Paddy Power has brought sacked Soccer Saturday stars Phil Thompson, Charlie Nicholas and Matt Le Tissier back to TV screens for a spoof show. Sky Sports axed the popular trio in the summer, so Paddy Power decided to get the gang back together for a series called Pundits. It features Thompson, Nicholas and Le Tissier bemoaning their luck while house sharing. Yet former Charlton and West Ham manager Alan Curbishley then arrives with an ancient camcorder to launch a new show called Score Saturday. They experiment with using illegal streams Thommo’s feed is ruined by pop-ups telling him there’s hot singles in his area while Le Tissier’s Dell laptop keeps buffering. The first episode is released this weekend, and there will be two further instalments. “The Premier League is back in our lives once again, but there are some familiar faces that won’t be on our screens for the first time in years,” said Paddy Power. “Or so you thought. We’ve managed to get the gang back together, and we see what their lives are like now as they live together and try to navigate the new world of football.”
Paddy Power parent company Flutter Entertainment has been upgraded from “equal weight” to “overweight” by analysts at Barclays. They highlighted Sky Bet as the “leading UK betting brand” as the industry emerges from the coronavirus lockdown. The company was previously known as Paddy Power Betfair, but it rebranded as Flutter after buying FanDuel to front its US operations. It then completed a huge takeover of Sky Bet owner The Stars Group, making it the world’s largest online gambling company. The bank’s analysts upped their target price for London-listed Flutter to 13,000p from 10,500p, highlighting the firm’s high valuation and “attractive core” business, claiming its US operations serve as a “quality compounder”. Barclays cut Ladbrokes Coral owner GVC from “overweight” to “equal weight” and lowered its target price from 1,000p to 900p. William Hill was reiterated as “overweight”.
A punter placed a $45,000 bet on veteran golfer Phil Mickelson to win the US Open at Winged Foot Golf Club in New York next week. The bet was placed at odds of 75/1 with William Hill, meaning the potential profit stands at a cool $3,375,000 if Lefty rolls back the years to claim his sixth major. It is the only major that Mickelson has not won during his long and illustrious career. He has not finished inside the top 25 in his last six appearances at the tournament. He famously blew a two-shot lead over the final four holes when the US Open was last held at Winged Foot. He led on the final hole, and a par would have handed him the win, but he ended up with a double bogey. Mickelson Tweeted: “Heard someone place 45k on me to win the open at 75-1 (pays 3.3 mil). Hoping for both of us I have a 3 shot lead on 18 tee.”
888 Sport has become the NFL sponsor for the UK and Ireland. Its ads will feature on broadcasts of Monday Night Football, the playoffs and the Super Bowl across the UK and Ireland. It is the first deal the NFL has tied up in the region. 888 Sport is focusing intently on American football, having previously signed a deal with the New York Jets in 2019. Chris Halpin, NFL executive vice-president and chief strategy and growth officer, said: “It is a brand that will help us deepen fans’ engagement with our sport, and this partnership will provide us with strategic insights that will shape our broader sports betting strategy.” 888 will also launch a new series of videos titled “The Punt” on its social channels, featuring celebrity guests discussing the latest NFL news. “This is the start of an exciting chapter for 888 Sport,” said Guy Cohen, senior vice president at the firm. “We pride ourselves on being at the forefront of live sporting experiences and we’re delighted to partner with an internationally adored brand such as the NFL.”