In recent years, the advent of internet betting has sparked a meteoric rise in gambling on professional tennis, making it among the top three most wagered-on sports in the world - and damaging the sport's reputation. In August 2007, tennis found itself embroiled in scandal when the London on-line bookmaker Betfair voided bets on a match between #4-ranked Nikolay Davydenko and #87-ranked Martin Vassallo Arguello in response to suspicious betting patterns. After the story made international headlines, Betfair discovered 45 other matches showing suspicious betting patterns, and 17 players came forward to claim they'd been offered money to throw matches. As tennis fights to rebound from these public relations hits and assure fans that the integrity of the game remains intact, Real Sports correspondent Frank Deford takes a closer look at this troubling situation.
In the tiny Scottish village of Balmedie, just outside Aberdeen on the historic coast of Scotland, high-flying tycoon Donald Trump envisions the greatest luxury golf resort in the world, including hundreds of homes and condos, plus a hotel and conference center. But fisherman and farmer Michael Forbes has created a small obstacle for Trump by refusing to sell his 23-acre plot of land. In addition, Trump's fight for approval has reached the highest levels of government, where officials are currently deciding whether to let him go ahead with his $2 billion development or leave the coastline's environmentally designated sand dunes untouched. Exploring this heated debate, Real Sports correspondent Bernard Goldberg goes one-on-one with "The Donald."
Perhaps the hottest consumer sports issue of the moment is the skyrocketing cost of attending pro sports events. The increase in ticket prices and the introduction of personal seat licenses - one-time fees that fans must pay to retain the rights to purchase their season tickets - have left diehard season ticket holders and families feeling pushed aside in favor of corporate interests. Team owners contend these increases provide necessary revenue to offset debts incurred by the construction of new stadiums and arenas.
Real Sports host Bryant Gumbel investigates both sides of the debate, taking an in-depth look at the New York metro area, where three major stadium projects are currently underway.
When the Tampa Bay Devil Rays selected high-school prospect Josh Hamilton in the 1999 MLB draft ahead of Josh Beckett, handing him a $3.96 million signing bonus, they saw the future of their organization in his raw talent. But after numerous setbacks, including various injuries, violations of baseball's drug policy and other unspecified personal issues, Hamilton's baseball career seemed to be a lost cause. Nearly a decade later, however, he's resurrected his career: After a breakout year with Cincinnati in 2007, he's now having an MVP season with the Texas Rangers. Two years after first chronicling Hamilton's path to redemption, correspondent Jon Frankel updates his incredible comeback story in this Real Sports/Sports Illustrated collaboration.