YouTube to stream Champions League final

After successfully broadcasting the Europa League final between Sevilla and Liverpool on Wednesday, YouTube will also be streaming the Champions League final live next Saturday, May 28.

The Google-owned company, who struck a deal with BT Sport to screen both finals, drew a record peak audience of 3.5 million viewers but has said that it has no plans to challenge for Premier League rights.

Stephen Nuttall, YouTube’s senior director for Europe, Middle East and Africa, said: “It is amazing that BT has chosen to put the Europa and Champions League finals on YouTube to reach the widest possible audience.

“Live content works brilliantly as a complement to TV coverage for a broadcaster running a very good YouTube channel.

“Some partners think how much ad revenue can I make on it? Some think about what reach they can get to grow and build a domestic or global audience.”

The Europa League final is believed to be in YouTube’s top five most-watched live sports broadcasts in the UK.

With the Champions League final set to be aired on May 28, rumors had started to circulate that the company would take on Sky and BT in the next Premier League rights auction, but Nuttall dismissed the idea.

“We are not a buyer of rights,” he said. “We are very good at distributing content to the largest possible audience.

“It’s pretty clear. We are a technology company, we do a great job of creating tools that broadcasters, sports leagues and clubs can use to tell their stories to the largest possible engaged audience.

“That is what I expect we will continue to focus on. Our whole model is about partnering with people to allow them to make the greatest possible success out of their content.

“Overall, whether you are BT or UEFA or you are the BBC you look at YouTube and decide that it looks like an interesting place to distribute content.

“We work with, and focus on, distributing their content. Sometimes live, sometimes clips and highlights in the sports world. Sometimes digital natives. We donít create the content ourselves.”

YouTube has steadily been growing its portfolio of live sports offerings.

The media giant recently agreed a free-to-air broadcast deal with Spain’s Professional Football League (LFP) to air games from the LFP World Challenge, the country’s top-tier football pre-season tour.

YouTube will also offer highlights packages and behind the scenes content from the tour.

The company has also partnered with the NFL to offer fans some of the game’s most iconic matches for free.

Cricket continues to be part of YouTube’s strategy to develop its live sports offering, as shown by their recent airing of the inaugural Pakistan Super League competition.

Sevilla win third consecutive Europa League title after stunning comeback against Liverpool

Sevilla produced a stirring second half comeback to overturn a one-goal deficit and win their third consecutive Europa League title against Premier League side Liverpool in Switzerland.

Europa League holders Sevilla retained their European crown after coming back from a goal down against English side Liverpool, scoring three goals in a devastating second half display to win their third consecutive Europa League title and secure Champions League football next season.

Daniel Sturridge gave Liverpool a deserved lead midway through the first half with an outstanding strike with the outside of the boot, with Jurgen Klopp’s side quickly finding their rhythm in what was their first European final since 2007.

Liverpool had three strong penalty appeals turned down by referee Jonas Eriksson in what was a hugely encouraging opening 45 minutes from their point of view – but Sevilla emerged after the break with renewed vigour to draw themselves level in the first minute of the second half.

Kevin Gameiro, the La Liga side’s top scorer in the Europa League this season, tapped in after a superb run from the right-back Mariano to start the comeback, leaving Liverpool visibly shell-shocked. So impactful was the goal that the Premier League side soon looked a shadow of the team that had run Sevilla ragged in the first half.

Sevilla could well have been 2-0 up minutes later but for a superb stop from Liverpool keeper Simon Mignolet, denying Gameiro a quickfire second after he had been put clean through on goal.
There was to be no mistake from the Sevilla captain Coke just after the hour with the 29 year-old brilliantly sweeping home a loose ball to give his side the lead for the first time on the night.
Liverpool hassled and harried but failed to regain control of the match they had looked in total control of in the first half, with Coke once again firing in after the ball fell kindly to him in the Liverpool box to give Sevilla yet another night of European glory.

Tottenham Hotspur only Premier League team to make 2015-16 transfer window profit

A study of the activity of the Premier League’s 20 clubs during the last two transfer windows shows that only one team made a profit and that spending and success are not inextricably linked.

Activity in the summer 2015 and January 2016 windows was taken into consideration, with Tottenham Hotspur the only team to make a profit.

The White Hart Lane side made $9.7 million from their deals, with only a handful of new faces brought to White Hart Lane including Toby Alderweireld and Son Heung-min.

This was counteracted by the sales of a host of players including Paulinho, Vlad Chiriches and Roberto Soldado.

Manchester City were the side to make the highest loss on transfers, with a net spend of $180m, which brought the likes of Raheem Sterling, Kevin De Bruyne and Nicolas Otamendi to the Etihad Stadium.

Interestingly, Newcastle United were the next highest net spenders on $115.8m, but this was not enough to save the Tyneside club from relegation.

This also shows the perils of spending big mid-season, with the likes of Andros Townsend and Jonjo Shelvey signed in January but not enough to keep Rafa Benitez’s men in the top flight.

Shock English champions Leicester City made a $41.8m net spend, with only six teams in the division making a bigger loss.

Manchester United were the second highest net spenders in the top half of the finalised table on $48.6m, while a host of the biggest spenders were in the lower reaches of the division.

Newly promoted sides Watford, Bournemouth and Norwich all spent big, with their expenditure in the transfer market actually dictating their fate.

The Hornets and Cherries made net spends of $61.5m and $56m respectively and avoided the drop, while the Carrow Road side’s outlay of $39.2m was not enough to stave off relegation.

The figures will be another source of frustration for Arsenal fans, with the Gunners’ net spend at $22.6m.

With the Emirates Stadium faithful crying out for Arsene Wenger to buy a world-class striker and reinforce the squad, the fact that only six teams spent less will evoke annoyance in the North London supporters.

The figures are set to be shaken up this summer as the likes of United, Chelsea and Liverpool are expected to spend big in a bid to get back into the Premier League top four and fight for major silverware.

17-year-old sets new world record for chin-ups

Andrew Shapiro used an American TV show and his father’s cancer diagnosis as his inspiration to literally pull his way into the record books.

The 17-year-old completed more than 7,000 chin-ups over the course of 18 hours, breaking the previous 24-hour record of 6,800 set in 2015 by Czech Republic athlete Jan Kares.

He also set new six-hour and 12-hour marks during a Relay for Life event in Fairfax County, Virginia.

“It was blood, sweat and hours and hours and hours of hard work,” Shapiro told the Washington Post.

“I’ve always liked challenging myself so I’ll add this to my resume as a person for American Ninja Warrior. I figure they won’t say no to someone who has the world record for pull-ups.”

In addition to his desire to appear on television, Shapiro used the challenge to raise $4,000 for the American Cancer Society.

His dad had a five-year battle with colon cancer, undergoing two major surgeries, chemotherapy and radiation. He is now cancer free and in remission.

Shapiro’s record breaking efforts included completing 3,515 pull-ups after six hours and 5,742 by the 12-hour mark.

He matched Kares’ record after 15 hours and continued for another three hours before stopping, having put his chin above the bar 7,306 times.

His family set up three video cameras to record the attempt, with 15 judges on hand to certify the achievement for the Guinness World Records books.

The $250m football game: Welcome to the Championship Playoff Final

Sheffield Wednesday will play against Hull City in the Championship playoff final for a place in the Premier League in a game which will provide a massive cash windfall for the winners.

Wednesday’s victory against Brighton & Hove Albion secured their place in this year’s Championship play-off final, while City progressed to the one game shoot-out at Wembley after easing past Derby County in their semi-final.

The winners of the final will be promoted to the Premier League and gain access to untold riches.

With a new $7.44 billion TV deal coming into force next season, the rewards for promotion have never been greater.

Despite finishing bottom of the Premier League this season, Aston Villa pocketed $95.6 million in prize money.

Next season the team finishing 20th will earn $145 million – the same as Leicester City received for winning the league this time around.

Parachute payments for any team relegated from the league will be a staggering $108.6 million over two years.

With increased matchday revenues, coupled with new sponsorship and commercial deals, the playoff game is financially the biggest prize in football today.

Clubs who stay up for another season can expect to rake in around $435 million.

City finished nine points ahead of Wednesday during the regular season, although there was nothing between the teams when they faced each other.

The pair fought out a 1-1 draw at Hillsborough back in October, with February’s return at the KC Stadium finishing goalless.

Wednesday are bidding to return to the Premier League after 16 years out of the top flight.

Thai businessman Dejphon Chansiri has bankrolled the club since taking over from Milan Mandaric two years ago. Chansiri had targeted promotion by 2017, the year of the club’s 150th anniversary.

Portuguese coach Carlos Carvalhal has invested heavily in the club’s playing squad, bringing in the likes of Fernando Forestieri and Marco Matias for seven-figure sums.

The Tigers are looking to bounce back into the Premier League at the first time of asking.

Steve Bruce has spent shrewdly this season, selling the likes of James Chester, Robbie Brady and Tom Ince and bringing in Moses Odubajo, Sam Clucas and the experienced Shaun Maloney.

Bruce has raised over $38 million in transfer income, while spending just $10 million on players, but he has comfortably guided Hull into the play-off final.

Both Wednesday and City will hope the new found wealth promotion brings will lead to them becoming established Premier League clubs.

Two of last year’s promoted teams, Bournemouth and Watford, have comfortably retained their status and the rise in income next season could further level the playing field.

While England’s top teams compete with Barcelona, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich for the world’s best players, those further down the table have been able to attract talents like Dimitri Payet, Sadio Mane and Xherdan Shaqiri – something which would have been unthinkable a few seasons ago.

Hull have been in fine form in recent weeks and will go into the game as favorites, but Wednesday have also been playing well with just three defeats in their last 16 games and could easily upset the odds.

(VIDEO) Strongman Hafthor Bjornsson posts hilarious video training with his tiny dog

When you see the size and sheer bulk of the man they call The Mountain, its a safe bet to say cardio is not at the top of Hafthor Bjornsson’s priority list.

The Icelandic powerhouse is one of the favorites to win the 2016 World’s Strongest Man title after coming close in recent years and has recently revealed his incredible eating schedule to complement his training ahead of the event.

However, Bjornsson has also been doing a spot of cardio and has a special companion to keep him company while hitting the track.

The Stongman’s pomeranian Asterix has a profile of its own on social media and unlike its owner, is struggling for size.

The most cardio I've done in years!!#TimeForPizza #Asterix&Obelix @asterix_astrikur

A video posted by Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson (@thorbjornsson) on

As can be seen above, Bjornsson and his training buddy have been getting their hearts pumping but the Game of Thrones star obviously prefers strength and conditioning work to cardio.

Wins for Czech Republic and United States in Hockey World Championship Day 8

Czech Republic and United States both recorded victory on Day 8 of the Hockey World Championships on Friday, as Russia prepare to return to the ice on Saturday.

In Group A, the Czechs maintained their unbeaten record by overcoming Kazakhstan at the Ice Palace, winning 3-1 in the first game of the day.

Tomas Plekanec gave the eventual victors the lead just before the seven-minute mark and struck again in the final period to double his side’s advantage.

Despite Nigel Dawes pulling one back for Kazakhstan, a Robert Kousal effort ensured that the Czechs have now won all five of their fixtures in Russia and sit on top of Group A.

Elsewhere in the group, Denmark made slight amends for their 10-1 thumping at the hands of the competition hosts by beating Latvia 3-2.

The teams were equally matched and scored a goal apiece in the first two periods, with the final 20 minutes drawing a stalemate.

As such, a penalty shot shootout was required, with Nicklas Jensen, who also had opened the scoring in normal time for Denmark, proving his country’s hero.

In Group B, United States appear to be coming into some form after a shaky start to the tournament and made it two wins on the bounce by beating the pool’s bottom side Hungary 5-1.

John Hynes’ men had 37 shots compared to their opponents’ eight, but had to wait until the second period to break the deadlock.

Goals from Nick Foligno, Vince Hinostroza and Dylan Larkin in the second 20 minutes virtually handed victory to the US, while Foligno and Connor Murphy completed the scoring in the final period before a consolation from Istvan Sofron.

The result consolidates United States’ third place in Group B, with the North American side looking destined now to make the quarter-finals.

Friday’s action was rounded up by Germany beating European rivals Belarus 5-2 at Yubileiny.

Marco Sturm’s men came out with a point to prove and duly did by scoring three unanswered goals in the first 20 minutes.

Although Belarus scored the first goal of the second period to keep it interesting, Germany were always in control and cruised to their second win of the tournament.

Saturday’s games see Russia back in action, with the competition hosts on a high and set to face Switzerland, with six fixtures in total on Day 9.

Group A participants Kazakhstan and Latvia will also face-off, while Scandinavian rivals Noway and Sweden will compete.

In Group B, frontrunners Finland and Canada will face France and Slovakia respectively, with the in-form pair looking to maintain their 100 per cent records. Hungary and Belarus will also take to the ice.

Manchester United hope for Champions League luck as Madrid wait on Barcelona to slip up

Europe’s top leagues reach the finishing line this weekend with some important issues still to be decided.

Barcelona lead the way by a point from Real Madrid in La Liga, but both face last day games away from home – Barca at Granada, while Real travel to Deportivo La Coruna.

Granada need a point to be certain of avoiding relegation, but with Barca having won eight of their last nine meetings they will be confident of securing their second successive title.

Real, who are are chasing their first La Liga crown since 2012, have dominated against Deportivo in recent times, winning 10 and drawing one of their previous 11 games.

Deportivo have been tricky opponents this season with 18 drawn games, but Real will fancy their chances of victory and then hope Granada can lend them a helping hand against the current league leaders.

In the Premier League, the two Manchester clubs are hunting the lucrative fourth Champions League place.

United’s 3-2 defeat at West Ham United on Tuesday left City two points in front of their rivals and with a far superior goal difference.

City travel to Swansea City knowing a point should be enough to seal fourth place, but the Welsh side are in good form at the moment having scored seven goals in their last two games.

The Swans have won just one of their last meetings with City, leaving Manuel Pelligrini’s side big favorites to fend off United’s challenge.

Despite reaching the FA Cup Final, Louis van Gaal has overseen a frustrating season for United and while they should see off Bournemouth with ease at Old Trafford on Sunday it is likely they will miss out on the Champions League.

Elsewhere, there is a similar scenario in Ligue 1 in France with Monaco currently in the third and final slot just two points ahead of Nice.

With ten games to go Monaco looked certainties to finish in the top three, but a run of three wins in their next nine matches opened the door for Nice.

They head into Saturday’s home game against Montpelier unbeaten in their last 28 meetings, but the visitors are in good form having won four on the spin.

Just two defeats in their last nine games has given Nice a fighting chance of overtaking Monaco, although they face a difficult final day at Guingamp.

The hosts have a reasonable record against Nice in recent times, winning six and drawing four of their previous 17 games.

Thunder through to face Warriors in Western Conference final

Oklahoma City Thunder beat San Antonio Spurs 113-99 on Thursday to win the NBA Western Conference semi-final series 4-2.

Kevin Durant scored 37 points, with Russell Westbrook adding 28 as Thunder set up a mouth-watering Conference final against the Golden State Warriors.

After losing 124-92 to the Spurs in Game 1, Thunder bounced back in style in win four of the next five.

Westbrook believes the defeat was the wake-up call the team needed.

“We had that game, and we left it behind us,” he said. “We came out after that and had a different mindset.

“We knew what we had to do to win the series. They’re a great team. They’ve been winning for 10-plus years, same pace. I’m just proud of our guys.”

Thunder dominated the first half, racing into a 55-31 lead. They kept up the pressure in the third quarter and led 91-65 at the next break.

Spurs rallied in the final session, but could get no closer than 11 points as the Thunder comfortably closed out the game.

Elsewhere, attention switches to the Eastern Conference on Friday, with the Miami Heat looking to take their series against the Toronto Raptors to Game 7.

Raptors’ 99-91 victory on Wednesday gave them a 3-2 lead in the battle to face Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern final.

The Heat struggled during the early stages of Game 5, but rallied during the second half before eventually falling just short.

“We’ve gotta stay positive,” Tyler Johnson said. “If we eliminate that slow start, we have a good chance at winning. We’ve gotta learn from it. If we win at home, after that it’s anybodyís game.”

If the Heat can overcome the Raptors they would become the first in NBA history to overcome two 3-2 deficits in the same post-season after winning Games 6 and 7 to defeat the Charlotte Hornets in the previous round.

“We’ve been in a lot of tough positions this season, but recently we have been in this exact position,” Gerald Green said.

“We’ve done this. We feel we can get it back to Toronto, and then in Game 7 anything can happen.”

While the Eastern final line-up is yet to be decided, Steph Curry and the Warriors are enjoying some much needed rest ahead of Monday’s opening Western Conference final game against the Thunder.

The reigning champions eased past Portland Trail Blazers in the last round and with Curry now fully recovered from knee and ankle injuries, head coach Steve Kerr is confident his team can successfully defend their title.

“Anytime you win a series, you’re just relieved and then you move on and at that point you have a brand new set of challenges,” said Kerr.

“So this was a great series and I’m happy we pulled through. Now we’ll get a little rest and see what happens on the other side of the bracket.”

Having won six of their previous seven meetings with the Thunder, it would be a major surprise if the Warriors failed to earn a crack at winning a second successive NBA championship.

Real Madrid say terrorism will never beat football after ISIS kill 16 fans

ISIS militants wielding AK-47s killed 16 Real Madrid fans at a supporters’ club in Iraq – because they ‘don’t like football’.

The group stormed the building in Samarra, Iraq, and opened fire on a group of around 50 people who had gathered to watch a game.

ISIS claim the massacre was carried out to honor Abdel Rahman Mustafa al-Qaduli, the group’s second-in-command, who was killed in a coalition strike in March.

The La Liga giants published a statement on their official wesbite saying football will never be defeated by terrorism.

“Real Madrid C.F. deeply regrets the terrible attack in Iraq which today saw 16 members of a Real Madrid supporters club lose their lives and which has also left over 20 injured,” it read.

“The club expresses its great sadness and offers its regards and condolences to the families and friends of the victims.

“Real Madrid extends all of its solidarity to the people of Iraq, who suffer the excessive injustices of extreme violence.

“The Real Madrid players will tomorrow wear symbolic black armbands as a sign of their mourning and respect. Football and sport shall always be spaces in which to come together and in which harmony and peace reign and with which no form of barbaric terrorism will be able to compete.

“Today Madridismo across the whole world cries for its supporters, who shall never be forgotten.”

The president of the supporters club, Ziad Subhan, said: “A group of Islamist terrorists, from ISIS, came into the cafÈ armed with AK-47s, shooting at random at everyone who was inside.”

“They don’t like football – they think it’s anti-Muslim. They just carry out attacks like this. This is a terrible tragedy.”

One of the gunmen is reported to have set off his explosive vest, killing four more people, at a nearby vegetable market hours later after police and residents surrounded him in a disused building.

The scorched body of a suspected gunman was found hanging upside down from a post outside the cafe yesterday, with residents saying they captured a man who confessed to the attack and burned him alive.

Javier Tebas Medrano, president of La Liga, said he was “dismayed by the attack” on the fans and that the league was “with the victims and their families”.

Earlier this week, three separate car bombings in Baghdad killed at least 93 people and wounded 165.

ISIS later claimed responsibility for all three bombings.

Iraqi authorities are coming under increasing pressure over security breaches in Baghdad, with the country’s top Shia cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani condemning the latest attacks.

He said the government is ultimately responsible for such security breaches, following protests in Baghdad’s Sadr City district and has called for the defense secretary and Prime Minister to resign.