Catch all of South Africa’s picturesque moments on our new Instagram page. (Image: Brand South Africa)Brand South Africa has now joined Instagram. You can experience South Africa’s natural beauty and awesome people wherever you are. So join us on our journey.We are a warm people living in a beautiful country. We are a country of 52 million stories. We want South Africans to tell their own story. It is for this reason we have launched our Instagram page today.In celebration of the launch, we’re giving you the chance to win a weekend getaway in South Africa for two.Upload an image of your South Africa and tag @BrandSouthAfrica with #IHeartMySA. The picture that best illustrates the love for South Africa will be deemed the winner.We want you to share your pride in our sports teams, your love of being together, the natural beauty of the world we live in. We will share our warmth, the good times we share with our extended families. We want you to tell the stories of your success and the better world we are creating.Using the #IHeartMySA, we will inspire each other to show off the best of us. We will build themed collages showing off South African’s national pride and the hospitality of our neighbours.The prize includes accommodation at a four-star resort with breakfast and dinner for two. It excludes any travel and extra costs incurred by the winners. For more information, have a look at the terms and conditions.So don’t hesitate to follow us by using the handle @BrandSouthAfrica.See you on Instagram.
Each iteration of Blackmagic Design’s DaVinci Resolve has become more efficient than the last. In 15, it’s the shared node that makes the difference.Shared nodes are a new feature in Resolve 15 that allow colorists to share individual nodes across multiple clips, allowing for simultaneous correcting and grading on all clips while maintaining the properties from the clip-specific nodes.For example, in the past, if you needed to push all the interior shots from scene six toward a warmer hue, you had two options: group all clips together and apply the correction, or individually open each clip and apply a new node to follow with the new direction. However, with the grouping aspect, you then had to keep switching between clip node graph and the group node graph to make further adjustments. Suddenly, applying the warm push to each clip became tedious, especially if there were numerous clips to adjust.This is where shared nodes come in.Creating a shared node couldn’t be easier, but there are a few steps that can trip you up (especially the automatic locking feature).To create a shared node, you simply right-click any corrector node and select Save as Shared Node. There’s no minuscule color change to the node outline, nor is there a hard-to-miss icon indicating that the corrector node is now a shared node.However, what isn’t as obvious is the small lock icon on the bottom-right of the node, which signifies that the node is locked. This is an automatic feature to prevent users from making accidental adjustments across all the clips that share the node. It can be somewhat confusing as you can still use all of the available correction and grading tools, but no adjustments are implemented. To make any further changes to the shared node, right-click and select “Lock Node” to unlock it. There won’t be an option to “unlock it” — the tick will symbolize if it’s locked or not.Of course, sharing the node is the main thing to learn.Copy and Paste The simplest (although not the most practical) way to share the node is to select and copy the node by either selecting the node and using Edit > Copy, or by hitting Ctrl+C, then moving to a new clip and pasting the shared node properties to a new node. This, however, requires one too many clicks and button presses compared to other methods.For example, if you were to copy and paste the shared node to a new clip, Resolve would automatically apply it to the node that was previously selected when grading that clip, which nullifies any existing adjustments. Therefore, you have to add a blank node before pasting the shared node.Copy Entire Grade ShortcutLikewise, if you were to copy the entire grade by using the middle mouse button shortcut (select a clip from the clip timeline, and then hover over a graded clip and press the middle mouse button), then the shared node would be on the new clip.Apply Grade from Still If you were to save a grade to the gallery, and the grade included a shared node, and you were to apply that grade to a new clip, the shared node would be included. Again, it’s important to remember that when applying a grade from a captured still, all of the nodes replace all of the existing nodes unless the still is appended.All these options are great for when you want to move the entire grade, but how about just adding the shared node to a new clip?Node Contextual MenuThis is arguably the best and easiest way to add a shared node to a new clip. Upon creating a shared node, the option to add a shared node appears in the contextual node menu (the menu that appears when you right-click a node). When you do this, you get a selection of shared nodes to choose from, and the shared node appends to the selected node; there is no overwriting existing nodes.Append Node to Selected Clips If you have several clips and need to apply the shared node to all, perhaps for a color temperature change, you can do this with relatively few clicks. First, make sure that the shared node is selected in the open clip window and that the clip timeline is visible, then while holding Ctrl, select the appropriate clips, open the color menu, and click “Append Node To Selected Clips.”If you need to delete the shared node, you need to do more than simply selecting the node and hitting delete. While that will delete the node from the specific clip, the shared node and its properties will still be active on the other clips. To remove the node from all shared clips, you have to enter the contextual node menu, and then select “Delete Shared Node.” This will delete the properties of the shared node across all clips; however, an empty node will remain. The ability to share nodes across several clips truly is a brilliant feature, and I’m sure that with future updates the feature will only improve. Being able to see which clips share the node would be most welcome . . .Lewis McGregor is a certified DaVinci Resolve trainer.Looking for more Resolve tips and tricks? Check these out.Quick Tip: How To Use Optimized Media In DaVinci ResolveRemove Unwanted Shot Features With Resolve 15’s Patch ReplacerResolve’s Lens Reflections and Film Damage FX AnalyzedVideo Tutorial: How to Configure The ADR Panel In Resolve 15Your Guide to Working with Project Files in DaVinci Resolve
Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 23:58 — 19.3MB)Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Android | Email | Google Podcasts | RSSEvery sales professional says they have a hunger to win, but few truly conquer as top sellers. My guest on this episode says every sales professional must have a perpetual hunger to win in sales – that constant drive to provide for their family, to be a success, and to be the trusted advisor who serves their customers well. Patrick’s newest book, “Perpetual Hunger” is the subject of our conversation. It’s a book that can serve you almost like a sales encyclopedia with easy-to-read chapters that are able to be immediately applied. You’ll get a great feel for what he covers in the book by listening to this episode of the podcast.Stoking Your Hunger to Win in the Sales Arena, with Patrick TinneyClick To TweetFear and adversity can contribute to your hunger in a positive way, or it can hold you back.You hear a lot these days about overcoming fears and adversity, but Patrick Tinney and I agree that both of those things can fuel your hunger if you know how to leverage them to your advantage. The saddest thing is to see a person with great potential who is saddled with their own fear to such an extent that they can’t push forward to the success that is possible. On this episode Patrick and I discuss the role adversity and fear can play in a positive way to stoke the hunger to win in sales, so be sure you listen.The truthful sales conversations happen when you are able to knock the chat off script.Every party involved in a sales conversation has their own agenda – a script of sorts they have prepared to direct the conversation in the direction they want it to go. But those scripts often prevent the conversation from getting to the real issues that are at stake, the real needs the clients have and the solutions you can offer. Patrick Tinney says whenever you can knock the conversation off that script you have the opportunity to hear the true needs of your prospect and are able to understand what your team can bring to the table. You’ll want to hear this part of our conversation – it’s well worth your time.The truthful sales conversations happen when you are able to knock the chat off script Click To TweetWhy relationships win in every sales interaction.Your hunger to win as a sales professional can’t be about you primarily, even though the need to attain a certain level of personal success is always part of the equation. You need to focus more on the relationships that are the basis of trust between you and your customers. That’s what will give you success long term. In this conversation, Patrick Tinney shares a story from his own experience about an opportunity he had to build enormous trust with a client and how it came to serve him personally in the end. You won’t want to miss this powerful story.The first part of becoming a trusted advisor is trust. Don’t violate it.We’ve all heard the admonition to become a trusted advisor to our customers, and while it’s definitely the goal we want to be shooting for, it’s easy to forget that “trust” is the first part of that goal. The trust our customers have in us is only what we enable them to have – and that comes about through our integrity toward them. In his new book, “Perpetual Hunger” Patrick Tinney speaks to the role those kinds of trusting relationships play in accomplishing the success we all want, and how trust is a key element in it. I encourage you to listen to Patrick’s advice on this, you won’t regret it.The first part of becoming a trusted advisor is trust. Don’t violate it.Click To TweetOutline of this great episode Patrick Tinney: Sales trainer, coach, and author. What does it mean for a sales professional to be perpetually hungry and why aren’t people MORE hungry? What makes for an exceptional sales prospector? The higher value questions a sales pro should be asking. Using your questions to help the prospect ask themselves value questions. The concept of powerful scripting and unscripting. Why relationships matter most: a story from Patrick’s experience.Resources & Links mentioned in this episodewww.CentroidMarketing.com ~ Patrick Tinney’s websiteThe Hudson’s Bay Companywww.TheLostArtOfClosing.com – Anthony’s newest book099382841809938284341531888984The theme song “Into the Arena” is written and produced by Chris Sernel. You can find it on SoundcloudConnect with AnthonyWebsite: www.TheSalesBlog.comYoutube: www.Youtube.com/IannarinoFacebook: https://www.facebook.com/iannarinoTwitter: https://twitter.com/iannarinoGoogle Plus: https://plus.google.com/+SAnthonyIannarinoLinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/iannarino Essential Reading! Get my 2nd book: The Lost Art of Closing “In The Lost Art of Closing, Anthony proves that the final commitment can actually be one of the easiest parts of the sales process—if you’ve set it up properly with other commitments that have to happen long before the close. The key is to lead customers through a series of necessary steps designed to prevent a purchase stall.” Buy Now Tweets you can use to share this episodeFear and adversity can contribute to your hunger in a positive way, or it can hold you backClick To TweetWhy relationships win in every sales interactionClick To Tweet
Middle-distance runner Jinson Johnson wrapped up his Asian Games campaign in style by winning the elusive gold in the 1500m run. The track event, which the 27-year-old track athlete won with a timing of 3:44.72 minutes, also came in light for being the slowest race in the history of the quadrennial event.However, Jinson said the mid-distance races are not governed by the rule of how quickly you finish the race but the strategy of how you set the pace of the race.”A layman often doesn’t know that 800m & 1500m runs are not like sprints. You just can’t run quick and finish the race. You have to make a strategy and decide the pace of the race. The slow pace of the race helps runners like us, who can conserve energy and use it at the final stages of the race to win it,” Jinson told Mail Today.ASIAN GAMES 2018 FULL COVERAGEHe further explained through his Commonwealth Games 2018 experience how faster races pace affects the medal-winning chances of runners like him.”That’s how I couldn’t win the medal at the Commonwealth because the Kenyan athletes – who grabbed gold in both 800m and 1500m – kept the race pace at a much faster speed and we were exhausted by the time we reached the final stages. A slower race pace could help me win medal anywhere,” he explained.Apparently, at the CWG Kenya’s Elijah Manangoi (gold) and Timothy Cheruyiot (silver) used the strategy of the fast pace in the 1500m and won the race with a timing of 3:34.78. The Indian mid-distance runner managed to finish fifth and broke the national record with 3:37.86 minutes – previously held by Chatholi Hamza (3:41.18).advertisementJinson was also the front-runner to win gold at the 800m events too but was piped by gold medallist Manjit Singh in the final 100m of the race. Jinson said he wasn’t surprised by Manjit’s burst of pace as he has always been competitive compatriot at the national level.”I wasn’t really surprised by what Manjit did because he has always finished within a second of me at the national level. But it happened so late in the race that I had no time left to overtake him to win the race,” he concluded.
National TitleYesterday, we ranked the five most-overrated college football teams in the country based on the odds the sports books are giving them to win the national championship. Twitter/Playoff.You can see those five teams here. Now, we’re ranking the five most-underrated teams by the oddsmakers. These are five teams whose national championship odds are a little too low, in our opinion. So, yes, these five teams – in our opinion – would be good teams to bet on to win it all. As we did with the five most-overrated teams’ feature, we’re using Bovada’s national title odds, which you can see here. Here are the five most-underrated college football teams in the country heading into the season. Start With No. 5 ??? >>>Pages: Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 4 Page 5 Page 6
Kandy: Sri Lanka’s Lasith Malinga on Friday became the first bowler in Twenty20 internationals to claim 100 wickets, achieving the feat in the third match against New Zealand in Kandy. Malinga, who surpassed Pakistan spinner Shahid Afridi’s tally of 97 scalps to become the leading T20 wicket-taker on Sunday, bowled Colin Munro to get a century of wickets in his 76th match. The 36-year-old speedster went on to complete a hat-trick and took four wickets in four balls. Hamish Rutherford, Colin de Grandhomme and Ross Taylor followed Munro to the pavilion.
Hours before the Australian Open started in Melbourne on Monday, BuzzFeed News and the BBC published results from a joint investigation showing that tennis authorities hadn’t punished male pros repeatedly flagged for suspicions that they were fixing matches — deliberately losing, or arranging for their opponent to lose, to maximize their or others’ betting profits. Tennis authorities quickly gathered in Melbourne for a news conference responding to the charges, saying they had “thoroughly investigated” any evidence brought to them.The process by which tennis investigates alleged match-fixing is so secretive that it’s impossible to judge the accuracy of authorities’ response. But the BuzzFeed-BBC report, and its aftermath, does provide a case study of how difficult it is to evaluate what could look like suspicious betting activity. It’s possible to use data analysis, as BuzzFeed did, to raise questions about certain matches and players; it’s much harder, and may be impossible, to use that data to accuse specific players of throwing matches without the additional investigative powers tennis authorities wield — and according to the BuzzFeed-BBC report, often aren’t using.As part of the investigation, John Templon, an investigative data reporter for BuzzFeed News, spent more than a year analyzing 26,000 professional men’s matches and found 15 players who lost matches with unusual betting patterns “startlingly often.” (Match-fixing is also believed to occur in professional women’s tennis, but the BuzzFeed-BBC investigation focused only on men’s tennis, so we are in this article, too.) BuzzFeed and BBC didn’t name these players, citing a lack of evidence of wrongdoing and possible alternative explanations for underperformance, including injury. But BuzzFeed did release an anonymized version of the data it used on GitHub, including a file containing betting odds and the year for 129,271 matches.Quickly, people wrote on Twitter and on GitHub that the data could be de-anonymized, thereby identifying the 15 players Templon mentioned. Ian Dorward, a London-based tennis bettor who used to set and adjust tennis betting lines for a bookmaker, emailed me the list of what he believed to be the 15 names. After Chris Bol, a data analyst based in Utrecht, the Netherlands, published the same names, Dorward went public with his findings, which criticized BuzzFeed for making the data relatively easy to crack.1How could the data be de-anonymized so quickly? Dorward told me he went through the process step by step, analyzing the big data set of matches. First he identified outlier players: Those who are almost always favorites are likely the very top players. Then he found unusual matches, like those that weren’t completed. That allowed him to identify some opponents. And so on, repeating the process. Bol used a different method, comparing the anonymous players’ annual win-loss records with those of actual players and finding the ones with the closest fit. The GitHub user said by email that finding odds for any single match on OddsPortal.com, the source for BuzzFeed’s betting-odds data, one would have a good chance of finding in the BuzzFeed data a unique match with those same odds and year, and repeating that process could identify the players. The user compared it to how anonymized AOL search data released in 2006 could be matched to individual Americans. BuzzFeed hasn’t confirmed the list of names — we’ll call them the BuzzFeed 15 — though the methods Bol and Dorward used appear straightforward and arrive at the same names. Asked for comment, BuzzFeed investigations and projects editor Mark Schoofs sent a statement by email. “The betting data we used in our analysis is publicly available — that’s how we got it,” Schoofs said. “In our journalism, we try to show as much of our work as possible, which is why we made the algorithm public.”Dorward looked more closely at eight matches that BuzzFeed’s analysis flagged and concluded that for each one, there was “no evidence of anything suspicious.”“It’s very, very dangerous to make blasé assumptions about a match being dubious because of prematch movements,” Dan Weston, a tennis analyst and trader who writes for the website of the sports book Pinnacle, said in a telephone interview. (Using only data on betting and results to demonstrate fixing has proven problematic in other sports.)“By itself, the analysis of betting data does not prove match-fixing,” Schoofs said in his statement. “That’s why we did not name the players and are declining to comment, and also why our investigation went much wider than the algorithm and was based on a cache of leaked documents, interviews across three continents, and much more.”So how could a player lose matches with big odds movements “startlingly often” without fixing matches?Well, lots of ways:A player could tank a match — deliberately lose it — without fixing. Sometimes players stand to make more money by losing early in one tournament so they can get to another. Other times, players might collect a bonus or appearance fee for showing up to a tournament they’d rather not play and then lose early so they can rest and focus on a bigger upcoming tournament.No. 1 Novak Djokovic was accused of doing just this — showing up to collect a bonus but losing deliberately at a tournament in Paris — in 2007 by the media and tennis-forum posters at the time, and by an Italian newspaper this week. At the time, Djokovic said he wasn’t well. Djokovic said Wednesday that he didn’t throw the match: “It’s not supported by any kind of proof, any evidence, any facts. … It’s not true.”Deliberately losing a match is punishable by a fine, but is a much less serious offense than fixing a match for gambling purposes.Bettors could have inside information on a match outcome without the player’s involvement. For instance, if the player isn’t at full strength, his coach, trainer, spouse, family members or friends might know it before betting markets do and use that knowledge or pass it on to other bettors. It might not even involve an insider at all. In the early rounds at small tournaments, a fan who happens to overhear a conversation or witness an injury at practice could trade on that knowledge before anyone else in the betting markets knows.Betting markets could simply get the opening odds wrong. BuzzFeed’s analysis identified matches for which at least one of seven major bookmakers’ odds moved by so much from when the market opened to when it closed — generally, the day or so between when a matchup is set and when the match starts — that one player’s implied chance of winning decreased by more than 10 percentage points. That typically happens when many bets are placed against the player, suggesting the initial odds were too bullish on his chances. Bookies then adjust the line to increase and balance betting volume and to reduce their exposure.Heavy betting against the player could mean some bettors know he’s going to lose. But it could also mean that many bettors spot favorable odds for reasons that the bookmaker isn’t taking into account. Often bookmakers use an algorithm to set initial odds. Depending on how sophisticated it is, that algorithm could fail to take into account injuries, or a bad matchup, or lack of play on the court surface. The more obscure the athletes involved, the more likely sports books are to whiff with their opening bid. (For reference, professional bettors in the U.S. say they focus their energies on a single, relatively unnoticed part of the sports landscape — say, backwater college basketball conferences or Major League Soccer — and use their expertise on this little swath of the sports cosmos to beat the relatively uninformed book. These bettors will often also make arrangements to trade their picks for another bettor’s picks in a different, equally obscure sport, which is how syndicates are formed and lines are moved.) Many of the flagged matches involve little-known players in third-tier tournaments, making the lines vulnerable to a well-informed bettor.BuzzFeed’s analysis included only the 39 players who lost 11 or more matches in which the odds moved heavily against them, and the 15 players it flagged were ones who lost far more of those matches than would be expected. BuzzFeed also corrected for what’s known as the multiple-testing problem, which can produce spurious results that look statistically significant, by using a Bonferroni correction — and it still found four players with significant results. So that should help mitigate concerns about any one match being a false positive. But some players are particularly tough for bookmakers to handicap, whether because they’re coming off an injury, or because they don’t play that often, or because they’re ranked higher than their true talent after a run of good luck that bettors, but not the bookmakers’ algorithms, account for. These kinds of reasons could help explain the presence of several of the players Dorward identified as being on BuzzFeed’s list. They’re also why alternative sourcing is so crucial; BuzzFeed provides supplementary evidence where it can, but as we’ll cover below, seemingly straightforward things like video of the matches in question can be hard to come by.The details of how BuzzFeed chose to do its analysis could affect which players are flagged as losing suspicious matches suspiciously often. BuzzFeed’s analysis is impressive in many ways. It’s vetted by two professors of statistics, covers 26,000 matches, excludes books with opening odds that are major outliers, accounts for multiple testing and chooses the same bookmakers that Dorward says he would have used. But any analysis involves making choices, and the more robust findings are ones that hold even when different reasonable choices are made.To check that, we enlisted the help of Jeff Sackmann, a tennis data analyst who wrote his own code, at our request, to collect and analyze tennis betting data. He checked more than twice as many matches — nearly 63,000 — from late 2008 through the start of this year. These included matches from the ATP World Tour and Grand Slam tournaments, which are included in BuzzFeed’s analysis, but also from Challengers, the sport’s minor league, where prize money and public attention are lower and the risk of match-fixing is believed to be higher.Following BuzzFeed’s methodology,2Dorward wrote by email that he identified the seven bookmakers BuzzFeed used: Bet365, Bwin, Pinnacle, Unibet, SBOBET, Ladbrokes and 188BET. BuzzFeed and Sackmann both excluded odds for each match from books that disagreed with the median implied winning probability by more than 10 percentage points. Sackmann found similar results for his expanded data set, including the same four players topping the BuzzFeed 15 list by losing the most matches relative to expectations. However, he also found that some players excluded from the analysis because they had too few flagged losses otherwise would have appeared because they lost every match with big odds movements.Sackmann also found that the results had less statistical significance — just one player, not four, lost a significantly larger number of matches than expected, after applying the Bonferroni correction. That’s in large part because Sackmann made one different choice: He used the median of all bookmakers’ opening odds for the true probability of a player winning the match, as opposed to the probability suggested by the opening odds from the bookmaker that had the biggest odds movement. That bookmaker usually was more bullish than its competitors about the player’s chances, so using its odds makes the player’s loss seem more surprising than it really was to the market as a whole. Also, Sackmann tested all players with at least 10 matches in which the odds moved heavily against them — not just players with 11 or more losses in matches like that.He also checked how the analysis would differ with a different set of bookmakers.3He chose 5Dimes, Island Casino, Bestbet, Jetbull, DOXXbet, Bet-at-home and Tipico because these are the ones with the most odds data in the database, excluding the seven BuzzFeed used, for matches for which five or fewer books set lines. He set the cutoff for flagged matches at 8 percentage points, not 10, to get roughly the same number of matches. When Sackmann used the same methodology that reproduced BuzzFeed’s list above, but with this set of bookmakers, he got very different results. Most of the names he identified as losing these matches surprisingly often were not the same as the ones he identified using BuzzFeed’s list of bookmakers.In its article, BuzzFeed writes that at least six of the 15 players it identified “have been flagged to tennis authorities by outside sources.” But the overlap could just mean that BuzzFeed and the outside sources were studying similar data with similar methods. Many of these outside sources named by BuzzFeed were using betting data as their basis for suspecting players of fixing; some, in fact, were part of the betting industry — a firm, a watchdog, a sports security association that collects alerts of suspicious betting from bookmakers. And some of the decisions BuzzFeed made in its analysis — such as where to set the cutoff in odds movement for a match to be worthy of more investigation — were based on suggestions from sports-betting investigators.None of this means that the BuzzFeed 15 haven’t fixed matches — just that, as BuzzFeed and the BBC themselves have made abundantly clear, the data analysis by itself isn’t conclusive.“It’s incredibly difficult to actually prove fixing,” Dorward said in a telephone interview.So what would be more conclusive?Other betting data. Tennis betting experts say the market has moved toward so-called in-play betting — bets placed during a match, as odds shift in response to what’s happening on the court. So, for instance, when a player wins a set, or a game, or even just an important point, bookmakers or betting exchanges quickly change the odds to reflect the increase in his probability of winning the match. That creates opportunity for bettors who know the fix is on to bet against the player who is ahead with even more favorable odds than the prematch line. BuzzFeed published a document from a 2008 investigation into match-fixing that identified several matches with that kind of suspicious betting pattern — including the sport’s most well-known example of suspected match-fixing and two other matches whose participants can be identified from the scores and opponent listed. None of the players involved are among the BuzzFeed 15. In-play betting data is available for purchase from some past matches, though it is difficult to use because it is not coded with information on the score at the time of bets. We also don’t have data on betting volumes and on maximum bets, which would show whether large amounts of money were at stake in flagged matches.Video evidence. Former player Daniel Koellerer — who was banned for life from pro tennis for fixing but denies the accusations — told the BBC that it would be easy for a pro to go unnoticed while fixing matches. But not every fixer covers his tracks well. Being able to review video of suspected matches would at least let authorities (or casual but interested onlookers) scrutinize a player’s effort throughout a match. However, not all matches are televised, and video is hard to get after the fact even for those that are. Tennis authorities ask YouTube to pull unauthorized matches and make video of archived matches available on the subscription site TennisTV for just seven days. Some older matches are available through the ATP Media Digital Archive, but this includes just one of the matches flagged for any of the BuzzFeed 15.Other corroborating evidence. This could include texts between or about players, bank records and other information.BuzzFeed and other journalists don’t have ready access to this kind of data. But tennis authorities do. The Tennis Integrity Unit — backed by the men’s and women’s pro tours, the four Grand Slams and the International Tennis Federation — can compel players to turn over phone and bank records, and it has access to detailed betting data. “Co-operative agreements with the betting industry, regulators and other parties (including ESSA, Betfair, UK Gambling Commission) can provide immediate real-time access to gambling market intelligence,” TIU spokesman Mark Harrison said in an email.Is the TIU using all of this information, along with tips about players suspected of fixing, and pursuing it as far as it can? The TIU says yes. It also maintains extreme secrecy around its operations, going so far as to not reveal details of its inquiries even in the rare cases when it announces a punishment. “TIU estimates that most, if not all, of the 18 successful corruption charges laid since 2010 would not have been achieved without the ability to work in confidence,” Harrison said.Maybe the TIU really has done all it can to root out corruption, chasing every player whose name comes across its desk. Maybe some turned out to be red herrings, like some of the BuzzFeed 15 might turn out to be. Maybe others really are fixing — giving in to the temptation to earn far more than they can by playing to win — but have gotten wise to tennis’s investigative approach and avoid using their phones or bank accounts. Or maybe fixing is very rare, and suspicious betting usually has innocent explanations.However, experience from other sports tells us there is also good reason to suspect that when sports regulate themselves, oversight can be lax. That’s really what’s at the core of BuzzFeed and the BBC’s reporting, more than the data analysis: a group of six former tennis insiders on one side saying tennis authorities haven’t followed up on what the former insiders think is compelling evidence of match-fixing, and on the other side those same authorities saying they have followed up, but confidentiality rules bar them from saying much more.Andrew Flowers contributed analysis to this article.
Whether it’s a case of friendly cross-pollination or premeditated incest, something curious has been happening between the worlds of boxing, mixed martial arts and professional wrestling. The lines between them have increasingly blurred. Never more so, it would seem, than with Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor’s megafight on Saturday on the Las Vegas Strip, which looks to smash pay-per-view and gambling records largely on the strength of combining the top draws from boxing and MMA and packaging the event as WrestleMania.All three sports — let’s call pro wrestling a sport for simplicity — sell. And all three sports have a history of selling, often for a lot of money, on pay-per-view television. WrestleMania, professional wrestling’s flagship event, was occasionally bought by more than a million households, and some recent UFC engagements have brought in handsome sums in the high eight-figures. A few boxing matches in the past three decades have cracked the 2 million mark, all involving Mayweather — among them, his fights against Oscar De La Hoya in 2007 and Canelo Alvarez in 2013. The Mayweather-McGregor fight is expected to sell 5 million buys at $99.95 a pop.1For high definition. Standard definition is available for the low, low price of $89.95. At that total, it would top even the mountainous numbers done by the Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao fight in 2015. Saturday’s bout could be seen by 50 million Americans. And while that fight could make $1 billion all told in a single night, the early incentives for cross-pollination were poverty and despair. If you’re searching for storybook endings in American life, boxing is one of the worst places to look — and has been for well over a century. It’s left many of its most iconic heroes broke or buried under debt — and in some cases, desperate for a payday.Even after earning upwards of $5 million in his career, former heavyweight champion Joe Louis found himself $500,000 in debt to the IRS and had to keep going until Rocky Marciano literally beat him from the ring and into retirement in 1951. Louis was still in debt but had a crazy idea to try and keep the IRS off his back. Sixteen years before, Louis had knocked out Primo Carnera, a gargantuan Italian former world champion known as the the “Ambling Alp” at Yankee Stadium. Carnera had fought 102 fights over 18 years and, surprise surprise, also managed to leave the sport broke. Before the year was out, Carnera gave professional wrestling a whirl. He was undefeated in his first 120 matches — staged though they were. This all sounded too good to be true for Louis, and so he followed Carnera’s lead. And pretty much every era-defining prizefighter has, too: Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier, Mike Tyson and, most recently, Floyd Mayweather, who took on the 7-foot, 400-pound “Big Show” at WrestleMania XXIV.Prominent boxers have also ventured into MMA’s octagon with not entirely promising results — and this is an actual blood sport we’re talking about, rather than a prearranged show. That list includes former heavyweight champion Riddick Bowe, three-weight world champion James “Lights Out” Toney and Olympic heavyweight champion Ray Mercer. In what would be both his first and last match, Bowe was knocked off his feet five times by kicks to the shins. He eventually collapsed in the second round clutching his shin, and the bout was stopped. He retired from MMA with a record of no wins and one loss. Toney’s entire MMA career proved even more brief, after losing in the first round to Randy Couture. Mercer fought two kickboxing matches (lost both) before moving on to MMA. He embarked on his MMA career with an exhibition against Kimbo Slice in 2007 and was promptly choked into submission. Yet Mercer gained his redemption in his — to date — only official MMA bout, punching Tim Sylvia’s lights out after all of nine seconds.Brock Lesnar, who in 2002 defeated “The Rock” to become the youngest WWE champion in history, is one of few to make the transition from the staged rings of pro wrestling to actual, professional combat. After first trying his hand at NFL — he got as far as a few preseason games with the Minnesota Vikings — Lesnar turned to MMA in 2006, first fighting in the K-1 Mixed Martial Arts League. Soon the UFC came calling and signed Lesnar, who had been an NCAA champion wrestler for the University of Minnesota, to a contract in 2008; he would go on to fight in several major pay-per-view fights for the UFC, including four that sold over a million buys.McGregor isn’t the first superstar to move from the octagon to the boxing ring. One of MMA’s greatest fighters, Anderson “The Spider” Silva, tried the same thing back in 1998. He faced the not-exactly-household-name Osmar “Animal” Luiz Teixeira and after all of six minutes, Teixeira’s pugilistic skills proved too much for fellow Brazilian Silva. To protect him, Silva’s corner threw in the towel in the second round. Silva’s unparalleled genius in the octagon translated into his losing to someone even charitably described as a journeyman boxer; if this is any litmus test of what to expect from McGregor squaring off against Mayweather — one of boxing’s all-time greatest fighters — the current +400 money line somehow doesn’t reflect it.McGregor isn’t even the first UFC superstar to express an interest in fighting Mayweather. In 2014, MMA’s biggest star, Ronda Rousey, issued a challenge to Mayweather to fight her in an intergender MMA bout. Perhaps Rousey took her inspiration for proposing this fight from the world of boxing, where the first ever licensed intergender fight took place at Seattle’s Mercer Arena in 1999, between 36-year-old boxer and landscaper Margaret MacGregor (no relation) and Canada’s Loi Chow. MacGregor won every round. Only this week, rumors were swirling that Rousey would leave behind her two iconic losses and MMA career to join the ranks of the WWE.Speaking of pivoting to new careers and rising to unexpected heights, the cross-pollination among these fighting sports has recently reached a place of prominence in American life. President Trump, a prominent character in both boxing and professional wrestling, solidified his bona fides for the Oval Office with his tenure on “The Apprentice,” exploiting this dynamic better than anyone.But it didn’t start with Trump, and it won’t end with him, either.Win, lose, draw — or disqualification — Conor McGregor’s antics in the lead-up to his contest against Mayweather have amounted to what would be the greatest audition tape ever sent to Vince McMahon. If that audition were successful, it would make him the first crossover star to participate as a showcase attraction, at the highest level, in MMA, boxing and wrestling. The Triple Crown of spectacle.
The New York Mets are on some kind of tear right now. With a 9-4 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies on Wednesday night, the Mets have won 21 of their last 29 games — a run that dates to July 25 and the handful of player acquisitions the team made before MLB’s trade deadline.The biggest catalyst for New York’s sudden success has been a vastly improved offense. Over that red-hot 29-game stretch, they’re averaging 6.2 runs per contest, or 46 percent more than the National League average.1After adjusting for park effects. By contrast, the Mets were scoring just 3.4 runs per game before their hot streak began, or 11 percent below the NL average. New York’s shift from ranking 26th in park-adjusted runs per game2Indexed relative to the league. through July 24 to No. 1 in the month-plus since is by far the biggest offensive turnaround any team enjoyed over that span:But how much of this improvement should we expect the Mets to retain going forward? To get a general sense of how much regression to the mean tugs on scorching August performances like those of the 2015 Mets, I gathered Retrosheet data on all MLB teams in the expansion era3Since 1961. and measured how much of a team’s August scoring-index boost (relative to its scoring index through July) carried over into September and October.4Including regular-season games only. The effect was slight, but significant: About 21 percent of a team’s August hike in scoring rate is “real,” in the sense that it can be expected to continue into subsequent months.And the Mets have reason to believe they can hang on to more than 21 percent of their offensive gains. One of their trade-deadline pickups, outfielder Yoenis Cespedes, leads the team in offensive runs above average over the past 30 days. So at least part of New York’s scoring surge is due to talent they’ve added since July (as opposed to existing players simply hitting better, which is less sustainable). And, as our friend Jonah Keri pointed out Monday, the Mets also have the easiest schedule in baseball over the remainder of the season.Combine it with New York’s 86 percent probability of making the playoffs, and the Mets are looking like a far more credible World Series threat than they were earlier in the season.
Do Ohio State players realize how impressive their streak of dominance against the “team up north” is? OSU has won eight of nine games against Michigan since coach Jim Tressel took over, including six in a row. Center Mike Brewster said part of the reason for the team’s success against the Maize and Blue is that the players never stop thinking about the game. “The Michigan thing, it’s always on our mind, even since camp, when we have our Maize and Blue period,” Brewster said. “That’s always very important to us.” Also at stake this year is a record-tying sixth consecutive Big Ten championship, which would be No. 35 in OSU football history. Will OSU approach Wisconsin-like rushing numbers against an overmatched Wolverine defense? Last week against Wisconsin, Michigan gave up 357 yards rushing even though the Badgers played without running back John Clay, reigning Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year. At one point, the Badgers ran the ball 28 consecutively against the Wolverines. Expect more of the same on Saturday against the nation’s No. 92 rush defense. Running back Dan “Boom” Herron could extend his streak of 10 straight games with a touchdown and cross the 1,000-yard threshold this season. How long can Denard Robinson keep Michigan in the game? One thing the Wolverines have going for them is quarterback Denard Robinson, their one-man offensive wrecking crew. Last week, Robinson became the first player in NCAA history to pass for 1,500 yards and rush for 1,500 yards in the same season. He leads the Big Ten in rushing and has accounted for 30 total touchdowns this year. Tressel knows his defense faces a tall task in containing the 6-foot, 190-pound sophomore from Deerfield Beach, Fla. “He’s got great quickness. He’s tough and he’s got a live arm,” Tressel said. “He’s hard to get on the ground. He’s just a great player.” Is this Rich Rodriguez’s last trip to Columbus as Michigan’s coach? Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon is running out of reasons to keep Rodriguez, who has a career record of 15-20 and a dreadful 6-17 conference record. He’s winless against OSU and Michigan State, the program’s top two rivals. However, this season has brought small improvement. At 7-4, the Wolverines are bowl-eligible for the first time under Rodriguez. On the other hand, a blowout loss to OSU, coupled with a poor bowl game showing, might be enough for Michigan to move in another direction. What would an OSU win mean for the team’s BCS bowl hopes? Unless Wisconsin falls to Northwestern on Saturday, OSU likely won’t play in the Rose Bowl. Not only did the Badgers beat the Buckeyes, but they also rank ahead of OSU in the BCS standings. Even if OSU was to beat the Wolverines by 80, it probably wouldn’t be enough to jump Wisconsin. However, a win for OSU on Saturday virtually assures the team of another BCS bowl appearance, possibly the Sugar Bowl, making it OSU’s eighth BCS appearance in 10 years under Tressel.