Houston Astros


Houston Astros


Houston-Astros-Logo.svg

The Houston Astros are an American professional baseball team based in HoustonTexas. The Astros compete in Major League Baseball (MLB) as a member club of the American League (AL) West division, having moved to the division in 2013 after spending their first 51 seasons in the National League (NL).[4][5] The Astros have played their home games at Minute Maid Park since 2000.[6]
The Astros were established as the Houston Colt .45s and entered the National League as an expansion team in 1962 along with the New York Mets. The current name—reflecting Houston's role as the control center of the U.S. crewed space program—was adopted three years later, when they moved into the Astrodome, the first domed sports stadium.
The Astros played in the NL from 1962 to 2012, first in the West Division from 1969 to 1993, followed by the Central Division from 1994 to 2012. The team was reclassified to the American League West from 2013 onward. While a member of the NL, the Astros played in one World Series in 2005, losing in four games to the Chicago White Sox. In 2017, they became the first franchise in MLB history to have won a pennant in both the NL and the AL, when they defeated the New York Yankees in the ALCS. They won the 2017 World Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers, winning four games to three, earning the team, and the state of Texas, its first World Series title.

Insurance policies in sport

Insuring against the risks involved in sports has arguably never been more important. The amount of money now at stake, the scale and sophistication of tournaments, and the global geo-political landscape have all helped elevate risk levels.  
Take event organisation. All eyes were on the French authorities for the recent European Football Championships. Terrorism deterrence and response was a key issue before the tournament in light of recent terror attacks in Paris and Brussels. The U.S. went so far as to issue a formal travel warning to it citizens.1 Stakeholders will have had to review their insurance cover and wider risk management strategies (especially in light of the fact that terrorism is an often excluded risk). In the end, it was not terrorism but hooliganism that caught the headlines. This in itself could have had significant insurance repercussions for those who suffered loss, depending on whether or not specific insurance policies 1) existed, and 2) provided cover for loss suffered as a result of riots, civil unrest, vandalism, or hooliganism.
Then there are the risks facing teams and individual athletes. There were numerous reports of athletes such as Jessica Ennis-Hill, Andy Murray and Rory McIlroy consulting experts about the risks of the Zika virus in Brazil for Rio 2016.2 Rory McIlroy decided that it was a risk that he was unwilling to take.3 What would have happened if the Olympics had been postponed, or if something happened resulted in the cancellation of part or the entire event? That risk needed to be appropriately managed.
Risk managers, clubs, athletes, governing bodies and event organisers (amongst others) should all be seriously considering risk management day-to-day, and it ought to be an integral part of any individual or team’s commercial toolbox. This article explores some of the most common sports-related insurance policies that are available today and the legal issues involved in their effective deployment. 

CAREER ENDING INSURANCE

Sometimes, despite talent, athletes are prevented from fulfilling their potential due to career-ending injuries. Specific policies are available to cover athletes for loss of current and future potential earnings following an injury although they are often found within personal accident policies. Often the policy will provide sportspeople with a lump sum (tax-free) and can also include potential earnings from commercial sponsorships/ endorsements.
Fabrice Muamba memorably collapsed whilst playing for Bolton versus Tottenham Hotspur in 2012. Muamba was reportedly on c. £35,000 per week and was only 23 when his career was ended. Muamba did have insurance although the details are confidential. We do not know whether Muamba had a policy that paid a lump sum for lost potential earnings, but the potential total figure could have been huge. By way of illustration, if Muamba had stayed on £35,000 per week (it would likely have increased) for another ten years, he would have earned at least £18.2m before tax.
Another notable example involves Steve Thompson (the retired England Rugby World Cup winning hooker). Thompson suffered what he thought was a career ending injury after damagin his neck playing for Northampton Saints. Thompson famously returned to the sport later that year after surgery and being passed fit to play. Thompson had received a significant pay-out from his insurers which he had to pay back before he could return to the sport. The policies should explicitly state that the athlete will not be able to compete professionally in the sport after they have made a claim. Thompson retired in 2011 after a recurrence of the original injury, and the details of a second insurance pay-out (if any) are unknown.

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