Toyota scraps Tokyo Olympics ads in Japan, despite being banner sponsor

With support for holding the games low among Japan’s citizens amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Toyota doesn’t want to wade any deeper in.

Toyota’s stuck between a rock and a hard place.

In addition, CEO Akio Toyoda will not attend the opening ceremony as once planned, Reuters reported. The publication cited new data from a local Japanese newspaper that surveyed nearly 1,500 people and found 55% did not want the games going forward. Sixty-eight percent of respondents said they doubt officials will keep COVID-19 infections under control.

The Tokyo Olympics were meant to be a real showcase, not only for Japan, but for Toyota. The automaker was supposed to reveal a new battery-electric car amid the events, and readied electric, self-driving shuttles for athletes to bring them from the Olympic Village to various sites. It’s not clear if these vehicles will still be in use amid the pandemic, but the current situation certainly rained on Toyota’s showcase of new technology.

UFC 262 Oliveira vs. Chandler: Start time, how to watch and full fight card

In a matter of hours a new UFC champion will be crowned. Here’s everything you need to know…

This has to be one of the greatest UFC photos ever.

While Oliveira vs. Chandler isn’t a blockbuster fight that’ll have the mainstream buzzing, it’s absolutely the right fight to make. Chandler, a long time champion in rival promotion Bellator, made an incredible entrance to the UFC, icing Dan Hooker in one punch at UFC 257. Charles Oliveira, after a mixed early career in the UFC, has developed into maybe the most feared grappler in MMA. Both have earned this shot.

Who’s gonna win? Really tough to tell. It’s a fascinating style match-up. Oliveira is rangy and incredible from his back, Chandler possesses incredible one-shot power and dynamite wrestling.

This one could go either way. I have no idea what’s going to happen.

The UFC 262 main card starts at 10 p.m ET (7 p.m. PT) but here are all the details…

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 262, 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 262 exclusively through BT Sport. There are more options if you live in Australia. You can watch UFC 262 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 to change your IP address to access those US, UK or Australian options listed above. See the best VPNs currently recommended by CNET editors.

As always fight cards are subject to change…

High jump event at the Tokyo Olympics ends with unprecedented shared gold

Mutaz Essa Barshim and Gianmarco Tamberi shared the most heartwarming moment of the Tokyo Olympics so far,

Gianmarco Tamberi of Italy celebrates winning gold in the high jump at the Tokyo Olympics.

Mutaz Essa Barshim from Qatar and Gianmarco Tamberi from Italy were the last men standing in the final of the men’s high jump event on Sunday. Both had successfully cleared the 2.37-meter mark and both also couldn’t clear 2.39 meters, using up all three attempts.

Which served up a conundrum: Who wins? Officials offered Barshim and Tamberi two options. They could take part in jump-off, to decide a winner, or they could share the gold medal.

They chose to share the gold medal and the moment they decided to do so is perhaps the most wholesome moment of the Tokyo Olympics so far…

“Can we have two golds?” Barshim asked. The answer was yes.

Some of the shots in the aftermath of the decision shows how much it meant to these two athletes.

The moment both athletes realized they could share gold.

Gianmarco Tamberi had missed the last Olympics due to injury.

Barshim celebrating his win.

“I look at him, he looks at me and we know it. We just look at each other and we know, that is it, it is done. There is no need,” Barshim said, in an interview afterwards.

“He is one of my best friends, not only on the track, but outside the track. We work together.”

Online, people reacted to one of the most emotional moments of the Tokyo Olympics so far.

Sport is good.

European Super League: Man United, Liverpool, Chelsea, Spurs, Arsenal, Inter Milan and Man City all drop out

The controversial European Super League is crumbling.

Liverpool, among others, have left the proposed European Super League project.

The negativity was a direct response to a league that had the potential to wreak havoc on the traditional structures of European soccer, made up of domestic leagues like the English Premier League, Spain’s La Liga and Italy’s Serie A. The European Super League was designed to protect up to 15 founding members — the most powerful teams across Europe’s most powerful domestic leagues — from the relegation/promotion pyramid structure that anchors all of European soccer. A structure that goes all the way from the lowest levels of domestic soccer, all the way through to the Champions League, the biggest prize in club soccer.

Real Madrid President Florentino Perez was named as the inaugural chairman of the European Super League. It was his intent, he stated, to secure the future of soccer, not undermine it.

“We will help football at every level and take it to its rightful place in the world,” Perez said in a statement Sunday. “Football is the only global sport in the world with more than 4 billion fans and our responsibility as big clubs is to respond to their desires.”

Read more: How to watch Premier League games live in the US without cable

But in the wake of the initial announcement, UEFA and FIFA — which runs the existing Champions League competition and the World Cup respectively — threatened clubs and players participating in the European Super League with removal from all other competitions, including the World Cup.

“I cannot stress more strongly how everyone is united against these disgraceful, self-serving proposals, fuelled by greed above all else,” UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin said at a press conference Monday, as reported by the BBC. “Players who will play in the teams that might play in the closed league will be banned from the World Cup and Euros.”

“This idea is a spit in the face of all football lovers. We will not allow them to take it away from us.”

Here’s everything you need to know about the European Super League.

Six teams from the English Premier League, three from La Liga and three clubs from Serie A all initially signed up, making for 12 clubs. In the wake of fan outrage, over half of these clubs have withdrawn.

The original list of the founding clubs was as follows…

Where are teams from the French and German leagues? Teams like Bayern Munich from Germany and Paris Saint-Germain from France are undoubtedly among the biggest and best teams in Europe. Bayern and its German rival Borussia Dortmund announced Monday they are committed to the existing Champions League, which unveiled reforms Monday for the 2024 season. PSG is owned by the royal family of Qatar, which is holding the next World Cup and therefore unlikely to go against the soccer establishment.

Following backlash in response to the announcement, all Premier League teams have announced plans to drop out. Manchester City has confirmed it has “formally enacted the procedures to withdraw from the group developing plans for a European Super League,” with Chelsea to reportedly follow suit.

Manchester United’s controversial executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward has also announced his resignation following the backlash. Manchester United has also officially dropped out of the European Super League.

Liverpool also stated that its “involvement in proposed plans to form a European Super League has been discontinued.”

Arsenal and Spurs have both officially announced they’re leaving.

“We regret the anxiety and upset caused by the ESL proposal,” said Daniel Levy, chairman of Tottenham Hotspur. “We felt it was important that our club participated in the development of a possible new structure that sought to better ensure financial fair play and financial sustainability whilst delivering significantly increased support for the wider football pyramid.”

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson commented on the decision of English clubs to withdraw from the league.

“The decision by Chelsea and Manchester City is — if confirmed — absolutely the right one and I commend them for it,” he tweeted. “I hope the other clubs involved in the European Super League will follow their lead.”

Inter Milan has also become the first non-English team to officially remove itself from the European Super League.

In response, an official statement from the European Super League was sent out.

“The European Super League is convinced that the current status quo of European football needs to change,” read the statement.

“We are proposing a new European competition because the existing system does not work.

“Our proposal is aimed at allowing the sport to evolve while generating resources and stability for the full football pyramid, including helping to overcome the financial difficulties experienced by the entire football community as a result of the pandemic.

“Given the current circumstances, we shall reconsider the most appropriate steps to reshape the project, always having in mind our goals of offering fans the best experience possible while enhancing solidarity payments for the entire football community.”

According to original plans, the new competition was to feature 20 clubs made up of 15 founding clubs, with an option for five further clubs to qualify based on previous seasons’ achievements. (The details were currently murky on what those “achievements” actually mean.)

Each team was to continue to take part in domestic leagues, with European Super League matches taking place midweek. Two groups of 10 would take part in home and away matches, with the top three in each group automatically qualifying for a knockout stage. Teams who placed fourth and fifth in each league would compete in a two-leg match to see who qualifies for knockout stages.

Then, those remaining eight teams were set to take part in two-leg knockout format to reach a single final, which would take place at a neutral stadium. A women’s version of this league was also apparently in the works.

At least, that’s how the founding teams hope things would work. Both UEFA and FIFA came out against the league. FIFA backed UEFA, which means participating players may potentially be banned from representing their countries at this summer’s European Championships and next year’s World Cup, competitions run by those international bodies.

“If this were to happen, we wish to reiterate that we — UEFA, the English FA, RFEF, FIGC, the Premier League, LaLiga, Lega Serie A, but also FIFA and all our member associations — will remain united in our efforts to stop this cynical project, a project that is founded on the self-interest of a few clubs at a time when society needs solidarity more than ever,” UEFA said in a statement.

“We will consider all measures available to us, at all levels, both judicial and sporting in order to prevent this happening. Football is based on open competitions and sporting merit; it cannot be any other way.”

The teams involved were aiming for an August 2021 start.

Given the controversy and the reaction of FIFA, UEFA and the fact almost all of the teams have now removed themselves from the project, it would be surprising if the European Super League started at all.

Reaction to the announcement of the European Super League was almost universally negative. The hashtag #RIPfootball rapidly trended on Twitter as did the phrase #disgusting and #embarrassing. People were very angry about this.

Some wanted to organize protests. Ultimately, thousands went to protests at various stadiums across Europe.

Former players such as England and Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand were quick to condemn the clubs involved, including ones they played for.

High-profile current players spoke out, such as PSG’s Ander Herrera.

Liverpool’s James Milner also spoke out against the league after a recent match with Leeds United.

“I don’t like it and I hope it doesn’t happen,” he said.

Eventually that became the collective response of most Liverpool players as many posted the following message on social media platforms: “We don’t like it and we don’t want it to happen. This is our collective position.”

Jurgen Klopp, the current manager of Liverpool, had previously spoken out on opposition to a European Super League when it was first being talked about. “My opinion didn’t change,” he said in a post-match interview with Sky Sports.

The European Super League illustrates the money issues many believe continue to threaten soccer as a sport. Unlike sports leagues like the NBA, which operate with salary caps, clubs at the top of leagues like the EPL or La Liga have been allowed to spend with impunity. This means they can solidify a position at the top of the game and rule over smaller clubs with an iron fist. Clubs at the lower end of big leagues can’t compete.

Neither can top clubs in smaller European leagues in Holland, Scotland, Switzerland or Portugal. The evolution of football over the last 20 years has made it difficult for former giants of the sport like Ajax of Amsterdam or Celtic of Glasgow to compete for major prizes like the Champion’s League. Given the structure of the European Super League, even getting the chance to play would be next to impossible.

For perspective, each founding member of this club was expected to take home $400 million for taking part in this league. That’s roughly four times what a team would receive for winning the Champions League, currently the most prestigious tournament in world club soccer.

For many, including former player and current broadcaster Gary Neville, the whole thing felt anti-competitive. Unlike most other soccer leagues, the founding clubs of the European Super League would not face the threat of relegation if they sit at the bottom of the table.

There’s also the issue of team choice. Teams appear to have been chosen based on fan base and income, as opposed to performance. Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal, currently in seventh and ninth place respectively in the English Premier League, were two of the teams selected, despite the fact smaller clubs like Leicester City and West Ham have outperformed them this year.

UK Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden reportedly said the British government would do “whatever it takes” to stop the English teams from taking part in the European Super League Monday. Dowden also reportedly accused the six clubs of deciding to “put money before fans.”

Considering the longer game, many were worried about the potential impact on grassroots football. The current format of soccer, which favors teams in leagues with huge TV deals like the EPL and La Liga, have seen many teams decline. The European Super League would exacerbate that process. For fans of the sport, this feels like the culmination of soccer as a rich get richer, poor get poorer proposition.

“I do not believe the Super League will solve the financial problems of European clubs that have arisen as [a] result of the coronavirus pandemic,” Bayern Munich CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said Monday, instead pushing solidarity from European football and the “reliable foundation” of the Champions League.

In the wake of the announcement, Jose Mourinho, the high-profile manager of Tottenham Hotspur, has been sacked alongside all of his coaching staff.

Mourinho has yet to release a statement on the reasons for his dismissal, and it’s possible the two decisions are unconnected, but he has spoken negatively on the idea of a “super league” in the past.

See hospitalized kids ‘run the bases’ at Dodger Stadium, via robots

Take me out to the ball game, bots.

Richie visits the baseball field from the hospital.

“Turn it that way, there we go,” Dodgers infielder Gavin Lux coached a patient, who was maneuvering the robot around the field from afar, using buttons that direct the bot backward and forward. “Hey, you did a great job running the bases,” Lux said, getting up close to the display atop the robot’s base, which let him interact with the young baseball fan via video chat. Young fans get to run the bases after some Dodgers home games, and this gave the ill children a chance to participate.

The foldable Ohmni Telepresence Robots, from OhmniLabs, stand just under 5 (1.5 meters) feet tall and weigh 20 pounds (9 kilograms). For this occasion, they wore blue and white Dodgers jerseys. Some of the patients also donned Dodgers garb.

“Experiences like this are incredibly powerful for patients who cannot leave their hospital rooms or homes because of their health conditions,” Kelli Carroll, director of the Child Life Program at UCLA Health, said in a statement.

Telepresence robots aren’t new. Among their many uses, they’ve allowed sick kids to attend school and beamed students who had to be out of town at prom time to the big event. But the coronavirus pandemic has brought the robots’ many potential uses into sharper relief.

“Hopefully, you get better and you can come out here, and we can play some catch,” a player told a patient named Crew who plays right center field and catcher. Here’s wishing Crew, and all others, a lifetime of home runs.

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.

Kevin Durant’s Swagger trailer dunks on youth basketball for Apple TV Plus

Apple’s basketball drama is inspired by the life of the NBA superstar Brooklyn Nets player.

Young actor Isaiah Hill stars as Jace Carson, a young basketball phenom with a bright future on the court. Shinelle Azoroh plays his mother, while O’Shea Jackson Jr. plays a former star player now coaching youth basketball. The youngest ever Oscar nominee, Quvenzhané Wallis, appears as another talented young player. Durant is credited as an executive producer alongside showrunner Reggie Rock Bythewood, the writer and director behind Shots Fired.

The first three episodes of Swagger premiere Friday, Oct. 29 on Apple TV Plus. Each new installment of the 10-episode series will then follow each Friday.

England vs. Italy at Euro 2020: How to watch, start time, prediction

It’s England vs. Italy for all the marbles. Here’s what you need to know…

Raheem Sterling has been England’s star performer during Euro 2020.

The Euro 2020 final featuring England vs. Italy takes place on July 11 at 3 p.m. ET (noon PT).

In the UK, that means 8 p.m. on July 11.

In Australia, it’ll be an early start at 5 a.m. on July 12.

In the US, ESPN and Univision have the rights to the UEFA European Championships. ESPN is televising 39 matches from the tournament and ESPN 2 is televising seven.

In the UK, you can watch for free on BBC and ITV, providing you have a TV license. Fans in the UK have become increasingly accustomed to having to pay Sky or BT Sport to watch soccer, not so with the UEFA European Championships.

In Australia, your best bet is to subscribe to Optus Sport. Personally, as a person living in Australia, I subscribe to Optus Sport. It not only gives you access to the UEFA European Championships, it gives you full access to the English Premier League, the Champions League and the Europa League. It’s a great, simple service. I love it.

It’s hard to call. Both teams have looked extremely solid all tournament. Italy are the most battle tested. They’ve had a rougher run to the final, having just beat Belgium and Spain — but England have looked extremely solid in defence. They’ve only conceded one goal in the tournament — a direct free kick against Denmark in the semi-final — and they’ve grown into the tournament in leaps and bounds.

According to the odds, England are very slight favourites, but it is razor close.

If you pushed me, I’m picking England, based on how strong their defence has looked. They have a lot of firepower and options on the bench as well, if things are tight. The ability to bring on a Jack Grealish, a Marcus Rashford or a Phil Foden has been a huge strength for England.

Just in case you missed the whole event and you’re coming in late!

The UEFA European Championships is similar to a World Cup, but only European teams can enter it. It’s a tournament where international teams — Italy, France, England, Spain and so forth — compete for a month in a competition that starts out in group stages, but progresses to a knockout phase and, ultimately, a final to decide the best team in Europe.

Like the World Cup it takes place every four years, so the stakes are high.

NFL 2021: How to watch, stream football and RedZone this season without cable

The NFL season may be past its midway point, but that doesn’t mean you can’t stream the rest of the season.

The only way to get a full football experience is to have a whole litany of channels from your TV provider. Sunday NFC games are largely on Fox, AFC games are on CBS and Sunday Night Football is on NBC. Monday Night Football is only on ESPN. Though Fox has most Thursday night games (with additional streaming on Amazon Prime Video), there are several that are available only on NFL Network.

With all that in mind, we offer our recommendations for the best way to watch NFL without cable.

Read more: YouTube TV vs. Hulu vs. Sling TV vs. Philo vs. FuboTV vs. AT&T TV: 100 channels compared

Our pick from last year remains our go-to choice in 2021.

At $65 per month each, FuboTV’s Starter plan, Hulu Plus Live TV and YouTube TV check all the NFL boxes. Local channels CBS, NBC and Fox are included in many markets, as are ESPN and the NFL Network, so you can watch Sundays, Monday night and Thursday night.

Want to follow your fantasy team with RedZone? That’s available on all three services as part of an add-on. If you’re a YouTube TV subscriber, you can add the $11 per month Sports Plus add-on by clicking on your profile and going to Settings, then the Membership tab. FuboTV subscribers can go into My Profile and choose Manage Add-ons to get its $11-per-month Sports Plus with NFL RedZone offering.

After Hulu added the NFL Network in July, Hulu users can now add RedZone for $10 per month with its Sports add-on.

Both YouTube TV and FuboTV allow three people to watch at once (Hulu allows two live streams) and all three have apps on nearly every mobile device and major streaming platform, including Amazon Fire TV, Google TV, Roku and Apple TV.

While all three are largely similar, we like YouTube TV for its superior DVR (unlimited storage compared with 250 hours on FuboTV and 50 hours on Hulu) and that it, unlike Fubo, includes the Turner channels.

Both YouTube TV and FuboTV will stream Thursday Night Football games in 4K, but only Fubo includes the higher-quality broadcasts with its base package. To watch in 4K on YouTube TV you’ll need to spend another $20 per month.

Worth noting: YouTube TV and Hulu are each running promotions that drop their respective $65 monthly prices down to $55 per month for the first three months for new users. This should take you through much of the NFL regular season before the pricing jumps by $10 per month.

DirecTV Stream (formerly AT&T TV) offers most of the main broadcast channels, but starts at $70 per month and lacks NFL Network and RedZone.

Sling TV’s Orange and Blue plan for $50 a month gets you ESPN and the NFL Network, and, in select major markets, Fox and/or NBC, but you’ll still lack CBS. You can also add RedZone for $15 per month with the Sports Extra add-on.

A frequent fan-favorite method of following all the NFL action, RedZone is a way to catch every big play around the league. The cheapest road to RedZone is to get Sling TV Blue for $35 per month and add the $11 per month Sports Extra add-on.

This option can also be streamed on a host of devices including iOS, Android, Apple TV, Roku, Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV and web browsers.

Sling is currently offering a discount on the first month of Sling Blue, dropping the price to $10 for the main package.

Note: If you only subscribe to Sling’s Orange package you won’t be able to get RedZone in Sports Extra. Your base package needs to be either Sling Blue or its larger Sling Blue Plus Orange bundle for you to be able to get RedZone as an add-on. If you choose the latter, the Sports Extra add-on is $15 per month as you will also get additional channels like the SEC Network, ACC Network and PAC 12 Network.

Those looking to save some cash might want to check out Sling Blue for $35 a month. While it lacks ESPN, meaning you’ll miss out on Monday Night Football, in select markets you’ll be able to get Fox and NBC. The catch is that those markets are mainly in big cities, so if you live outside one of those areas, Sling Blue might not be for you.

You can also add RedZone through the company’s $11 per month Sports Extra add-on.

Fox, of course, broadcasts most NFC and Thursday night games (with the others on NFL Network and/or Amazon Prime Video), while NBC has Sunday Night Football. CBS, which broadcasts the bulk of AFC games, isn’t included on Sling at all. But an antenna can fill those local channel gaps.

Local and prime-time games will also be available to watch for free on your iOS or Android phone or tablet through the Yahoo Sports app. You cannot, however, cast this feed to your big screen.

There are some apps that offer CBS’ slate of Sunday AFC games live, including Paramount Plus’ Premium tier for $10 per month. Depending on where you live, however, your local CBS station (and those NFL games) might not be available. CBS offers livestreaming services in many markets; you can check for yourself if your area has live CBS streaming here.

An antenna is another option for getting CBS, as is watching on the Yahoo Sports app. And as we mentioned above, an over-the-air antenna connected to your TV provides another free option, no streaming required, as long as you have good reception.

The 2021 schedule of NFL Network games.

Thursday Night Football is probably the most complicated part of the NFL streaming schedule. Most games will be available on the NFL Network, Fox, Amazon Prime Video and Twitch.

A handful of games, however, are also being shown exclusively on the NFL Network, including the Week 5 London game between the Jets and Falcons, and the Week 15 Saturday doubleheader with matchups that are yet to be announced.

As mentioned above, if you want the NFL Network you’re going to need FuboTV, Hulu Plus Live TV, Sling TV Blue or YouTube TV or use the Yahoo Sports app.

NFL Sunday Ticket is still largely limited to DirecTV satellite subscribers, though those who live in buildings that can’t add a satellite dish can get a streaming version to watch football starting at $147 for its To Go package for the remaining two months of the season, or $210 for a Max package that includes the RedZone channel (a student version is also available at a discount). You can check your address on the Sunday Ticket site. Both packages have a one-week free trial.

The problem here, however, is even if you’re eligible it doesn’t include local games. You can only watch Sunday games that aren’t being broadcast on CBS, Fox or NBC in your area. They also won’t be helpful come playoff time — as you’ll need your local stations and ESPN to catch all those games.

For $65 a month, you’ll get all the major football channels with YouTube TV. Plus, RedZone is available for an extra $11 per month. Plug in your ZIP code on YouTube TV’s welcome page to see which local networks are available in your area.

Read our YouTube TV review.

Sling TV’s $35-a-month Blue plan includes NBC, Fox and the NFL Network. Enter your address here to see which local channels are available where you live.

Note: This version of Sling TV does not include ESPN. For that, you’ll need to switch to the similarly priced Orange plan or go for the combined $50 per month Orange and Blue bundle. RedZone is also available for an extra $11 per month.

Read our Sling TV review.

Those looking for CBS games will be able to stream them on Paramount Plus with its $10 per month Premium tier. You can check for yourself if your area has live CBS streaming here.

Most Thursday Night games, starting with Week 5 on October 7, will be available on Amazon Prime Video. For millions of Amazon Prime subscribers, the Prime Video channel is already included at no extra cost. But if you’re not a subscriber, it might be worth it to shell out the $9 a month for the stand-alone TV service fee.

Read our Amazon Prime Video review.

CDC eases travel restriction on Japan and other countries ahead of the Olympics

The agency says people should be fully vaccinated before traveling.

The CDC’s Level 4 risk assessment advises against all travel to a country and recommends being vaccinated if you must go there. Level 3 is more forgiving. The risk is still high, but the CDC doesn’t strictly recommend against it for vaccinated people.

The State Department has updated its travel recommendations to match.