Water breaks needed if Premier League returns says Brighton chief

Brighton chief Paul Barber calls for regular water breaks if Premier League football returns during the summer

  • Brighton chief Paul Barber has called for water breaks if Premier League returns
  • Clubs are growing confident that the league will return next month in June
  • Barber said the Premier League need to think about players’ ‘wellbeing’ 

Regular water breaks may be needed in Premier League games if football returns during summer, according to Brighton chief executive Paul Barber.

Clubs are growing increasingly confident of a return to action next month, but playing football in warmer conditions and on harder pitches could heighten the risk of injury and dehydration.

Barber said: ‘We’ll certainly be looking at all the physiological challenges and demands players are going to be under by playing in warmer months. I’d imagine drinks breaks will be a regular feature of matches, for instance.

Brighton chief Paul Barber says measures needed if football returns in warmer conditions

‘A lot of the players in the Premier League are full internationals and have played in tournaments in summer before.

‘But clearly other players won’t be used to that. That’s when we’ll need to use the experts around them and to think about their wellbeing.’

The Premier League is nearing a return during June as clubs and shareholders frantically plan to get action back after the coronavirus pandemic.  

Barber has called for regular water breaks to be implemented if games return during summer

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Broadcast changes are needed after the first round of ‘NBA 2K’ Players Tournament

ESPN hosted the first round of the “NBA 2K” Players Tournament this weekend to widespread interest over how NBA stars would fare against one another on the popular basketball video game.

With no live sports going on right now in the U.S. due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, a virtual tournament is a logical way to keep fans occupied. For stretches of action on Friday and Sunday, the competition was tons of fun, particularly in games such as the one between Donovan Mitchell and Rui Hachimura that stayed close the whole way.

The TV production lacked in key areas, though, holding back a promising concept.

Here are problems we noticed — some of which will hopefully be corrected before the second round.

Way too much Ronnie 2K

Despite ESPN and its network of talented announcers and producers hosting the tournament, viewers were left with Ronnie 2K, the digital marketing director of “NBA 2K,” spending significant amounts of awkward time on screen. Not only is Ronnie 2K (given name Ronnie Singh) a polarizing figure who just this past week called entrant DeMarcus Cousins a “d—” on a live stream, but he is also an unpolished cable TV host. He offered forced analysis during game breaks and stale interviews with NBA personalities. He at many times seemed to be reading an off-screen prompt in a distracting manner.

It makes sense to have the game’s brand ambassador around the broadcast in some capacity, but he probably shouldn’t be such a key figure in a show centered on the players.

No esports commentators

ESPN decided to keep the “NBA 2K” in-game announcers providing the canned commentary everyone who owns the game is tired of at this point. That choice took away from the intensity of the action, the script-reading of virtual Kevin Harlan and Reggie Miller not providing the energy and specific reactions an ESPN broadcast crew could have delivered.

Not enough topical guidance for players

There was a lot of pressure placed on the players to be interesting through all four quarters, even if they didn’t know each other very well. Montrezl Harrell and Domantas Sabonis, for example, did not have natural chemistry and were seemingly given only one pre-planned subject: Asking how the other person had been spending their time in quarantine.

These broadcasts are ripe for sharing the kinds of behind-the-scenes NBA stories fans crave, as well as unique opinions. It would have been fascinating if the players were encouraged to share on-court battle tales, and such conversation would have let the broadcast flow better until things tightened up in the fourth quarter.

No live stream on Twitch

Leading up to the tournament, it sounded as if every game would be streamed on Twitch (and YouTube) in addition to ESPN’s TV broadcast. Fans scrambling to figure out why nothing was showing up on Twitch at the scheduled start time Friday were disappointed to learn there would not be a free live online option. It seems a bit silly for the NBA to miss a chance to get its stars in front of more eyeballs, but it’s likely ESPN pushed for exclusivity. Games are available on streaming platforms only after the fact.

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