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Good morning. We’re less than 100 days from the (planned) Tokyo Olympics Opening Ceremony.
- Blake
In today's Sprint:
⚽️  Super League
🏈  Circus throw
🤸  New champs
Trivia: What is the fastest knockout ever recorded in a boxing title fight?
  1. 33 seconds
  2. 5 seconds
  3. 22 seconds
  4. 11 seconds

SOCCER
Not So Super
Twelve of Europe’s most prominent soccer clubs became founding members of a breakaway Super League, which would upend how the world's most popular sport functions both in Europe and throughout the world.
Quick background: The Super League would be bankrolled by JPMorgan Chase, including an “initial infrastructure grant” of €3.5 billion split by the founding members.
  • 20 teams in total, including the 15 permanent founders and 5 other rotating selections
  • Begin with two groups of 10, then the top four from each advance to an ‘Elite 8' style knockout stage
Fundamental change: In America, promotion and relegation aren’t a factor in any major sporting league. But in Europe, they’re the entire point of the season.
  • Promotion: The top teams in the league move to a higher tier league
  • Relegation: The bottom teams in the league move to a lower tier league
Fans are not happy
The announcement met widespread condemnation across the soccer community, both from fans and former players.
  • On Twitter, “Disgraceful,” “RIP Football,” and “Greedy” trended, all related to the announcement
  • “I’m a Manchester United fan and have been for 40 years of my life, but I’m absolutely disgusted. I’m disgusted with Manchester United and Liverpool most...they’re breaking away into a league that they can’t be relegated from? It’s an absolute disgrace.” - Gary Neville, as he became soccer’s hero of the day
The Tottenham Hotspur Supporters' Trust said it was "deeply concerned" at its club's involvement, while Arsenal's Supporters' Trust described it as "the death of the club as a sporting institution."
FIFA goes nuclear
The Super League is direct competition to the UEFA Champions League, which brought in €2.8 billion in revenue during the 2018/2019 season.
FIFA, UEFA’s worldwide governing body, has no interest seeing its European branch lose billions in revenue. It threatened to ban every team and player participating in the Super League from both UEFA and FIFA competitions, including:
  • UEFA Euros
  • UEFA Champions League
  • FIFA World Cup
Further, the Premier League, La Liga, and Serie A would bar the participating teams from all domestic competitions.
Zoom out: European soccer thrives on merit-based competition. But the Super League removes that, allowing founding clubs in each year no matter the quality or performance of the teams.

AROUND THE LEAGUES
NBA
(31-27) New York Knicks 122 vs. (25-32) New Orleans Pelicans 112 - OT
  • Leading by 3 with 7.8 seconds to go, the Pels forgot to foul and gave up a game-tying three pointer to send it to overtime where Julius Randle took over. The Knicks have won six in a row.
(35-22) LA Lakers 127 vs. (42-15) Utah Jazz 115 - OT
  • Without its star players, newly signed Andre Drummond (27 pts, 8 reb, 3 ast) led the Lakers to a win over the West’s top team.
MLB
(13-3) LA Dodgers 2 vs. (10-7) San Diego Padres 0
  • After the benches cleared on Friday, the series stayed chippy throughout the weekend between the NL West rivals, particularly after the Dodgers were called for catcher’s interference.
(7-4) New York Mets 4 vs. (4-12) Colorado Rockies 3
  • Jacob deGrom struck out nine in a row, one shy of the MLB record, and finished with his second straight game with 14 strikeouts.
NHL
(28-12-5) Florida Panthers 5 vs. (29-13-2) Tampa Bay Lightning 3
  • Florida jumped Tampa Bay for second place in the hotly contested Central division thanks to goals scored by five separate players.
Soccer - FA Cup
Chelsea 1 vs. Manchester City 0
  • Despite having less possession and shots than City, Chelsea was able to pull it out thanks to Hakim Zayech’s 55th minute goal.
Leicester City 1 vs. Southampton 0
  • Leicester reached its first FA Cup final since 1969 in front of the largest crown in England in 13 months.

SPRINT'S PICKS
Stat: Sean Kazmer made his first MLB appearance since 2008. He went 4,589 days between big league appearances, an MLB record.
Quote: “That’s disgraceful.” - Yankees announcers after fans tossed baseballs on the field to protest play in the Bronx. The Yankees are in sole possession of last place in the AL for the first time since 1998. Yikes…
Highlight: Villanova quarterback Daniel Smith tossed a mid-air somersault touchdown pass. Even Patrick Mahomes had to be impressed.

WATER COOLER TALK
🥊  Jake Paul defeated Ben Askren, a former MMA world champion, by knockout in the first round of their exhibition match. It’s the YouTube star’s first victory over a professional fighter.
🥊  After being shoved by opponent Jeremy Stephens during weigh ins, Drakkar Klose suffered a cervical sprain and concussion. The bout was then cancelled.
⛸  World Champion Nathan Chen won the World Team Trophy for men’s figure skating. The American has not lost since the 2018 Olympics.
🏈  Aaron Donald’s accuser issued an apology after video surfaced of the All-Pro breaking up the fight, not instigating it.
🏈  Trevor Lawrence donated $20,000 to Jacksonville charities after Jags fans donated to the charities on his wedding registry.
🤸  The University of Michigan won its first ever NCAA women’s gymnastic title thanks to Abby Heiskell’s balance beam performance.

MONDAY WATCHLIST
NBA
Golden State Warriors (28-29) vs. Philadelphia 76ers (39-17) - 7:30 ET on ESPN
Utah Jazz (42-15) vs. LA Lakers (35-22) - 10:00 ET on ESPN
MLB
Chicago White Sox (8-8) vs. Boston Red Sox (10-6) - 11:10 AM ET
Texas Rangers (7-9) vs. LA Angels (8-5) - 9:38 ET
LA Dodgers (13-3) vs. Seattle Mariners (10-6) - 10:10 ET on ESPN+
NHL
Detroit Red Wings (16-24-6) vs. Dallas Stars (17-14-12) - 7:30 ET on NBCSN
Ottawa Senators (15-26-4) vs. Calgary Flames (19-22-3) - 9:00 ET on ESPN+
Premier League
(52 pts) Liverpool vs. (45 pts) Leeds - 3:00 ET on NBCSN

TRIVIA ANSWER
D. In the 2017 World Boxing Organization's bantamweight title bout, Zolani Tete landed the knockout punch six seconds into the match, but it took another five to call the fight.

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