Washington Nationals


Washington Nationals

Washington Nationals logo.svg

The Washington Nationals are a professional baseball team based in Washington, D.C.. The Nationals compete in Major League Baseball (MLB) as a member club of the National League (NL) East division. From 2005 to 2007, the team played in RFK Stadium; since 2008 their home stadium has been Nationals Park on South Capitol Street in Southeast D.C., near the Anacostia River.[3]
The Nationals are the eighth major league franchise to be based in Washington, D.C., and the first since 1971. The current National League club was founded in 1969 as the Montreal Expos, part of the MLB expansion. The Expos were purchased by Major League Baseball in 2002,[4] and the team was renamed the Nationals and moved to Washington, D.C. before the 2005 season, marking the first franchise relocation in MLB since the third Washington Senators moved to Texas in 1971.
While the team initially struggled after moving to Washington, the Nationals have experienced considerable success in recent years, winning division titles in 2012, 2014, 2016, and 2017, although they have yet to advance out of the first round in the playoffs.[5] Two of the team's first overall picks in the MLB DraftStephen Strasburg in 2009 and Bryce Harper in 2010, attracted new levels of attention to the team. At the time of his selection, Strasburg was called the "most-hyped pick in draft history," and Harper later became the youngest position player to be selected to the MLB All-Star Game.[6][7] Including their time in Montreal, the Nationals are one of two franchises, and the only one in the National League, never to have won a league pennant and played in a World Series, along with the Seattle Marinersof the American League.

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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