Pittsburgh Pirates


Pittsburgh Pirates

Pittsburgh Pirates logo 2014.svg

The Pittsburgh Pirates are an American professional baseball team based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Pirates compete in Major League Baseball (MLB) as a member club of the National League (NL) Central division. The Pirates play their home games at PNC Park; the team previously played at Forbes Field and Three Rivers Stadium, the latter of which was named after its location near the confluence of the AlleghenyMonongahela, and Ohio Rivers. Founded on October 15, 1881 as Allegheny, the franchise has won five World Series championships. The Pirates are also often referred to as the "Bucs" or the "Buccos" (derived from buccaneer, a synonym for pirate).
The franchise joined the NL in its eighth season in 1887 and was competitive from its early years, winning three NL titles from 1901 to 1903, playing in the inaugural World Series in 1903 and winning their first World Series in 1909 behind Honus Wagner. The Pirates have had many ups and downs during their long history, most famously winning the 1960 World Series against the New York Yankees on a game-winning walk-off home run by Bill Mazeroski, the only time that Game 7 of the World Series has ever ended with a home run. They also won the 1971 World Series, led by the talent of Roberto Clemente, and the 1979 World Series under the slogan "We Are Family", led by "Pops" Willie Stargell.
After a run of regular-season success in the early 1990s (winning three straight East Division titles), the Pirates struggled mightily over the following 20 years, with 20 consecutive losing seasons from 1993 to 2012—the longest such streak in American professional sports history[2]before posting a winning record in 2013 of 94–68, qualifying them for the NL Wild Card. They advanced to the NL Division Series round, where they lost in 5 games to the St. Louis Cardinals. The Pirates made the playoffs in both 2014 and 2015, losing in the Wild Card Game both times.

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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