👋 Good morning! Thanks for all the incredible feedback on yesterday's edition — glad so many of you enjoyed it. We'll definitely be doing more of those.
Today's word count: 1,682 words (6 minutes).
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios
It's been 26 days since the sports world effectively shuttered, and fans are eager to start watching games again, but not quite as eager to attend them, writes Axios' Jeff Tracy.
Driving the news: According to a new Morning Consult poll, 51% of fans think live sports will return between June and September, while only 8% think the void will bleed into 2021.
Yes, but: Many of those same fans are wary of how long it will take for them to feel comfortable attending those games, with 35% saying they'd need until at least October — and 22% saying they'd need until next year.
What the leagues are saying: Until testing increases and infection and death rates drastically decrease, leagues won't be working on much more than conjecture. Still, here's the latest:
The bottom line: Whether your favorite league is offering a pessimistic or optimistic update, I recommend taking everything with approximately 6,500 grains of salt. In the immortal words of Ygritte: "We know nothing, Jon Snow."
llustration: Aïda Amer/Axios
In October 2011, the American soccer world was stunned to learn that the World Cup broadcast rights, which ESPN had owned since 1994, would be moving to Fox for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.
Driving the news: According to a federal indictment handed down by U.S. prosecutors yesterday, two former Fox executives participated in an alleged scheme to pay millions of dollars in bribes to secure those rights.
The big picture: In addition to the charges related to Fox's broadcast rights, the indictment also alleges that representatives from Russia and Qatar bribed FIFA officials to secure hosting rights, confirming long-held suspicions.
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios
Gaming and esports are seeing a major upticks during the coronavirus pandemic, as more people look for ways to occupy their time at home, and bond with friends and family virtually, writes Axios' Sara Fischer.
Why it matters: While esports has been growing steadily, the lack of live sports is causing it to steal attention from traditional sports leagues.
My thought bubble ... Esports leagues have long modeled themselves after traditional sports, transforming the industry from one based solely on virtual competitions into one with live in-person events, sold-out arenas and even city-based franchises.
The 1896 Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece — which began 124 years ago yesterday — are remembered for kickstarting the greatest sporting tradition on Earth, but the event bore little resemblance to the truly modern Olympiad, particularly in terms of the talent (or lack thereof) that was on display.
"Unlike today's athletes, who train years with single-minded determination for the chance to represent their countries ... the men (and they were all men) who competed at the 1896 Games treated the world competition as more of a diversion than the culmination of any quest. In some cases ... they were accidental Olympians."— Mark Bechtel, SI
Thomas Burke, a 21-year-old Bostonian, won the 100 meter race with a time of 12 seconds flat (current world record: 9.58).
Robert Garrett, a 20-year-old Baltimore native, took first place in the discus with a throw of 29.15 meters (current world record: 74.08 meters).
Winners were given a silver medal, while runners-up received a copper medal. Retroactively, the IOC has converted those to gold and silver, and awarded bronze to third place.
"A few years ago, ESPN made a bet that viewers want the NFL, and all sports, to be an escape from politics. The past few weeks have tested that idea," the New Yorker's Louisa Thomas writes:
"There is no way around it: everything is connected; we are all conduits for money, culture, politics, viruses. There is not really a sports 'angle' to COVID-19, because there is no angle into anything that is all-encompassing.
"There is no escape into sports, because there are no sports. But, then, sports were never an alternative to the real world. They were always a reflection of it."
17 years ago today, freshman sensation Carmelo Anthony led Syracuse past Kansas, 81-78, to win the NCAA championship in his lone college season.
Why it matters: It was Syracuse's first — and still only — national championship, which is somewhat surprising given the program's "powerhouse" status.
The big picture: Syracuse's long-tenured coach, Jim Boeheim (1976-present), is inarguably among the greatest college basketball coaches in history, having racked up 1,065 career wins (second only to Coach K).
Go deeper: How Carmelo changed the NCAA tournament forever (B/R)
Kiara, a retriever and black Labrador mix, has become a viral sensation thanks to her remarkable volleyball skills.
What they're saying: "If nothing else, Hollywood may have reason to pick up where the final installment of the 'Air Bud' series — in which the lovable golden retriever unveils amazing volleyball abilities in 2003's 'Air Bud: Spikes Back' — left off," writes WashPost's Des Bieler.
Question: The NFL and the Pro Football Hall of Fame unveiled the 2010s All-Decade Team yesterday. Can you name the eight unanimous selections?
Answer at the bottom.
Daniel in Apex, North Carolina: "I love your history edition today and shared it with my grandkids (8 and 11), who I'm holed up with in Apex, N.C."
Gayle in San Diego: "Mario A. Boxer (named after the legendary Mario Andretti) enjoying a sunny day."
Dermot in Jersey City, New Jersey: "Looking across the New York Bay. Keep safe."
Kendall "Seriously, you should listen" Baker
Trivia answer: QB Tom Brady, RB Adrian Peterson, OT Joe Thomas, OG Marshal Yanda, DE J.J. Watt, DT Aaron Donald, LB Von Miller, K Justin Tucker