful incidents have flared up to invite a backlash. A videotape showing Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice punching out his then fiancée in a casino elevator surfaced, making the league’s earlier decision to suspend him for just two weeks look soft.

Then, the Minnesota Vikings opted to let superstar Adrian Peterson play after he was indicted for whipping his four-year-old son with a tree branch. The high-profile domestic violence problems follow last year’s $765 million settlement with retired players facing brain damage and an ongoing controversy over the use of the Redskins team name, which is offensive to some Native Americans, by its Washington franchise.

from Breakingviews:

Ballmer’s exit value is now Nadella’s to preserve

By Jeffrey Goldfarb

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Steve Ballmer’s exit value is now Satya Nadella’s to preserve. Microsoft’s market capitalization swelled by over $100 billion from the day about a year ago when the 34-year veteran of the software giant said he would resign as chief executive until Tuesday, when he stepped down from the board of directors. With Ballmer fading from the picture, maintaining the momentum is now firmly up to new boss Nadella.

from Photographers' Blog:

A touch of normality

Juba, South Sudan
By Andreea Campeanu

I first heard about kickboxing in Juba over a year ago, long before fighting broke out in South Sudan that has so far killed over 10,000 people.

The kickboxing team had members from different tribes as well as two South Sudanese girls and two Italian girls who were training with them. There were about 20 of them altogether.

from Breakingviews:

Evonik in $400 mln soccer deal it doesn’t need

By Olaf Storbeck

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own. 

Evonik’s 300 million euro ($400 million) tie-up with Bundesliga soccer team Borussia Dortmund (BVB) has little merits for the company’s shareholders. Germany’s third-largest chemical company hopes that the alliance with the club will turn its brand into a global household name. The snag is that Evonik doesn’t do any business with end users.

from Breakingviews:

Numbers show Germany will beat Brazil to World Cup

By Robert Cole and Peter Thal Larsen

The authors are Reuters Breakingviews columnists. The opinions expressed are their own.

Germany is on course to dash Brazil’s World Cup dream. The football-mad host nation has cruised into the knock-out stages of the global soccer jamboree, while rivals like Spain have gone home early. But Germany will see off Brazil in the semi-final, before going on to lift the trophy by defeating Argentina in the final.

from Data Dive:

FIFA sponsors get involved in Qatar bribery allegations

Earlier this month, the Sunday Times published allegations that a Qatari official bribed FIFA to choose Doha for the 2022 World Cup. Since, there’s been lots of back and forth on what happens now. Qatar has denied the allegations, but there are rumors that FIFA told the United States to be ready if the organization decides to move the event (which, for the record, FIFA has denied).

Last week, Reuters reported that one group that can’t easily be ignored has gotten involved. Some of FIFA’s biggest corporate sponsors began publicly calling on the organization to take a thorough look into the allegations. Such public concern from sponsors is rare, and indicates that FIFA has a lot of money to lose if it handles this the wrong way. Here’s what the financial picture looks like:

from India Insight:

Vijender Singh enters the Bollywood ring with ‘Fugly’

Vijender Singh, the pin-up boy of Indian boxing, made his Bollywood debut on Friday, starring in a thriller about four youngsters who get into trouble with the police.

Singh, whose middleweight bronze at the 2008 Beijing Olympics helped raise the sport's profile in India, is training for next month's Glasgow Commonwealth Games at a boxing camp in Patiala and was yet to watch "Fugly", a film produced by Bollywood actor Akshay Kumar, when we interviewed him.

from Breakingviews:

Three ways for FIFA to score on governance

By Robert Cole

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Allegations of corruption have caught FIFA offside. Questions about the way Qatar won rights to the 2022 World Cup surfaced less than two weeks before the start of this year’s quadrennial tournament. There could scarcely be a worse time for embarrassment.

from Breakingviews:

Clippers may actually be Ballmer’s least-bad deal

By Jeffrey Goldfarb
The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

The Los Angeles Clippers may actually be Steve Ballmer’s least-bad deal. That’s not saying much given the former Microsoft chief executive’s acquisition track record. But television revenue means sports teams are no longer money pits. Even including the ego premium in the $2 billion price tag, buying the NBA franchise could work out better than aQuantive, Skype or Nokia.

from Breakingviews:

Manchester United’s crisis has silver lining

By Olaf Storbeck

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Manchester United fans won’t like this, but the club’s crisis is exactly what the soccer business, and United itself, needs. A manager ditched after 10 months, a lowly seventh place in the league, an enforced absence from European football: this is the kind of drama that keeps the sport exciting and secures future revenue streams. Nothing is more boring than a league dominated by an overwhelming team.

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