How Curious Bedfellows BBC And BuzzFeed Became A Perfect Media Match

Louise Ridley   |   January 18, 2016   11:50 AM ET

The BBC has teamed up with BuzzFeed News for a landmark investigation exposing evidence of tennis match-fixing, in a media move which has both excited and baffled commenters.

"BuzzFeed is hardly the place for serious journalist investigation" remarked one on Twitter, while another quipped that they were waiting for the signature '10 matches you didn't know were fixed' list-style article from BuzzFeed.

The BBC's own James Allen thought the partnership had "gotta be a first" for the decades-old broadcaster and the digital-born platform, but in fact it's not the first time they have formed what would appear to be an unlikely alliance.

In 2015, BuzzFeed worked with BBC Newsnight for an investigation which revealed the pressures on the charity Kids Company, starting one of the biggest charity scandals of the last decade.

At the time, the Evening Standard's Londoner's Diary gossip section called the two organisations "curious bedfellows".

"BuzzFeed, as any bored office worker knows, is a mine of listacles and cat pics," it noted, "but over the past year it has been on a mission to toughen up its news offering."

janine gibson

Buzzfeed's coverage of the joint investigation

Like many online success stories, BuzzFeed is now known for its serious news coverage just as much as its lists, last year hiring Heidi Blake, the former Sunday Times assistant editor, who won awards for uncovering allegations of bribery surrounding Qatar's bid for the 2022 Fifa World Cup.

Blake was just one of a series of heavyweight hires from more traditional media groups in the past year, which also included former Guardian deputy editor Janine Gibson, now Editor-In-Chief of BuzzFeed UK, Panorama journalist Jane Bradley, Guardian special projects editor James Ball and Sunday Times journalist Michael Gillard, who unmasked the powerful London crime boss Dave Hunt in 2013.

The Evening Standard piece mused on whether BuzzFeed's partnership with the BBC could "signify a new media axis" but the relationship isn't necessarily an easy partnership.

In an age when older media players still set the news agenda, but digital operations like The Huffington Post and Vice are growing rapidly and engaging younger audiences, the BBC and BuzzFeed have been less than friendly to each other.

BuzzFeed published a list of '27 Times BBC News Failed So Hard It Just Failed', pointing out the times when one presenter didn't turn up, and another mistook a pad of paper of an iPad.

Meanwhile the BBC pondered whether the existence of BuzzFeed means the 'death' of news. "If that is the future of journalism, heaven help us all," a BBC news piece said in 2013, lamenting the headlines like 'This Baby Elephant Being Reunited With His Dad is The Cutest Thing You'll See Today' and '9 celebrity tweets you missed today' that BuzzFeed and its siblings have become known for.

But in fact, established players and up-and-coming publishers have a lot to offer each other.

"Not surprisingly in these sorts of partnerships, there are benefits for both parties,” Jonathan Hewett, the Director of Interactive and Newspaper Journalism at City University tells The Huffington Post UK.

Hewett says for BuzzFeed, the benefits are perhaps obvious: it gets the brand boost associated with Britain's beloved broadcaster. “[Investigations] are not what BuzzFeed is best known for," he Hewett, "and that’s probably part of the reason for them partnering with the BBC.

"It gets them credibility and exposure as a serious journalism operation, not merely an organistion that’s know for doing 15 things you didn’t know your cat could do, or similar.”

But nimble publishers with digital skills have something to offer to the big boys too, Dominic Ponsford, the editor of media publication Press Gazette tells HuffPost UK.

“I think the BBC get a lot out of it because they’re getting some good exclusives, and the BBC doesn’t really break an awful lot of exclusives considering how big it is. It’s more of a broadcaster of record in a way and naturally cautious, perhaps.”

"For BuzzFeed, it’s good for them to be associated with such a good brand as the BBC, and also it means that the story maybe gets more traction than it would otherwise because people see the BBC’s name on it and then they immediately trust it."

tennis match fixing

The BBC's coverage of the joint investigation

BuzzFeed contributed intensive data analysis to the tennis match-fixing story, says Hewett. "There aren’t many people who can do that, or who can dedicate the time to do that.”

The BBC - not short on resources - could have done the investigation work, but teaming up with another publisher may have made more sense, Hewett says: "It was probably attractive for them to bring someone on because it was a massive scale thing."

"They were collecting odds on more than 26,000 tennis matches I think, over a six year period, from seven different bookmakers. They did a simulation that they ran more than 1 million times per player, and involved some professors of statistics from two universities.”

And for the broadcaster, partnering for a special project could have made sense economically too. “The BBC has been very much under financial pressure recently, [they have to consider] value for money so [this investigation means] they can say they partnered with someone to get better results for no more money,” says Hewett.

Both can share the increased audience reach of their combined platforms, too. "The BBC is traditionally strong in radio and TV, it's been all over their news broadcasts. BuzzFeed I’m sure will be getting lots of hits online from it.”

But behind the scenes, it may be that the BBC secretly craves the success that operations like BuzzFeed have has in attracting younger audiences.

janine gibson

Gibson, the Guardian's ex-Deputy Editor, now Editor-In-Chief of BuzzFeed UK

In November, it was revealed that BBC staff have been told to copy 'youth-friendly' media like Vice when they make videos. New guidelines tell the BBC journalists to act like a "friend" to the viewer in "snappy" films of up to 90 seconds long, designed to be viewed on smartphones.

Investigative journalism lends itself to collaborations, explains Hewett: "Lots of investigative work is painstaking, it takes a long time, its resource intensive, and with some big stories it is international, so you need to involve different organisations around the world.”

“You quite often see broadcasters partnering with newspapers for investigations – Dispatches and Panorama often do joint investigations," says Ponsford.

The Bureau of Investigative Journalism, a not-for-profit which shares its findings for free, often works with others and the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists is a global network of 185 reporters in more than 65 countries who collaborate on in-depth pieces.

Ponsford thinks partnerships between journalists usually rise above any organisational rivalries: "As far as they’ve concerned they are professionals who have got the same goal in sight that’s mutually beneficial."

In fact, Hewett thinks that's possible that 'new' media outlets could one day reach the notoriety of 'old' players with traditional origins, like newspapers or the BBC, but he believes it's more likely that the two will become indistinguishable as they each evolve to take on the best characteristics of the other.

"I suppose the differentiation between new and old media, if you like, is disappearing," he says. "The BBC does a lot of might be called new media, like cutting-edge work online and on social media.”

Ponsford expects to more collaborations between digital and traditional media, but "only where don’t really directly compete".

He notes that although the BBC and BuzzFeed compete for online traffic, they don't compete commercially because of the BBC's not-for-profit model. “Obviously the BBC’s non-commercial, so I guess you can see why that works. I’d probably be surprised to see BuzzFeed partner with, say, the Guardian or the Telegraph, because online they are basically competing with each other for advertising.”

Read the BuzzFeed report in full

Read the BBC report in full

Latest Scandals Show We Have to Get Serious About Sports Crime

Damian Collins   |   January 18, 2016   10:26 AM ET

Tennis is now the latest sport in the spotlight, following allegations in an investigation by the BBC and BuzzFeed, of a match-fixing and gambling scandal involving a core group of 16 players, all of whom have ranked in the top 50 in the world. Some of these players are currently competing in the Australian Open championship. This investigation has put the tennis authorities, and the 'Tennis Integrity Unit' in the firing line, and as you would expect they deny that they have failed to act in the face of allegations of corruption.

Yet the truth is that in tennis, and most other major sports, only a small amount of resource is invested in fighting corruption. They are simply no match for the organised crime gangs, international gambling syndicates, and greedy dishonest officials. Sports governance has become a wild west, but we need more than a lone ranger to combat it.

Sports leaders have simply not invested enough in protecting the integrity of their competitions. Sadly, the members of these ruling executives seem typically to fall into three broad categories when it comes to corruption. Firstly, the blissfully ignorant who ask no questions, secondly those who know there is a problem but don't know what to do about it, and finally the wrongdoers themselves. There are a few noble exceptions who try to lobby within their sport for more resources and action against criminality, but they often end up resigning in disgust.

If we are going to clean up international sport we need a totally different approach, requiring more investment, partnership between sports and co-operation with international law enforcement agencies. At the heart of this should be a new Sports Crime Unit, employing specialists with deep understanding and experience of how organised crime seeks to exploit sport.

Gambling syndicates looking to buy off sportsmen and administrators in order to fix outcomes in matches, and the eventual results, are unlikely to limit themselves to one sport. In the same way, someone looking to launder money through sporting contracts, may well be involved in other areas of financial crime. Law enforcement agencies, like the Serious Fraud Office in the UK, should also consider whether they need to bring in more specialist resources with expertise in sports crime. We should treat international sports crime as one of the major global challenges for tackling corruption and resource the fight against it accordingly.

As well as extra investment in the detection of sports crime, there should also be internationally recognised standards for the governance of major sports. What the recent scandals at FIFA and the IAAF, have in common is very weak governance. There was no real scrutiny of the actions of senior executives, and no effective internal mechanism for people to challenge the organisation over its failure to act against corruption. There needs to be proper independent scrutiny of and reporting on sports bodies, including how they investigate allegations of corruption and how their money is spent. There also need to be proper integrity checks for people who have leadership roles in sport, from those who sit on the international executive bodies, to people who have leadership roles at the national level and in major sports clubs.

Damian Collins is the Conservative MP for Folkestone & Hythe, and the co-founder of New FIFA Now

Sarah Ann Harris   |   January 18, 2016   10:24 AM ET

Novak Djokovic has said that he was offered $200,000 (£140,000) to throw a match, as more details emerge about an alleged match-fixing scandal in the tennis world.

The world number one said that he was offered the sum to fix a first-round match in St Petersburg in 2007, the Guardian reported.

He explained: “I was approached through people that were working with me at that time, that were with my team. Of course, we threw it away right away. It didn’t even get to me, the guy that was trying to talk to me, he didn’t even get to me directly. There was nothing out of it.

novak djokovic

Novak Djokovic has spoken out about match-fixing allegations

“Unfortunately there were some, in those times, those days, rumours, some talks, some people were going around. They were dealt with. In the last six, seven years, I haven’t heard anything similar.

“I personally was never approached directly, so I have nothing more to say about that.”

Claims of match-fixing have rocked the world of tennis as the names of a number of top players - including Grand Slam champions and Wimbledon competitors - have been flagged.

The Tennis Integrity Unit (TIU) has been made aware of the names of 16 players over the last decade amid fears they have thrown matches, according to an investigation by the BBC and BuzzFeed.

MORE TENNIS:

The match-fixing was allegedly orchestrated by gambling syndicates in Russia and Italy and involved prominent players, the Press Association reported.

Serena Williams also weighed in on the scandal, saying that she had not seen any signs of it.

ABC reported that she said: “"I can only answer for me. I play very hard and every player that I play seems to play hard.

"As an athlete I do everything I can to be, not only great, but historic and if that's going on, I don't know about. Sometimes I'm in a bubble."

Andy Murray tweeted a link to Buzzfeed's report but did not add any further comment.

Sarah Ann Harris   |   January 18, 2016    8:07 AM ET

Claims of match-fixing have rocked the world of tennis as the names of a number of top players - including Grand Slam champions and Wimbledon competitors - have been flagged.

The Tennis Integrity Unit (TIU) has been made aware of the names of 16 players over the last decade amid fears they have thrown matches, according to an investigation by the BBC and BuzzFeed.

The match-fixing was allegedly orchestrated by gambling syndicates in Russia and Italy and involved prominent players, the Press Association reported.

It is suggested that players are being targeted in hotel rooms at major tournaments and offered 50,000 dollars (£35,200) or more per fix by corrupt gamblers. The syndicates have made hundreds of thousands of pounds placing bets on scores of matches, according to the investigation.

tennis shadow

Competitors at Wimbledon and the French Open are alleged to be involved in match-fixing

The investigation suggests that the suspects include Grand Slam singles and doubles champions and the alleged rigging took place at major tournaments including Wimbledon and the French Open. All the players were allowed to continue competing.

It is claimed the referrals to the TIU, set up to police the sport, were prompted by an investigation which started in 2007 following an inquiry into suspicious betting patterns in a match between Nikolay Davydenko and Martin Vassallo Arguello. Both men were cleared of breaking any rules.

Despite an increasing amount of evidence of suspicious activity revolving around a significant number of top players, no sanctions were handed out and the investigation was officially shelved the following year.

It is also suggested that the names of more than 70 players appear on nine leaked lists of suspected fixers who have been flagged up to the tennis authorities over the past decade without being sanctioned.

Kermode, who believes the threat of sports match-fixing is at an "incredibly small level", told the BBC: "It is simply not true that we are sitting on evidence.

MORE TENNIS:

"What happens is that information and intelligence are given to the Tennis Integrity Unit and they then have to turn that into evidence.

"There is a big difference here between information and intelligence as to evidence. Every single bit of information that the Tennis Integrity Unit receives is investigated properly."

Building on the initial dossier of evidence, Buzzfeed News claims to have devised an algorithm which analysed gambling on professional tennis matches over the last seven years.

The organisation said its results identified 15 players who regularly featured in matches involving unusually lopsided betting patterns. Furthermore, four of those players lost almost all of those matches concerned, at a probability of around 1,000 to one.

World number two Andy Murray tweeted a link to the Buzzfeed report on Sunday evening but added no further comment.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme on Monday morning, culture, media and sport secretary John Whittingdale said an allegation such as this “taints the whole of the game”.

He said that he hoped the industry would investigate as soon as possible, adding: “I hope that tennis will learn from the mistakes of other sports.

“I would hope that Wimbledon and the Lawn Tennis Association in England and Wales will actually call upon the International Tennis Federation to carry out a investigation very quickly.

Will Novak Djokovic End His Career as the Greatest Tennis Player of All Time?

Robert Pollard   |   November 16, 2015    2:49 PM ET

When Novak Djokovic was awarded a huge silver trophy on Sunday to mark his achievement of finishing the year as world number - the fourth time in five years he managed the feat - it was difficult not to feel a huge sense of satisfaction for a man whose success means there is now a real possibility he could end his career considered the game's all-time greatest player.

Djokovic, who is chasing his fourth consecutive ATP World Tour Finals win at the O2 in London this week, collected his prize after demolishing eighth seed Kei Nishikori in his first group game of the season-ending showpiece event, winning 6-1 6-1 in just 65 minutes. It was his 15th consecutive win at the O2, a run that stretches back to 2011.

It was a superb start to the defence of his title, and the latest example of his growing superiority over the men's field. No one can touch the Serbian at present - even now, during the greatest era in men's tennis.

Nishikori is a talented player, but he had no answer to Djokovic's baseline brilliance. The world number one is relentless in his approach, grinding opponents down with a mix of stamina and unbreakable spirit. His court coverage is unrivalled, and for his opponents it can sometimes feel as though they are playing against a wall, such is the regularity with which the ball comes firing back towards them no matter what shot they produce.

It's been a special 2015 for Djokovic. He's won three of the four Grand Slams and was runner-up in one, with his defeat to Stan Wawrinka at the French Open in May the only blot on his copybook. He's supplemented his dominance in the Grand Slams with six Masters Series wins, a new record for a calendar year. He has 15,285 points in the ATP rankings - his nearest challenger, Andy Murray, has 8,470 - and his win-loss record for the year coming into this event was 78-5. A win here at the O2 would cap off his finest year as a professional tennis player.

Roger Federer remains the firm favourite with tennis fans across the world, and is rightly still regarded as the greatest male player of all time, but Djokovic looks likely to challenge his hegemony.

Federer is charming and stylish and possesses the most aesthetically pleasing game the world has ever seen. His service style, groundstrokes and movement across the court mean watching him is just about the most beautiful sight in sport. His 17 Grand Slam victories is an all-time record. He spent 302 consecutive weeks at number one, and between Wimbledon 2005 and the Australian Open in 2010 he made it to 18 of 19 Grand Slam finals. It's an impeccable record that has seen him elevated above previous greats Rod Laver, Bjorn Borg and Pete Sampras.

But things could be changing. Djokovic lacks Federer's charm and, indeed, his beauty on court, but his relentless baseline dominance, which sees him systematically dismantle opponents, means, right now, he is the best player on the circuit by quite some distance. He has 10 Grand Slams to his name and is just 28. He still has a few years at the top of men's tennis; years that he could dominate and close in on Federer's record.

It's becoming almost absurd how far and above the others he's become. Last week in the final of the Paris Masters against Murray, he was so dominant it became something of a non-event and left everyone wondering what on earth the British number one can do to make it to the top of the game. Murray himself has had en excellent 12 months, but Djokovic's record makes his look positively average.

Djokovic mercilessly punishes any mistake or any little dip in form. Tennis matches tend to ebb and flow. A player can firmly in the ascendancy one minute, only for momentum to shift rapidly the next. Very few players can produce their best throughout the entirety of a match, but for Djokovic, who is mentally incredibly strong, consistency is the norm.

He's won 23 consecutive matches and has collected 10 titles in 2015. He's out on his own at the top of the game, and by the time he has hung his racket up, he may well be in the conversation as to who the greatest ever player is.

Thomas Tamblyn   |   October 1, 2015    1:28 PM ET

Read More: slow motion, tennis

'Jelly Tennis', it's the sport you never knew you'd love and yet you never will, because it's not actually a real sport.

What it is though, is utterly satisfying to play and strangely calming to watch, especially in slow motion.

Enter stage right, the Slo Mo Guys, those intrepid YouTubers who operate in a different chronological plane to the rest of us by taking things and then slowing them right down.

SEE ALSO:

Breaking away from their usual fare of recording things that either a) explode or b) fire projectiles, the Slo Mo guys have gone for that classic British dessert, jelly.

Sit back, enjoy and prepare to feel strangely calmed by the entire process.

Sarah Ann Harris   |   September 17, 2015    5:29 PM ET

For every ace he serves this season, Andy Murray has pledged to donate £50 to help children who have fled their home countries.

The tennis star said that he was so moved by recent pictures of people desperate to reach Europe that he felt he had to do something.

For every ace from now until the end of the season, the world number three will give £50 to Unicef - a donation which will be matched by the Lawn Tennis Association, ATP and his sponsor Standard life.

andy murray serve

Andy Murray will donate £50 to charity for each ace he serves

He told the charity: “After I saw the recent images on the news, I felt I had to do something to help the millions of children and their families who have been forced to flee their homes.

“I’ll get that little bit more satisfaction from each ace I hit knowing that it will be helping Unicef keep children safe.”

He added: “I’m asking fans across the world to join with me to and support Unicef’s vital work. Together we can help make a safer world for every child.”

SEE ALSO:

Murray’s promise could be an expensive one, given that he served 64 aces in just four matches in this month’s US Open, according to BBC Sport.

Unicef works alongside thousands of refugee children fleeing violence in war zones such as Syria. It also provides food, water, sanitation and medicine for young people still living in conflict zones.

Murray has been supporter of the charity since 2014.

He is set to play in the Davis Cup semi-final against Australia’s Thanasi Kokkinakis on Friday - where everyone will be hoping for plenty of aces.



Great Expectations at the US Open

Lucy Karsten   |   September 8, 2015    4:09 PM ET

Andy Murray is a man who knows a little something about expectations. Winning the 2012 US Open made him the first British man since 1936 to win a Major Title. Having raised our hopes, he entered the 2013 Wimbledon Championships with the weight of a nation's riding on his recently bulked-up shoulders, and pulled it out of the bag - the first British man to win the Men's Wimbledon Singles Championship since Fred Perry, 77 years previously. Yet, far from being cowed by the pressures on him, he believes that expectations should be raised - not only for him, but for his compatriots.

Speaking during the 2015 French Open, he pointed out that "Winning a couple of rounds at a French Open for us, for the UK, is good but, France or Spain or the Argentinians, I don't think they look at it and would be very impressed by that." The near-constant desire to impress the French aside, The paucity of British players is not a new topic. Few would disagree with Murray's contention that "A lot of the other nations have multiple players going deep* into the Grand Slams and ultimately that's where you want to try to get to."

The average tennis fan would know Andy Murray. (The epithet they might put after his name would probably differ, but everyone's entitled to their own opinion). The average British tennis fan could probably name Heather Watson, the British women's No.1, and possibly Laura Robson, who reached the 4th round at 2013 Wimbledon. Certainly, entering this year's US Open, those were the names the British press were focusing on - Watson and Robson were the British players who were greeted by robustly-filled press rooms and column inches. And it wasn't exclusively because they are both young and attractive. Yet in the 1st Rd Watson was defeated by 7-6 7-6 by world No. 84 Lauren Davis, and Laura Robson let an early lead to Russia's Elena Vesnina 4-0 in the final set slip to a 3-6, 6-3, 7-5 defeat.

For Robson, a former Wimbledon Juniors Champion who is returning to the tour after a 16-month absence with a wrist injury, the closeness of her match could be read fairly positively, her 12 double-faults notwithstanding. Watson's story was entirely different - she entered the US Open after a Wimbledon performance against Serena Williams that pushed the world No. 1 to within two points of defeat. There, in a game with no expectations and nothing to lose, Watson played with an unparalleled freedom. Yet her 1st Rd match-up against world No. 84 Lauren Davis was a different story. Here, with the expectation that she'd be in control, Watson played tighter and tighter, at one point shouting at herself: "Hit the ball with the strings!"

Leaving aside her exemplary self-coaching, Watson did her best to explain the loss: "I was thinking a lot about this match [in the build-up], thinking that it was a big opportunity, and thinking about the previous years and my results here. Maybe I thought about that maybe a bit too much...I think it was just a mix of the tension, the heat, the stress and everything together."

It seemed as though once again, Andy Murray would be carrying the hopes of a nation. (There might be a reason he doesn't smile that much). Yet, quietly, Johanna Konta, a name pretty unfamiliar even to sports journalists, made it through the 1st Rd unscathed. At that point, her 6-3, 6-0 victory over Louisa Chirico, the world No 119, was her 14th consecutive win. She followed that match with a 3-set win over ninth-seeded Muguruza, the longest women's match in United States Open history at 3 hours 23 minutes.

On Saturday, Konta became the first British qualifier to ever reach the fourth round of the US Open. She beat her second Top 20 opponent Andrea Petkovic, in what was her 16th consecutive match-win. How has Konta, who entered the tournament by winning three rounds at qualifying, managed to do what none of her female contemporaries have managed?

Konta herself credits the assistance of Juan Coto, a mental coach, who she has been working with since the end of 2014. "One of the things I've been working on with my team is enjoying the tough situations," Konta said. "There definitely hasn't been a click. I think it's just been a progression. I'd like to think I do get a little wiser as time goes on." As the expectations rise, and column inches and pressure grow, can Konta keep her head in the game? She spoke after her 3rd round win about it "being work in progress", admitting that "I'm not the calmest or the most, like, really cool person out there. Everyone knows that I can be quite, you know, bubbly and I can be quite, what's the word, the word I have always used?" ("Emotional?" A helpful journalist offered). "Well, yeah, emotional."

However, as she eyes up her 4th round match with 2-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova, Konta seems as calm and in-control as ever. Speaking about the match-up, Konta said: "To be honest, I feel just as I did two weeks ago. I haven't exactly grown wings or anything. I must say I'm happy with how I have been playing so far this week, but my feet are firmly on the ground. I haven't cured cancer or anything."

An excellent point from Konta, but while she's keeping things in perspective, she's already won praise from that most exacting of critics, Andy Murray. "She's obviously been on an excellent run lately and is very close [17 ranking points] to being the No1 in Britain. It shows how high she could get, which is exciting, beating two players like Petkovic and Muguruza. It suggests she has the potential to go very high if she continues on the right path. I think that's very, very exciting."


*I can't help it, that's how it's described.

Why 'Understanding Women's Lives' Is Key to Getting More Women Playing Sport

Ruth Holdaway   |   September 7, 2015    9:24 AM ET

Like so many people around the country, my jaw dropped when I saw Jess Ennis-Hill steam through the finish line of the 800m in her final heptathlon event in Beijing last month. Not just an Olympic Champion, but suddenly a World Champion, and the latter achieved just 13 months after giving birth to her first child. If we didn't know that the face of London 2012 was a phenomenon already, we certainly know it now.

The thing is, it's particularly astonishing because so often sport doesn't do enough to take into account the needs of mothers. And not just mothers; daughters, too. And sisters. Aunts. Grandmothers.

Women.

Of course the demands of elite sport are different from the demands that I might feel when I take to my surfboard, but the fact is that with around 2 million fewer women than men playing sport on a regular basis something isn't working.

At Women in Sport, we exist to transform sport for the benefit of every woman and girl in the UK. That means many different things but, critically, it means making sure sport is there and accessible for as many women and girls that want it to be a part of their lives. That's why, today, we've launched our new report, Understanding Women's Lives, detailing how insight the Women in Sport team has spent almost two years trialling and testing is helping sport gain a better understanding of the distinct needs of women.

Our research identified one major factor: for women, many of our decisions are underpinned by a complex value system which changes constantly throughout our lives. The system contains six values which tend to be common, to varying degrees at different times of our lives, to most, if not all, women. In no particular order these values are: looking good; feeling good; nurturing family and friends, achieving goals; developing skills; and having fun. The importance of each of these values changes over time and can range from short-term influences (we might make choices predicated on making us look good if there is something particular we're aiming towards; a big social occasion, for example) to long-term behavioural evolutions (having children might make us more focussed on nurturing friends and family). The simple reality is that we're extremely unlikely to be influenced by the same dominant value for our whole lives, but we will be influenced by each of the six values at some point in our lives.

For sport, this represents a challenge - and a huge opportunity. Traditionally, sport, even when it has been designed with women in mind, has too often been guilty of knowing how to accommodate only those women who are already 'sporty'. This means there are vast numbers of women out there - myself included - who simply don't feel sport is offering them anything appealing or achievable.

Our report shows sport bodies what they can do to change this. Since undertaking the research in 2013 we've been working with different National Governing Bodies to test out our findings with new products, offerings and marketing tactics across a whole range of sports; with impressively positive results.

Last year, more than 13 million women in England said they would like to be doing more sport than they currently are. There is a huge market out there for women playing sport and I really believe that the enthusiasm is there from both women and from sport bodies to make things work. I also believe that our research can be the bridge between 'enthusiasm' and 'understanding'.

Programmes like the LTA's Tennis Tuesday, the FA's Soccercise and England Athletics' Why We Run are great examples of what sport is starting to do well in considering women and girls' values.

Now we want to see the rest of sport taking a lead and putting serious effort into Understanding Women's Lives.

Huffington Post Staff   |   August 13, 2015   12:28 PM ET

Read More: uk news, Nick Kyrgios, tennis

Controversial tennis star Nick Kyrgios could face action from authorities after making crude remarks about his opponent's girlfriend on court.

The 20-year-old Australian was playing French Open champion Stan Wawrinka when he was caught on camera telling him another player, fellow countryman Thanasi Kokkinakis, had slept with the Swiss player's girlfriend, 19-year-old Croatian tennis player Donna Vekic.

Wawrinka wrote on his Twitter account that the Australian's words were "not only unacceptable but also beyond belief."

donna vekic

Croatian tennis player Donna Vekic, 19 is the girlfriend of Swiss Stanislas Wawrinka

A courtside microphone at the Rogers Cup match in Montreal picked up the Kyrgios telling Wawrinka: "Kokkinakis banged your girlfriend - sorry to tell you that mate."

Vekic, ranked 127th, played mixed doubles with Kokkinakis, also 19 and ranked No. 76, at the 2014 Australian Open as a wild-card entry.

Wawrinka
, ranked fifth in the world, announced in April that he had separated from his wife, with whom he has a daughter.

thanasi kokkinakis

Nick Kyrgios and Thanasi Kokkinakis cheer on the Australian Davis Cup Team in Darwin this year

The 30-year-old Swiss was forced to retire from the match through injury in the third set but tweeted his opinion of the matter afterwards: "There is no need for this kind of behaviour on or off the court and I hope the governing body of this sport does not stand for this," he wrote on Twitter.



It would appear the public agree and aren't afraid to use slightly less... professional language.

In a post-match interview on court, Kyrgios said Wawrinka had provoked him.

"He was getting a bit lippy at me so, I don't know, it's just in-the-moment sort of stuff," Kyrgios said. "I don't really know, I just said it."

And plenty of people were keen to defend the Australian...

Kyrgios beat Wawrinka on Wednesday when the Swiss retired with a lower-back injury while trailing 4-0 in the third set.

The ATP rule book allows a fine of up to $10,000 for incidents of verbal abuse or unsportsmanlike conduct.

The rules note that a "singularly egregious, a single violation of this section shall also constitute the player Major Offense of Aggravated Behavior."

Wawrinka's coach, Magnus Norman, also criticized Kyrgios, who has been at the center of controversy in recent weeks.

"That was really really low Nick Kyrgios," Norman wrote on Twitter. "Hope for u that u have people around that will teach u a thing or 2 about life tonight. Very bad."

At Wimbledon last month, Kyrgios was booed by spectators in a fourth-round loss to Richard Gasquet of France. Kyrgios appeared to make little attempt to return Gasquet's serve during the third game of the second set after a dispute with the chair umpire.

That incident prompted Australian swimming great Dawn Fraser to question the character of Kyrgios and suggest he could leave the country and return to where his parents came from.

Kyrgios, who was born in Australia to a father born in Greece and mother born in Malaysia, replied on Twitter that Fraser was a "blatant racist." She later apologised.

SEE ALSO

Dawn Fraser's Nick Kyrgois Remarks On Australian TV Slammed For Being 'Blatantly Racist'

Nick Kyrgios Might Have Just Outdone Himself Behaviour-Wise In Milos Raonic Match

Chris York   |   August 13, 2015   10:25 AM ET

Controversial tennis star Nick Kyrgios is in the headlines for all the wrong reasons once again for making crude remarks about his opponent's girlfriend on court.

The 20-year-old Australian was playing Stan Wawrinka at the Montreal Masters when he was caught on camera telling him another player, Thanasi Kokkinakis, had slept with his girlfriend.

He said: "Kokkinakis banged your girlfriend - sorry to tell you that mate."

Wawrinka was forced to retire from the match through injury in the third set but tweeted his opinion of the matter afterwards...

It would appear the public agree and aren't afraid to use slightly less... professional language.

Remarkably some people defended the tennis star...

Natasha Hinde   |   August 11, 2015   10:18 PM ET

There's no denying Serena Williams is a bad-ass. But when it comes to dealing with sexism in the sport that she's dominated for years, she's badder still.

In an interview with The Cut, Williams opens up about sexism in the sports industry, particularly after being labelled as "masculine" and having to endure harsher rules than her male counterparts.

The interview details how, in 2009, tough-talking Williams told a lineswoman, "I’ll fucking take this ball and shove it down your fucking throat", after she was called out for a foot fault.

The incident left Williams with a mammoth $82,500 (£52,945) fine, which the tennis star says would've gained far less attention and criticism if a male tennis player had done the same.

"I just think it was weird," she told The Cut. "I just really thought that was strange. You have people who made a career out of yelling at line judges. And a woman does it, and it’s like a big problem. But you know, hey."

In the photoshoot which features alongside an interview with New York magazine, Williams - who has been on the receiving end of numerous body-shaming comments throughout her career - has the last laugh.

Showing off the toned physique which has helped her win five Wimbledon championships and four Olympic gold medals, Williams is pictured doing the splits and looking incredibly powerful in the process.

In another photograph, she is seen posing with her arms above her head in a body-con, black gown which shows off her feminine physique.

We reckon the troll who said Williams was "built like a man" earlier this year must be kicking himself right now.

A photo posted by The Cut (@thecut) on

SEE ALSO:

When We Attack Serena Williams' Body, It's Really About Her Blackness

Women's World Cup 2015: 'Sexist' Profile On FIFA's Website Focuses On Alex Morgan's 'Good Looks' Before Mentioning Her Football Skills

Sara C Nelson   |   August 7, 2015    8:41 AM ET

Former Wimbledon champion Andy Murray and his wife Kim Sears are expecting their first baby.

The couple, who married in the tennis player's hometown of Dunblane in April, have announced the pregnancy to their family and friends, the Sun writes.

The announcement came after Kim, 27, visited hospital for a 12-week scan, with the baby due in February, the newspaper reported.

andy murray kim sears

Andy Murray and Kim Sears were married in April

The pregnancy has since been confirmed by Murray’s agent, the BBC writes.

The former Wimbledon champion's mother Judy recently told a magazine that she was "really looking forward to being a granny".

Murray, 28, enjoyed a strong run of form after marrying his long-term girlfriend in front of family and friends at Dunblane Cathedral on April 11, reaching the semi-finals of the French Open and Wimbledon, and winning his first titles on clay.

Speaking to Sky Sports 3 earlier this year, he said: ''It (marriage) has been nice and a lot of people have spoken about the honeymoon period.

''But we've been together a very long time and getting married was the next step."

Murray fans were quick to congratulate the couple after news of Kim's pregnancy was reported, tweeting him their best wishes.

Andy Murray and Kim Sears tie the knot

Davis Cup Success at Last... But Where Next for British Tennis?

David Ready   |   July 19, 2015    9:47 PM ET

As Andy Murray helps to steer Great Britain to a Davis Cup win against France at Queen's, we have to ask the question: Where would British tennis be without Andy? The answer is: Nowhere.

Lack of opportunities for youngsters to play tennis at grass-roots level in schools, alongside the overpricing of courts has led young people to be dissuaded from playing tennis and potentially forging a career in tennis.

After the closure of the high performance programme at the National Tennis Centre in Richmond last year, many young British hopefuls who have tried to follow in the footsteps of Andy such as 2011 US Open boys champion Oliver Golding and Harry Meehan have given up as a result of the strict regimes and the lack of support.

Oliver Golding said on twitter:

Tennis is a brutal sport. Players need all the help and support they can get. Money is an advantage we have over other countries, use it!

Hard courts all over London charge extortionate prices to play for an hour, with many young people not having the money to pay and play, catering instead for older players and wealthy families who can afford this.

On one side of the argument, the prices put in place could deter young people from antisocial behaviour on the courts, but ultimately it serves as a financial barrier for young people who may be interested in taking up the sport, forming an elitist ring around Wimbledon and providing an explanation for the lack of British talent progressing into the professional ranks.

Golding in an interview with Simon Briggs from The Telegraph also said:

"It's surprisingly difficult to find places to play in London. Either the clubs aren't keen on having performance players based there or, if they are keen, they don't have adequate facilities."

Great Britain remain behind other countries for this reason, with France occupying ten players in the men's singles top 100 compared to Britain's three, with Slovenian-born Aljaz Bedene only this year being granted UK citizenship.

Displays in the Davis Cup and Wimbledon, like that of James Ward's Davis Cup comeback against John Isner in Glasgow, has generated positivity towards a wider birth of British talent coming through. Indeed Heather Watson's performance against Serena Williams at Wimbledon offers a lot of encouragement, but there remains a lot of work to be done, certainly if we are to find a tennis player as good as Andy Murray.

Encouragement for tennis needs to be implemented at grass-roots level. Children who develop a natural interest in the sport should be encouraged to pursue it. Tennis should also be made more available in State schools, which will give us a wider birth of talent to choose from.

As a nation we rely too heavily on Andy Murray to carry our hopes and expectations on his shoulders, he could have easily lost his match against Gilles Simon in the Davis Cup, a set and break of serve down, he looked finished, physically and mentally, having already battled through two days of tennis against France's top players. When he eventually retires, British tennis will look very sparse without our sporting talisman.

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