Ed Sheeran And Other Celebs In Sports

Ed Sheeran And Other Celebs In Sports

Ed Sheeran, who definitely doesn’t need an introduction, recently announced his tie up with a club for sponsoring their jersey. This is not new, for many celebs have not only done that but also have invested in sports teams (yes, that also includes IPL). In that way, let’s look at some celebs from across different genres having investment in sports.

Crux of the Matter

Ed Sheeran
English club Ipswich town recently made a ‘perfect’ announcement: singer Ed Sheeran will be their shirt sponsor for both men’s and women’s team.

Ipswich Town is a club in 3rd tier League One i.e., 2 divisions below Premier League. Artist Ed Sheeran is renowned for tracks like “Perfect”, “Shape of You”, “Photograph”, etc.

Sheeran Not The Only One
Most recently, metal band Iron Maiden had collaborated with West Ham for their away kit in 2019. However, several artists have not only sponsored jerseys but also invested in teams.

Stars Co-Owning Sports Teams

  • Justin Timberlake (Singer): Memphis Grizzlies (NBA Basketball)
  • Sir Elton John (Singer/Pianist): Watford FC (English Championship Football)
  • Bill Maher (Comedian/Political Commentator): New York Mets (Major League Baseball)
  • Jennifer Lopez (Singer): Miami Dolphins (National Football League)
    That club also has Fergie (Singer) as co-owner.
  • Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney: Wrexham (National League [Wales])

Of course, India’s most known example is the renowned IPL, with celeb owners like

  • Juhi Chawla and Shah Rukh Khan: Kolkata Knight Riders (IPL)
  • Preity Zinta: Punjab Kings (IPL)

However, over time Indian celebs have diversified across different sports:

  • Abhishek Bachchan: Jaipur Pink Panthers (Pro Kabaddi League)
    He also owns Chennaiyin FC (ISL).
  • Ranbir Kapoor: Mumbai City FC (ISL)
  • Sonakshi Sinha: United Singhs (World Kabaddi League)
  • John Abraham: Delhi Waveriders (Hockey India League)
    He also owns Northeast United FC (ISL).
  • Akshay Kumar: Khalsa Warriors (World Kabaddi League)

  • Former President of USA, George W. Bush has a minor stake in the professional baseball team Texas Rangers. Bush funded the team with $500,000 for his share. 
  • Hollywood popstar Usher participated in a group purchase of the Cleveland Cavaliers. He made the purchase of his share of the NBA team in 2005, for $9 million.
  • Being from Toronto, Aubrey Graham more commonly known by the name of Drake supports the Toronto Raptors. He was once allowed to announce the team’s starting lineup.

The Success Formula Of Dream11

The Success Formula Of Dream11

With another IPL season kicking off, India’s very successful and first ever fantasy gaming startup Dream11 is back in news. Started by two young professionals for their love towards football, the startup has seen its dry days before turning into a unicorn. But wish to explore how it works? Read on.

Crux of the Matter

Back Story
Harsh Jain and Bhavith Sheth founded Dream11, a sports fantasy platform in 2008. The platform currently offers users to play fantasy cricket, hockey, football, kabaddi, and basketball. Until 2012, Dream11 worked under an ad-based model – it earned revenue through posting advertisements on its platform.

But What Is Fantasy Cricket?
Let’s say a user creates a team of 11 players out of the total squad available for an upcoming match. User gets points based on the performance of their players in the ongoing (real) game. Points are allotted as per runs scored, runs chased, wickets taken, throws, fielding, etc. At the end of the match, each user gets a rank as per the aggregate points scored.

Business Model Of Fantasy Sport
There are 2 types of contests:
1. Paid Games – Where Rewards are given
2. Free Games – Where no rewards are given

In case of paid contest, the fee ranges between ₹30-60. Now the entire money gets pooled and at the end of the match, the money is distributed to the top rankers as per the undisclosed pre-decided norm.

The Catch

Users are tempted to win a huge amount by paying a small entry fee. This helps to get increased participation. Also, minimum withdrawal amount of ₹200 tends to get the users back to the platform. They at least keep trying until their account balance hits the minimum withdrawal limit.

How Does The Business Monnetize?
2 major revenue avenues:
1. Fantasy Sport: Out of the total pooled money received, Dream 11 keeps 15% of the amount as platform fee.
2. Advertisements: It showcases advertisements of various brands on its platform.

Dream11 In Numbers
The following infographic gives a numeric insight upon the Dream11 platform.

  • In April 2019, Dream11 became the first Indian gaming company to enter the “Unicorn Club”. 
  • In 2017, a case was registered against the company in an Indian High Court. The court, in its ruling, stated that playing the Dream11 game involves superior knowledge, judgement and attention. The Court also held that “the element of skill” had a predominant influence on the outcome of the Dream11 game. 
  • Dream11 is not available on the Google Play store for Android devices as Google does not allow apps that run cash contests. To participate in a Dream11 game, a user must be at least 18 years old and needs to get their profile verified using their PAN. 

Chinese Censorship In Foreign Sports And Industries

Chinese Censorship In Foreign Sports And Industries

Falling victim to the stringent Chinese censorship norms, several firms as well as sports leagues have modified their content and rules to maintain cordiality with China, which has a huge market being formed out of the largest population in the world.

Crux of the Matter

In 2018, Mercedes-Benz put a ‘MondayMotivation’ post on Instagram using a motivational quote by the Dalai Lama. The Chinese Government considers the Dalai Lama a “dangerous separatist” as he escaped to India after China violently suppressed the independence movement in Tibet in 1959.

Mercedes deleted the post after backlash, and claimed in a statement that they “will promptly take steps to deepen [their] understanding of Chinese culture and values…[and] ensure this sort of issue doesn’t happen again”. It is worth noting that Instagram has been banned in China since 2014.

Marriott And Zara
In 2018, the Chinese website of the Marriott International hotels was suspended for a week as the website listed Taiwan and Hong Kong as separate countries – China considers both as parts of its territory. The Chinese website of the Spanish apparel retailer Zara faced similar criticism for listing Hong Kong and Taiwan as separate countries.

The issue ended with both the companies issuing public apologies and promising to abstain from such comments in the future.

Zoom App
In June 2020, video conferencing app ‘Zoom’ removed accounts of several users in Hong Kong and the US which were paying tributes to the victim of 1989 Tiananmen Square – a pro-democracy movement where more than 10,000 activists (mostly students) were killed.

Zoom later reversed the decision and accepted that the Chinese Communist Party had pressurized it to remove the accounts of the activists.

NBA And Chinese Influence
NBA, the basketball league of the US, is one of the most followed basketball leagues in the world.

  • October 2018: Daryl Morey, the General manager of the ‘Houston Rockets’ team, tweeted in support of protests in Hong Kong. China immediately announced that it would not broadcast the team’s games in its territory while several sponsors terminated their contract with the team.
  • Famous basketball player LeBron James criticized Morey while the NBA labelled Morey’s tweet “regrettable”.

  • The NBA later reversed its statement after both the Democrats and the Republicans condemned its alleged “appeasement”. In his statement, NBA Chief Adam Silver claimed there are “consequences from freedom of speech” but they would “live with those consequences”.

Similar controversy occurred in June-July 2020 when the NBA banned the usage of the “Free Hong Kong” phrase on customized jerseys. While the NBA labelled the incidents “errors” and fixed it later, US Senator Josh Hawley wrote a letter to the NBA asking that “if the NBA is more committed to promoting the CCP’s (Chinese Communist Party) interests than to celebrating its home nation – your fans deserve to know that is your view”.

Large viewership and high revenue have been cited as the reasons for the NBA’s evasive stance regarding issues with China. NBA had ~600 million viewers in China (2017-18)
Moreover, its ‘5 year deal’ with Chinese firm Tencent for “digital streaming rights” of matches in China is reportedly worth $1.5 billion.

App Bans
Most used apps like Twitter, Facebook, Google, WhatsApp, YouTube, etc are banned in China, with State-controlled apps like WeChat, Weibo, etc being used instead. Several cases of Weibo, WeChat, TikTok, etc removing content criticizing China from all over the world have been reported.

Twitter also recently suspended the account of a Chinese virologist Li-Meng Yan who claimed that Covid-19 was “manufactured”.

Also Read: Chinese Censorship In Hollywood And Bollywood

  • The Chinese Dream is a term promoted by Xi Jinping since 2013 within Chinese society that describes a set of personal and national ethos and ideals in China. Xi began promoting the phrase as a slogan in a high-profile visit to the National Museum of China in November 2012 after taking the office of general secretary.
  • The Harmonious Society is a socioeconomic concept in China that is recognized as a response to the increasing social injustice and inequality emerging in mainland Chinese society as a result of unchecked economic growth. The governing philosophy has therefore shifted around economic growth to overall societal balance and harmony.
  • Stephen Chow is a filmmaker, actor, producer, political adviser of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference and martial artist. He is internationally known for directing and acting in commercially successful movies like Shaolin Soccer and Kung Fu Hustle.

Indian Army & Sports: Achievements And Famous Athletes

Indian Army & Sports: Achievements And Famous Athletes

With the Pune Army Sports Institute being selected for the 2020 Rashtriya Khel Protsahan Puraskar, the Indian Army has time and again displayed its brilliance in sports on a level similar to its feats on the borders.

Crux of the Matter

ASI Recognition
The Army Sports Institute (ASI) based in Pune has been selected for the Rashtriya Khel Protsahan Puraskar for 2020 under the category of “Identification and Nurturing of Budding and Young Talent”. President Ram Nath Kovind will bestow the award on August 29 in a virtual event amidst the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Army Sports Institute
The Army Sports Institute (ASI) Pune was established on 1 July, 2001, and trains sportsmen from the Army and young athletes in ‘Boys Sports Companies’ (between age of 8 to 14 years). The training is done by “internationally renowned foreign & Indian coaches and qualified physical trainers” and aided by a ‘team of specialists’ in sports medicine, nutrition, sports psychology, sports physiology etc. The institute currently trains in 7 fields – boxing, wrestling, athletics, archery, diving, fencing, and weightlifting.

The ASI was established under the “Mission Olympics Programme”. The other such 4 institutes are:

  • Army Rowing Node (Pune)
  • Army Marksmanship Unit (Mhow)
  • Army Equestrian Node (Meerut)
  • Army Yachting Node (Mumbai)


  • The institute has facilitated the participation of 20 sportspersons in the Olympics to date.
  • 12 sportsperson from the institute have already qualified for the 2021 Tokyo Olympics.
  • Athletes from the institute have brought 19 medals in Asian Games, 18 medals in Commonwealth Games, and 6 Youth Olympic Medals.
  • 450 international and 1,118 national medals have been won by the ASI athletes in the last 3 years.
  • 125 medals across 5 sports have been won by the ASI sportspersons in the last 3 Khelo India editions.

Famous Army Sportspersons

Subedar Paan Singh Tomar

  • 7-time National steeplechase race champion.
  • Represented India at the 1958 Asian Games.
  • Completed 3,000 metres run in 2,000 strides as compared to the average 2,500.
  • Turned rebel after local feuds.
  • Movie by the name Paan Singh Tomar released in 2012 starring Irrfan Khan as Tomar himself.

Naib Subedar Shivnath Singh

  • Won gold medal in 5000m race in 1974 Teheran Asian Games, ans also set a new Asian record of 14 minutes and 20.5 seconds.
  • Won silver medals in both 5,000m and 10,000m races in both 1973 and 1975 Asian Championships.
  • Still holds the national record for marathon of 2:12:00 hrs set in 1978.

Naib Subedar Milkha Singh

  • First Indian male to reach the final of any Olympic athletics event.
  • Won gold medals in both 200m and 400m races in 1958 Asian Games.
  • Won gold medals in both 400m and 4×400 relay races in 1962 Asian Games.
  • Awarded Padma Shri for his achievements.
  • Bhaag Milkha Bhaag film was made on him in 2013, starring Farhan Akhtar in the lead role.

Honorary Captain Sriram Singh Shekhawat

  • Won gold medals in 800m racing in both 1974 and 1978 Asian Games.
  • Awarded Padma Shri for his achievements.

Honorary Captain Padam Bahadur Mall

  • First Indian boxer to win gold medal in Asian Games. Won the medal in 1962 Asian Games.
  • Rejoined his unit in Srinagar which was followed by the India-China war 1962.
  • Captain Mall also fought in the 1965 and 1971 wars against Pakistan.

Honorary Captain Hawa Singh

  • Won Heavyweight National Championship consecutively from 1961 to 1972.
  • Won gold medals in the heavyweight division of both 1966 and 1970 Asian Games.

Colonel Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore

  • Won India’s first individual silver medal in Olympics.
  • Won silver in the 2004 Olympics in the double-trap shooting event.
  • Won gold medals in both individual and pairs double-trap events at the 2002 Commonwealth Games.
  • Won gold medal in individual double trap and silver medal in pairs double trap at the 2006 Commonwealth Games.
  • Received Padma Shri for his achievements.
  • 1999 Kargil war veteran.
  • Served as the Sports Minister between 2017 and 2019.

Subedar Tarundeep Rai

  • Became the first Indian to win a silver medal in individual men’s archery by winning at the 2010 Asian Games.
  • Subedar Rai also won silver medal with the Indian team in the 2005 World Archery Championship.

Major Dhyan Chand

  • Won Indian hockey team 3 consecutive gold medals in 1928, 1932 and 1936 Olympics.
  • Reportedly scored 570 goals in 185 international matches.
  • Germany leader Adolf Hitler reportedly offered high army position to Dhyan Chand after India beat Germany 8-1 in 1936 Olympics.
    Reported offer due to his extraordinary performance in the games.
    Dhyan Chand rejected the offer.

  • Joginder Singh Bedi is a Paralympian with the maximum number of medals by an individual at a Paralympics Games so far. Bedi won the SIlver medal at the Men’s Shot Put, bronze at the Discus and Javelin throw during the 1984 Games.
  • The Indian Territorial Army conferred the honorary rank of Lieutenant Colonel to MS Dhoni on 1 November 2011. He is the second Indian cricketer after Kapil Dev to receive this honour.
  • The Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports gives the annual National Sports awards in various categories, including the Arjuna Award and Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna awards. The Ministry was set up as the Department of Sports at the time of organisation of 1982 Asian Games New Delhi.

Let The Games Begin

Games being played without spectators

After major sporting events were shut down due to Coronavirus lockdown, some leagues across sports resume after gradual lifting of lockdown. The games had to follow basic protocols, but gave something to the fans after a wait of more than 2 months.
Complete Coverage: Coronavirus

Crux of the Matter

Bundesliga, Germany’s top-tier football league, resumed from 16 May. 8 fixtures have been played so far. The last match was played on 11 March, marking a gap of more than 2 months. No signs of rust present as high-scoring matches ensued. Nevertheless, safety protocols were followed. No spectators were allowed inside the stadium, and players on the substitute bench had to wear masks. Goal celebrations occurred without hugs.

You shoot at the goal, make a top pass, a goal – and nothing happens. That’s very, very strange. We really miss our fans.

Lucien Favre, Manager of Borussia Dortmund

Baseball Back in Taiwan
Taiwan’s baseball league resumed from 12 April in empty stadiums after successful curbing of Coronavirus, drawing more than 650,000 viewers. On 15 May, 1500+ spectators were allowed inside the stadium, with the limit now increased to 2,000. Unlike Bundesliga, food provision is allowed inside the stadium. Importantly, no social distancing has to be followed by the spectators, which is drawing more spectators.

When Will Other Leagues Start?
English Premier League (EPL), the world’s most popular football league having Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool, etc is scheduled to resume from June 1. However, it will occur only if no new cases are reported in England. The situation regarding the permit of spectators inside the stadium is unclear.

The world’s most popular basketball league, America’s NBA is supposed to resume after June. However, some sources claim the current season would be declared finished with the current table positions, and the next season will start from December.

What about India?
The latest lockdown guidelines have allowed the opening of stadiums and sports-complexes while disallowing any spectators. The step has given hope to IPL fans, with BCCI hoping to finish the 2020 season before the year’s end. India’s football league ISL is in the same stadium, seeking to finish the season before 2020 ends.

  • The Olympic Games generate substantial revenues, through the sale of broadcasting and marketing rights, as well as other income streams. The revenue for the Summer and Winter Olympics that spans between 2013 to 2016, was $5.7 billion. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is a non-profit organization, dedicated to using the revenue to assist athletes and develop sport worldwide. As a result, IOC distributes about $3.4 million per day around the world to help athletes and sports organizations.
  • As of 2020, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Stadium (Motera Stadium) in Ahmedabad, India is the largest cricket stadium in the world and the second-largest stadium overall, with a seating capacity of 110,000 spectators. The stadium hosted the opening of “Namaste Trump”, the inaugural visit of US President Donald Trump on 24 February 2020.
  • During the 1918 influenza pandemic commonly called the Spanish flu, sporting events resulted in social gatherings. Even though the attendance was low, these games helped spread a new strain of the virus and caused the second wave of influenza in the United States. The image below shows how the players and the fans showed up to games with masks during the 1918 influenza pandemic.