Welcome to the latest edition of the RPC Sports Ticker - providing fortnightly bite-size updates from around the sports industry.

Access the full Sports Ticker and subscribe here

This week we consider the biggest story of the fortnight concerning Messi’s withdrawal of his transfer request, alongside the inclusion of midweek games in the Premiership Rugby calendar and Michael Jordan’s esports investment. We also take a look at the NFL’s ‘holdouts’ phenomenon and BT's new subscription model.

As always, if there are any areas you’d like more information on (or if you have any questions or feedback), please let us know or get in touch with your usual RPC contact.

1. What a Messi situation…

Lionel Messi stunned the footballing world when he officially requested to leave Barcelona, seeking to exercise a clause in his contract which allegedly allowed him to leave for free after the 2019-20 season.

2. Time to give midweek games a try?

Premiership Rugby clubs are preparing to play more than a half dozen games in less than a month, in an attempt to deal with a congested schedule.

3. Michael Jordan places his next bet on DraftKings

Retired basketball legend and ‘The Last Dance’ star Michael Jordan is taking an equity stake in American fantasy sports company DraftKings and joining the board as a ‘special advisor’ at a time of major growth in sports betting in the US.

4. Player negotiating power in the NFL

With the new NFL season almost upon us, New Orleans Saints running back Alvin Kamara is ‘holding out’. A ‘holdout’ is a term for a player that refuses to play matches until their team agree to extend their contract on more generous terms.

5. BT switches over to new model for subscriptions

During live coverage of the FA Community Shield, BT premiered its star studded ‘Unlimited Subs’ advert.

Extra time...

…and finally, in Edition 16 we commented on David Beckham's investment in new UK-based esports start-up, Guild Esports. With Beckham's backing, Guild is now planning to raise £20m by listing its shares on the London Stock Exchange. Proceeds from the share placing will be used to recruit new players, invest in the Guild brand and expand the company’s activities. Guild told potential investors the market had benefited from a “rapidly growing fan base worldwide”, arguing that some esports tournaments had attracted bigger audiences than Wimbledon, the Tour de France, and the US Open. The IPO will certainly test investor appetite for the growing esports sector, which has gained traction during the COVID-19 pandemic especially among people under the age of 35. (Click here to read more).