Just 2 months ahead of Olympics, US issues do-not-travel advisory for Japan

Team USA says it’s “confident” it can safely compete in the Tokyo Olympic Games.

The US has issued an advisory against travel to Japan.

Read more: The Tokyo Olympics: Will the games be canceled, expected start date, full schedule

Team USA said it’s aware of the updated travel advisory, but is “confident” it can safely compete this summer.

“We feel confident that the current mitigation practices in place for athletes and staff by both the USOPC and the Tokyo Organizing Committee, coupled with the testing before travel, on arrival in Japan and during games time, will allow for safe participation of Team USA,” the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee said in an emailed statement.

Last month, the US issued Level 4: Do Not Travel advisories for around 80% of all nations. The travel advisories were updated to reflect the CDC’s COVID-19 health notices about other countries. Japan was initially left off the Level 4 warning list, but was added Monday.

Read more: Vaccine passports for COVID-19: How they’ll be a part of global travel

Before the billionaires and oligarchs, the unlikely story of football’s first foreign owner

Way before international money flooded in, the first American owner in English soccer came to the rescue of a dying club.

Prenton Park, home of Tranmere Rovers.

This international spending spree started when Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich bought Chelsea FC in 2003, but the largely forgotten first step toward today’s globalized era occurred way back in 1984. Football clubs were traditionally owned by local businessmen until California lawyer Bruce Osterman bought Tranmere Rovers, a proud but impoverished team in the unemployment-lashed north of England. It was the beginning of a new era — but you wouldn’t have known it at the time.

“The game as a whole was at its nadir,” remembers Mark Palios, a former footballer turned businessman who played for Tranmere in those dark days of the 1980s. “Gates were low, there was hooliganism, there was a complete lack of investment. It was a sick industry.”

What followed is more than a quirky footnote in sporting history — it’s a story of conflict between passion and business that any fan of any team in any country will recognize. Palios played an unexpected secret role in the ensuing drama, only to face a horribly familiar crisis threatening the club three decades later.

Mark Palios played for Tranmere in the 1970s and 1980s, taking an unexpected role in the drama behind the scenes — before returning to the club 30 years later.

Former Tranmere player Ken Bracewell was coaching a professional team in San Francisco in the early 1980s when he was approached by attorney and keen amateur goalkeeper Bruce Osterman. The glamour had faded from The National American Soccer League’s 1970s heyday, so Bracewell was surprised when Osterman wanted more than a chat about soccer teams — he wanted to buy one.

Why would a Californian lawyer want to invest in an impoverished sports team on the far side of the Atlantic?

“I was young and it seemed like a good idea,” says Osterman, now in his late 70s. “I had some extra money as I’d done well in my law practice,” he remembers in his unhurried California drawl over the phone from his home near San Francisco. “Tranmere was in real trouble so it was a number to purchase the team that I could afford.”

Tranmere chairman Bruce Osterman filmed at Prenton Park for a TV documentary.

Tranmere’s stadium Prenton Park is only a brief ferry ride away from footballing titans Liverpool and Everton, but in 1984 it might as well have been on a different planet. Barely clinging to professional status at the wrong end of the English leagues, with no money and plummeting attendances, Tranmere had special permission to hold matches on Friday evenings instead of Saturday afternoons so locals wouldn’t disappear to watch the team’s more glamorous neighbors.

“Tranmere will never compete with Liverpool and Everton,” one of the club’s managers later said. “They’re big liners like the Queen Mary, but I see Tranmere as a deadly submarine.”

In 1984 Tranmere was about to emulate a submarine in the worst possible way: by going under.

Osterman took advantage of the strife and a disastrously weak pound to buy the club, installing Ken Bracewell in charge. “I relied on Kenny for the day-to-day things,” Osterman recalls, “because frankly what the hell did I know?”

Bruce Osterman (crouching third from left, wearing glasses), lines up with a team of sports journalists playing a friendly at Prenton Park in August 1986. Eagle-eyed fans might recognize the chap on the far left: popular TV and radio pundit Ray Stubbs, who played and worked at Tranmere.

Today’s game is full of players, managers and owners from other countries. In the 1980s it was more insular. English clubs were banned from European competition throughout the second half of the 1980s, foreign players like Tottenham’s Argentine duo Ossie Ardiles and Ricky Villa were still a novelty, and there wouldn’t be a foreign manager until Jozef Vengloš arrived from Czechoslovakia to join Aston Villa in 1990.

Having staved off the club’s short-term woes, Bruce Osterman showed up at Tranmere for a few weeks at a time, a few times a year. There was occasionally a language barrier with the distinctive Merseyside accent. “I used to go to sportsman’s dinners for people who had shares in the club, and I was usually the brunt of the after-dinner comedian,” Osterman remembers. “I know he was speaking English but I couldn’t understand a word!” Osterman’s family came too, although his wife found herself excluded from men-only areas such as the boardroom and team coach. “She tolerated my doing this, but it wasn’t a pleasant time for her,” Osterman admits.

Journalists were delighted by the sight of the bespectacled 43-year-old chairman diving around in the training field mud, while players mischievously blasted balls at him. This was all highly unusual, but still — Tranmere were saved.

In the days before television revenue, a lesser club’s main income was ticket sales. Larger-than-life characters attracted paying fans through the turnstiles, so Osterman made the unexpected choice to appoint Frank Worthington as the team’s player-manager.

Worthington, who died in March 2021, had two decades of experience on the field but had never managed a team. The mulleted Elvis fan was certainly an entertainer, a prodigious goalscorer and even more prodigious playboy. His autobiography, suggestively titled “One Hump Or Two,” lists more nightclubs than football clubs. Worthington joked that when he took charge at Tranmere the players thought they’d be in trouble if they got home before 2 a.m.

Larger-than-life character Frank Worthington playing for England.

In his first game before the Prenton Park faithful the dashing player-manager bagged three goals in a 6-2 victory, and he ended up scoring 20 that season. He also made shrewd use of Osterman’s limited budget — one of Worthington’s acquisitions, Ian Muir, remains the club’s all-time top goalscorer. But defence was poor and Tranmere couldn’t afford new blood.

“We didn’t have the players or the money,” Osterman admits. “I had no idea of the difficulty of handling a team even in the fourth division.”

One player understood the economics of Osterman’s situation more than most. Tenacious midfielder Mark Palios was a local lad in his second stint at Tranmere when Osterman arrived. Unlike most footballers, who typically spend their time between matches wasting money, Palios worked a unique parallel career managing money as he trained to be an accountant.

Mark Palios playing for Tranmere the night they beat Arsenal in 1973.

One day Tranmere’s directors walked into Palios’ office looking for advice. They wanted to push Osterman out. The surprised player found himself in the awkward situation of offering advice on the club’s financial future mere hours before pulling on his team shirt and running onto the pitch.

Tranmere’s cash flow crisis came to a head when the well-intentioned but overstretched Osterman tried to sell Prenton Park to make way for a supermarket. Fans, directors and local authorities turned against him.

The American dream had soured.

Thirty years later, in 2015, history repeated for Tranmere Rovers — and for Mark Palios. The club was again in dire straits on and off the field. And just like in the 1980s, a new owner stepped in. But this time, it was Palios who bought the club.

After combining his playing days with a successful accounting career, Palios had been CEO of the Football Association. A specialist in turning around failing businesses, he and his wife Nicola now tackled Tranmere’s turmoil.

Palios began a three-step process he’d applied to many dying companies: Find cash for breathing space. Use that breathing space to fix the business. And finally, bring in new investment.

Most important, the club had to break the cycle of lurching from savior to savior. Palios compares football clubs to gamblers gifted more chips who continue betting on the same old numbers. To really fix the ailing business, Mark and Nicola had to make new bets.

Tranmere chairman Mark Palios and vice chair Nicola Palios took charge in 2014.

Back in 1985, Palios quit Tranmere and distanced himself from the boardroom shenanigans to avoid a conflict of interest. Ultimately the directors exploited changes to insolvency legislation to get rid of Osterman, Bracewell and Worthington, earning Tranmere another dubious distinction as the first football club to go into administration under the new laws.

In 1987, a new buyer offered less than Osterman paid for the club. Luckily for the American, a strengthened pound took the sting out of the loss.

A new owner and manager took over, but Tranmere’s troubles weren’t over. To ensure survival they had to beat Exeter City on the last day of the season or be disastrously dumped out of the professional league.

Kickoff was delayed as 7,000 fans crammed into one of Prenton Park’s signature Friday night matches on May 8, 1987. Mark Palios was there, although in another bizarre twist he could have been on the field — for either side. Exeter previously tried to sign him, while injury-plagued Tranmere desperately searched for Palios to see if he could help out in the crucial match. “We didn’t have mobile phones in those days,” Palios jokes. “[Tranmere] should have asked the administrators — they knew where I was…”

As the sky darkened above the floodlights neither side could break the deadlock — until six minutes from time, when Ian Muir’s pinpoint cross was headed home by defender Gary Williams. At the final whistle, the delirious crowd poured onto the pitch.

After this fairytale escape, new manager John King — another former Tranmere player, who coined the “deadly submarine” nickname — kicked off a resurgence in the 1990s. The team went to multiple finals at Wembley, rising through the divisions and almost surfacing alongside Liverpool and Everton in the Premier League.

Ian Muir (right), signed by Frank Worthington and still Tranmere’s top scorer, celebrates the first of Tranmere’s many trips to the hallowed Wembley Stadium in the 1990s.

Sadly the golden era didn’t last, and in 2015 a run-down Tranmere sank out of the professional league entirely. Under different leadership that could have destroyed the club, but Mark and Nicola Palios had a plan to stay afloat. They developed new revenue streams which didn’t rely on a benefactor’s deep pockets, earned money from the stadium not just on matchdays, and built on the club’s standing in the community with training schemes for vulnerable youth. “The business model I’ve tried to produce is football-agnostic,” Palios explains. “So if I go, the business stays.”

The club is into phase three of the Palios plan: tempting investors. Palios contemplates leveraging the local area’s rich footballing heritage for projects such as a hotel, and perhaps even leaving Prenton Park (an idea that backfired for Osterman). Palios has his eye on building a new stadium at the £4.5 billion Wirral Waters dockland regeneration scheme, one of the largest development projects in Europe.

Tranmere returned to Wembley in 2017, 2018 and again in 2019, when Connor Jennings scored another last-gasp goal to secure Tranmere a second successive promotion.

Palios notes these long-term plans are “embryonic” and depend on factors like promotion to higher leagues, millions added to the bottom line, and major investors.

“It’s a way off,” Palios says of his potential vision for the future, “but if somebody comes in with serious money, you have to have a business plan. And the one thing I won’t do is limit ambition.”

To bring things full circle in terms of foreign backers, the Palios’ have shared photos of themselves courting international investment since this interview. This time Tranmere’s seeking funding from soccer-mad Indonesian businessman Simon Nainggolan, also known as Simon N.

The chaos at Bury and Bolton Wanderers in 2019 shows how precarious the football business can be even with TV money and global investment. At Tranmere, smart commercial decisions and dedicated supporters kept the club alive. To fans’ delight, under manager Micky Mellon — yet another former player — the team won promotion in 2018 and again in 2019 (only to be summarily relegated again when the Covid pandemic ended the next season early).

Devoted Tranmere Rovers fans celebrate.

Bruce Osterman still practices law, although he stopped playing soccer at 60. “If I had to do it all again I would,” he says of his experience with Tranmere. “No foreigner had ever done this before, and I met a lot of great people. It was an adventure for me.”

For today’s US-based investment consortiums, owning a sports team is all about profit. For Bruce Osterman, it was an adventure. And for Mark Palios, sport offers a unique combination of both business and passion. When fans tell him they’re proud of the club, he says, “that’s the reward.”

Baseball NFTs are coming from Topps

These trading cards don’t come with any bubble gum.

Baseball cards are going digital.

Each token will use the WAX blockchain to keep a record of the ownership of each card, which can also be sold or traded on a global marketplace. Those who want to start collecting will need to open a free WAX Cloud Wallet.

For those unfamiliar, NFTs are unique digital tokens tied with certain digital assets such as a highlight video, a tweet or a picture. What takes a bit of open-mindedness is understanding that the token acts as a certificate of authenticity for the digital asset, but it doesn’t mean that picture or video is yours as you won’t own the intellectual rights. However, NFTs can be worth big bucks, such as the first-ever tweet going for $2.9 million, Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end Rob Gronkowski trading cards going for $1.8 million and even one guy making $85 selling his farts.

Tom Brady, Patrick Mahomes share the cover for Madden NFL 22

The latest version of Madden is almost here, but the biggest changes are reserved for next-gen consoles.

Tom Brady and Patrick Mahomes are the cover stars for Madden 22.

Madden NFL 22 marks the first time in over a decade that two people were featured on the same cover. Troy Polamalu and Larry Fitzgerald previously were the dual-cover stars for Madden NFL 10.

Moving beyond the cover, EA is touting a few improvements to differentiate this year’s edition from prior games. All versions of Madden 22 will be seeing improvements to Franchise mode to enable more detailed staffing and strategy control, as well as new cinematics. EA says it will continue to expand the franchise mode after launch, with a September update promised to provide improvements to scouting.

The biggest changes, however, will be in a new “dynamic gameday” experience that is exclusive to next-gen consoles like the PS5 and Xbox Series X. EA says these changes will be impacting all modes throughout the game, from local games against the computer and online versus friends to franchise modes.

There will be new sideline animations in Madden 22.

As part of the “gameday” adjustments, the company has boosted the crowd and presentation elements of Madden 22 while adding additional localized changes to the on-field game, such as increasing passing and kick distance in Denver to account for the altitude while lowering short-term stamina for the visiting team.

A new “momentum” function has also been added to the next-gen versions that can impact the players on the field based on how the game is going and better imitate the pressure of NFL gamedays.

Away teams will have two of these momentum perks, what EA calls “M-Factors,” while home teams will get three as a bit of a home-field advantage. The home-specific perks will vary for each of the NFL’s 32 teams and can provide boosts for your team or disruptions to an opponent when triggered. Playing at home with the Minnesota Vikings, for instance, will get you a small speed boost in the red zone when the fans are doing their “Skol” chant. Visitors to Chicago will have a harder time kicking, while preplay play art on third and fourth down will be difficult to see in Seattle if momentum is on the Seahawks side.

The modifiers will vary based on each game and the situation you find yourselves in. Clint Oldenburg, gameplay producer for Madden 22, says there are roughly “40 plus” M-Factors in the game with more coming post-launch.

No player, not even cover stars Brady and Mahomes, will be immune to the impacts of the “M-Factors.” Games at neutral locations, like a Super Bowl, will not have extra perks for the home team.

In an expansion of an idea first introduced in the next-gen editions of Madden 21, EA says it will also be updating team and player tendencies throughout the season using the NFL’s Next Gen Stats. In Madden 22, this feature will also appear in the game as a way to make game plan decisions pregame and adjustments at halftime by pulling data from how your opponent has played or is playing.

For next-gen consoles, Madden 22 will retail for $70. Older consoles, PC and Stadia players will be able to get the game for $60.

Conor McGregor speaks after freak leg injury in loss to Dustin Poirier at UFC 264

“Feeling tremendous,” said McGregor, after emerging from a three hour surgery.

This will be the third contest between McGregor and Poirier.

“This is not over,” said McGregor, in a post fight interview with Joe Rogan. ‘If I have to take this outside with him, it’s on outside. I don’t give a bollocks.”

Dana White stated that McGregor would be going into surgery tomorrow on Sunday to deal with the leg injury. He said that a title fight with current UFC lightweight champion Charles Oliveira was most likely next for Poirier, but believes that a fourth fight between McGregor and Poirier will happen at some point in the future, when McGregor has recovered from the surgery.

Audie Attar, McGregor’s long time manager recently said McGregor underwent a successful three hour surgery, repairing fractures of the tibia and fibula.

“Both doctors are confident that with time he will make a full recovery,” he said in a statement. “We anticipate his return to the Octagon.”

McGregor himself posted a video message on social media soon afterwards.

“Feeling tremendous,” said McGregor. “Six weeks on crutches and we build back!”

Find our blow by blow account of each fight below.

The stakes are high for Conor McGregor in this trilogy fight against Dustin Poirier.

It’s here. The big one. The stakes for this fight seem incredibly high for McGregor, but they always do. Every single fight.

As I mentioned above, it’s almost impossible to call this fight. I’m picking McGregor because he appeared to be winning the last fight until he wasn’t. But honestly, it could go the exact same way as the last fight.

Got the butterflies for this one. Let’s go.

Round 1

Man this is intense. McGregor looks amped, the opposite of relaxed, which is when he does his best work. Let’s see how this plays out.

McGregor coming out leg kick heavy. The fight is being fought at a furious pace. Poirier somehow clips McGregor and takes it to the ground after McGregor attempts a guillotine choke. After a barrage of ground and pound the fight goes back to the feet and after an exchange McGregor rolls his ankle

And it looks as though he’s broken his ankle? The doctor calls it. The fight is over.

Wow. What a strange ending.

McGregor is furious. He’s screaming “Doctor’s stoppage”.

Regardless of the result, McGregor was losing this fight comprehensively. It was called a doctor’s stoppage in the end. Afterwards, Joe Rogan conducted an interview with McGregor as he was getting his leg attended to. He claimed this was “not over”. But realistically, it’s hard to tell when McGregor will be back — if he’ll be back. Poirier made reference to karma playing a part here, given how low McGregor stooped in the lead up.

There was a real poisonous atmosphere to this whole scene. Reminded me a lot of the Khabib vs. McGregor fight. Left a bad taste in my mouth.

Dustin Poirier wins via doctor’s stoppage

I’m really looking forward to this one. Stephen Thompson is maybe the best technical striker the UFC has even seen, Gilbert Burns is a jiu-jitsu specialist with hammers for hands. The winner of this fight will almost certainly get a title shot at some point in the future.

I’m picking Thompson here. He’s one of the most difficult, unique fighters on the roster and he’s outclassed almost everyone he’s faced in the Octagon.

Can’t wait.

Round 1

Can’t blog anymore did a drinking game where I take a shot every time Joe Rogan says “karate style” and I’m dead.

Burns appears to be trying to take this to the ground, which is smart, but Thompson has great takedown defence. A lot of the early part of this round is taking place on the fence. Not really great for either fighter.

And of course the crowd is booing.

But wow — surprise — Burns got it to the ground. This could steal him the round and make Thompson a little more hesitant to through his world class kicks.

Wonderboy eventually gets back to his feet, but a strong round for Burns here.

CNET scores it 10-9 for Burns

Round 2

A frantic 2nd round fought on a hair trigger. Really tough one to score. Thompson appeared to control the fight on the feet, but Burns snagged a takedown in the last thirty seconds, which could have stolen him the round. Hard to say. I think Thompson, but who knows.

CNET scores it 10-9 for Thompson

Round 3

Good start for Thompson, with a stinging straight over the top.

Whoa… Thompson clips him with a SWEET wheel kick that almost knocks Burns off his feet. Unreal. Thought we might get a finish, but Burns appears to recover. Now he’s got Thompson to the mat. Can Thompson get back to his feet? He’s running out of time here and Burns has got side control now. This looks bad for Thompson.

CNET scores it 10-9 for Burns and 29-28 for Burns overall.

Official decision: Gilbert Burns defeats Stephen Thompson by decision (29-28 on all three scorecards)

Oh man, nothing like a heavyweight slobberknocker. Tai Tuivasa, is famous for his victory shoeys (a shoey is when you drink beer out of a stranger’s shoe, after the stranger has spat in it — yes, I know, gross). Greg Hardy is notorious as an ex-NFL player with a tarnished history. Many are divided on whether he should be fighting in the UFC at all.

This fight should be absolute chaos. Tuivasa is explosive and loose and fun to watch, I’m picking him to get it done tonight.

Round 1

Holy shit, Tai Tuivasa comes out to the Spice Girls. This is the best entrance I’ve ever seen in my life. Please win Tai. I’m begging you.

Wow. What a wild minute of fighting. Tuivasa comes out chopping the legs. Hardy hits back with a thunderous shot and PROPERLY wobbles Tuivasa, but as Hardy comes in to finish he gets utterly melted by a counter left hook. Unbelievable scenes. Tuivasa climbs up to the cage and goes straight for the shoey babyyyyyyy! Amazing. What a fight as long as it lasted.

Tai Tuivasa wins va KO in the first round

Aldana came out victorious.

This is a big fight for the women’s bantamweight division, between two of its top contenders. Interestingly, Aldana is coming off a bad weight miss, hitting the scale at 139.5 pounds, when she needed to hit 136. Will that affect this fight? Historically fighters who miss weight have an advantage, but sometimes that weight cut struggle can have a massive impact on stamina. Let’s see what happens. I’m picking Kunitskaya.

Round 1

Kunitskaya is throwing heat from the outset, landing big leg kicks. She’s moving aggressively and really looks up for this. But once Aldana settled in she began landing big punches, including one to the body that appeared to really affect Kunitskaya.

And then all of a sudden Aldana absolutely cracks Kunitskaya coming in with a heavy counter check hook that lays Kunitskaya out. She tries to defend with upkicks, but eventually Aldana gets on top and lands bomb after bomb on Kunitskaya, who struggles to defend. This one is over.

Irene Aldana wins via TKO in the first round

Sean O’Malley won in a landslide victory.

If you’re new to “Suga” Sean O’Malley, brace yourself. He is one of the rising stars in the UFC and one of the most entertaining fighters on the roster. There’s a reason he’s opening this card.

Unfortunately, his original opponent, Louis Smolka, was removed from this fight thanks to a staph infection. The replacement fighter, Kris Moutinho, represents something of a mismatch. He’s a last minute replacement and not a strong one either. It would be a wild upset if O’Malley lost this fight, but stranger things have happened in the UFC.

Round 1

Moutinho absolutely marching forward trying to catch O’Malley with legs kicks. But O’Malley seems to be landing at will, probing front kicks, precision jabs, straights. Just incredible land percentage. At one point O’Malley had him hurt and was… pretending to play basketball? Incredible.

But Moutinho’s ability to absorb damage and walk forward does appear to be causing O’Malley some issues. That said, O’Malley absolutely sparked him in the last second of the round. One more minute and he’d have been out.

Incredibly, O’Malley broke the bantamweight record for most strikes landed in a round

CNET scores it 10-8 for O’Malley

Round 2

O’Malley can’t miss and Moutinho has one of the craziest chins I’ve seen in a fight. He is still walking forward is crazy. O’Malley’s shots seem to have lost their sting. This guy is fighting like it’s his last day on earth. It’s wild that’s he’s still here to take these shots.

O’Malley is landing at a 84% accuracy rate. Anderson Silva levels here. But Moutinho is STILL HERE.

CNET scores it 10-9 for O’Malley

Round 3

Another crazy round where Moutinho just marched through shots and O’Malley just landing at will with precise, clean hard shots. Again, I’ve never seen anything like this.

Eventually, Herb Dean waves it off. O’Malley had a few exchanges where he was really teeing off with every strike you can imagine — knees, punches, kicks. 

To be honest, I would have liked to see that continue. Regardless, a wild fight. O’Malley landed huge shots at an incredible rate and Moutinho just took it all.

Sean O’Malley wins via TKO in the third round

When and how to watch skateboarding at the Tokyo Olympics

Here’s what you need to know.

Skateboarding is at the Tokyo Olympics and it’s been awesome so far.

The park discipline will feature a course that resembles a large basin with lots of dips, twists and turns.

The Park event takes place on the 4th and 5th of August.

The women’s Park Qualification takes place at 8 p.m. EDT (5 p.m. PDT) on August 3. The final takes place 11:30 p.m. (8.30 p.m. PDT) on the same day.

The men’s Park Qualification takes place at 8 p.m. EDT (5 p.m. PDT) on August 4. The final takes place 11:30 p.m. (8.30 p.m. PDT) on the same day.

Skateboarding at the Olympics features two disciplines: park and street.

The park competition will take place on a hollowed-out course featuring a complex series of twists and turns. Park courses resemble large bowls with steep sides, nearly vertical at the top. Skaters send themselves to dizzying heights, performing jaw-dropping spins and tricks midair, and then gracefully bring themselves back down to the bowl to do it all over again on the other side.

The street competition features a straight course with stairs, handrails, benches, walls and slopes to mimic a real street. This kind of skateboarding is characterized by riding along curbs and rails, leaping into the air without using hands, and that familiar grind of board on metal.

Olympic skateboarders will experience at least some of the creative freedom they get in their home parks and streets: They’re free to choose which parts of the course to cover and, of course, which tricks to perform. Also, in an attempt to maintain the feel of the sport, music will accompany each rider.

Only one athlete rides at a time, and competitors get three timed runs to post their best score.

The street discipline mimics what it’s like to skateboard in a city environment. The course will feature rails, benches, curbs and other things you’d find on a real street.

Judges will score athletes based on speed, difficulty, originality, timing, stability and the overall flow of the performance. One important skill judges will be looking for is the ability to seem suspended in midair.

Fans take a swing at Cleveland Indians changing name to Cleveland Guardians

“Yup, we named our team after bridge statues,” said one Twitter user.

One of the Guardians of Traffic sculptures on the Hope Memorial Bridge near Progressive Field, where Cleveland’s baseball team plays.

There was some positive social media reaction to the new name, though some people had fun with it, and others didn’t like the choice.

“Yup, we named our team after bridge statues,” said one Twitter user.

The winged baseball logo earned some attention.

Other people also noted that “Guardians” and “Indians” end in the same five letters, and joked that the team’s owners, the Dolan family, could save some money as a result.

Stay tuned for more social media name-change commentary someday soon. The Washington Football Team, formerly the Redskins, has yet to announce its new name.

Champions League: How to watch or stream online

Barcelona attempt to get one back against a seemingly unstoppable PSG.

Kylian Mbappe and Erling Haaland are leading the next generation of world beaters as Ronaldo and Messi inch towards retirement.

Here’s everything you need to know.

Your best bet is signing up with Paramount Plus.

All the details on Paramount Plus’ online coverage of Champions League matches can be found here. Paramount Plus doesn’t just have access to this match in particular, but all Champions League matches. You’ll also be able to watch all matches in the Europa League, the second-tier European competition.

Univision has the rights to the US Spanish broadcast of the Champions League, however. You can find out more here.

If you want to watch Champions League football in the UK, our recommendation is sign up with BT Sport.

BT Sport is streaming all the Champions League matches, but it also gives you access to a bunch of other good stuff, like UFC, so it’s worth getting.

Much like the English Premier League, Optus Sport is showing all the Champions League matches in Australia.

If you care about watching soccer at all, the Optus Sport deal is a good one. Especially if you follow the EPL which, being the most high profile league on the planet, most soccer fans do.

Disclaimer: I subscribe to the service and love it. Easy access to all matches on my smart TV and works nicely with a mobile app.

NBA Opening Night: How to watch Nets vs. Bucks, Warriors vs. Lakers on TNT

Giannis, Durant, Harden, Curry and LeBron are all in action to tip off the 2021-22 NBA season. And you don’t need cable to watch.

Keep reading to see how you can watch both games without cable. And to plan out your pro basketball viewing for the entire regular season, check out our guide for watching the 2021-22 NBA basketball season without cable.

Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks begin their title defense on Tuesday against the Brooklyn Nets on TNT.

Four of the five major live TV streaming services offer TNT (all but FuboTV). Sling TV has the cheapest plan with TNT, and DirecTV Stream is the priciest.

Sling TV’s Orange plan and Blue plan both cost $35 and include TNT.

Read our Sling TV review.

YouTube TV costs $65 a month and includes TNT.

Read our YouTube TV review.

Hulu with Live TV costs $65 a month and includes TNT.

Read our Hulu with Live TV review.

Formerly AT&T TV, DirecTV Stream’s basic $70-a-month package includes TNT.

Read our DirecTV Stream review.

All of the live TV streaming services above offer free trials, allow you to cancel anytime and require a solid internet connection. Looking for more information? Check out our live-TV streaming services guide.

UFC 260 Miocic vs. Ngannou: Start time, how to watch or stream online, full fight card

UFC 260 is just about to start. Here’s everything you need to know…

UFC 260 will be the second time Stipe Miocic has faced off against Francis Ngannou.

Sadly the co-main event, a compelling contest between featherweight champ Alexander Volkanovski and jiu jitsu savant Brian Ortega has been cancelled after Volkanovski tested positive for COVID-19.

Here’s everything you need to know.

This year the UFC entered into a new partnership with ESPN. That’s great news for the UFC and the expansion of the sport of MMA, but bad news for consumer choice. Especially if you’re one of the UFC fans who want to watch UFC live in the US.

In the US, if you want to know how to watch UFC 260, you’ll only find the fight night on PPV through ESPN Plus. The cost structure is a bit confusing, but here are the options to watch UFC on ESPN, according to ESPN’s site:

You can do all of the above at the link below.

MMA fans in the UK can watch UFC 260 exclusively through BT Sport. There are more options if you live in Australia. You can watch UFC 260 through Main Event on Foxtel. You can also watch on the UFC website or using its app. You can even order using your PlayStation or using the UFC app on your Xbox.

Need more international viewing options? Try a VPN. See the best VPNs currently recommended by CNET editors.

Based on previous UFC times, this is the schedule we expect…

Given how volatile and fluid previous fight cards have been in the COVID-19 era, expect this one to chop and change. Here’s where we’re at right now…