The big picture

Sports in the coronavirus era might need an asterisk

It's worth considering how champions will be remembered years from now.

Jul 8, 2020 - Sports
How the NBA's "smart rings" work to assess coronavirus risk

They track heart and respiratory rate, as well as temperature and sleep patterns.

Jun 30, 2020 - Sports
Sports leagues are preparing for an era without fans

Teams face a surreal environment without the energy and noise that fans provide.

May 13, 2020 - Sports
Special report: War, fever and baseball in 1918

1918 saw the Curse of the Bambino take hold.

Apr 6, 2020 - Sports

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Kendall Baker, author ofΒ Sports
Sep 18, 2020 - Sports

πŸ’ The Stanley Cup Final is set

Courtesy: NBC Sports

The NHL returned to play on Aug. 1 with 24 teams. Seven weeks later, only two remain.

  • Three days after the Stars punched their ticket to the 2020 Stanley Cup Final, the Lightning did the same with a 2-1 (OT) win over the Islanders.
  • Tampa Bay is seeking its first Stanley Cup since 2004, while Dallas is seeking its first since 1999.
Sep 17, 2020 - Sports

The business of cardboard fans

Photo: Harry How/Getty Images

When whispers of sports' fanless return first began, a cottage industry emerged to fill a need few knew existed: cardboard cutout fans.

Why it matters: Cardboard proxies have been a bright spot in an otherwise dark year, providing a better TV viewing experience, an opportunity for remote fan engagement and even financial relief for companies impacted by the pandemic.

Kendall Baker, author ofΒ Sports
Sep 16, 2020 - Sports

NFL dominates top telecasts, but ratings are down from 2019

Illustration: AΓ―da Amer/Axios

The NFL is America's most valuable TV property, and it's even more important to networks and advertisers this year with entertainment production largely shut down due to COVID-19.

Driving the news: Last week's top six prime-time shows were all NFL, but despite outperforming all other forms of prime-time programming, Week 1 ratings for the league were down roughly 4% compared to the 2019 season, according to Nielsen ratings cited by CNBC.

Sep 16, 2020 - Sports

MLB's double-bubble postseason

Texas' Globe Life Field, the home of the World Series this year. Photo: Cooper Neill/MLB via Getty Images

The MLB playoffs are less than two weeks away, and the league announced on Tuesday that the later rounds will be played at bubble sites.

The state of play: Eight teams are set per league, seeded as follows: division winners by record (1-3), division runners-up by record (4-6) and the two best remaining teams (7-8).

Sep 15, 2020 - Sports

The MLB players who could join Albert Pujols in the 600 home run club

Data: MLB; Table: Axios Visuals

Albert Pujols tied Willie Mays at No. 5 on the all-time HR list over the weekend, belting a moonshot for No. 660 at Coors Field.

The state of play: Pujols, 40, is one of just nine players in the exclusive 600-HR club. Which active players have a shot at joining him?

Kendall Baker, author ofΒ Sports
Sep 15, 2020 - Sports

Steve Cohen agrees to buy Mets

Illustration: AΓ―da Amer/Axios

Steve Cohen, a hedge fund billionaire from Long Island, has reached an agreement to buy the Mets.

Details: Cohen will own 95% of the team, with the Wilpon and Katz families retaining the other 5%. The sale values the Mets at $2.42 billion, per Sportico, making it the most ever paid for an MLB franchise, topping the $2.15 billion paid for the Dodgers and surrounding real estate in 2012.

Sep 11, 2020 - Sports

Coach John Calipari's strange streak

John Calipari and Anthony Davis at the 2012 ESPY Awards. Photo: Jason Merritt/Getty Images

John Calipari has coached a veritable who's who of current NBA talent in his 11 years at Kentucky, producing 29 first-round picks β€” but not a single NBA champion.

Yes, but: This could be the year his streak ends, as five of the seven remaining teams have at least one of Calipari's ex-Wildcats on their roster.

Kendall Baker, author ofΒ Sports
Sep 10, 2020 - Sports

Special report: The NFL is back and weirder than ever

Illustration: AΓ―da Amer/Axios

The Chiefs beat the 49ers in Super Bowl LIV on Feb. 2. One day later, the U.S. declared COVID-19 a public health emergency.

The big picture: A lot has happened in the 223 days since then, highlighted by Tom Brady's arrival in Tampa Bay via free agency and Joe Burrow's arrival in Cincinnati via the NFL's first-ever virtual draft. Teams aced the training camp protocols, but without any preseason games, expect to see some rust when they finally take the field for game day.

Sep 9, 2020 - Sports

Baseball's shrinking minor leagues

Illustration: AΓ―da Amer/Axios

Minor League Baseball (MiLB), whose season was already canceled due to the pandemic, is staring down a historic contraction once its agreement with Major League Baseball (MLB) expires on Sept. 30.

Why it matters: Roughly 42 of the 160 affiliated minor league clubs are set to lose affiliate status by the end of the month, drastically changing the future of not only the affected clubs, but the minor leagues as a whole.

Kendall Baker, author ofΒ Sports
Sep 9, 2020 - Sports

College football becomes a political proxy

Illustration: AΓ―da Amer/Axios

College football has become a key political issue as the 2020 election approaches, and the impending NFL season will only ratchet up the intensity around empty stadiums and player protests.

Why it matters: Football is America's most popular sport. And considering 43 of the top 50 most-watched TV broadcasts last year were football games, it's arguably our most popular form of entertainment, period.

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