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The digital playing field

Sport stakeholders compete playing by the rules. They cooperate to organize sporting events, ensure fairness, and maintain a level playing field. Just as this applies to sport, it applies as well to the business of sport. The sport community operates its internet extension on the basis of strong community-oriented policies.

Why

The .sport Vision

Meaning, credibility, memorability, searchability, availability, persistence, portability: these are key advantages made possible in a dedicated Internet extension devoted to the cause of sport. Commercial alternatives on offer lack these advantages.

In order to make most of its potential for the benefit of the entire community, the .sport extension applies the values of sport as they have evolved and consolidated over time: an open, objective, rule-based approach. Rules support fairplay, competition, participation, and transparency.

The .sport Internet extension is placed under the authority of the International Sports Federations. Its rules support the sport community. Rules are designed to defend legitimate interests of community stakeholders, sponsors and brands.

The community-based .sport Initiative

The .sport Internet extension is by the community. In 2012, the Global Association of International Sports Federations (GAISF), then known as SportAccord, applied to operate the .sport Internet extension on behalf of the worldwide sport community. Following contention resolution and related proceedings, the .sport extension was created in the root of the Internet Domain Name System on January 10, 2018.

A Community-Based Internet Extension

The .sport extension is defined as community-based. Community-based top-level domains are operated by the representative of their community, for the benefit of the community. The community-based commitments for the .sport extension are documented in Specification 12 of the .sport Registry Agreement entered into by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) and GAISF on 16 Nov 2017. (See https://www.icann.org/resources/agreement/sport-2017-11-16-en)

A Policy Advisory Board representing the entire Sport Community

As a way to reach out to all parts of the Sport Community, GAISF has set up an advisory board for community-based policy development. This governing body is composed of representatives of international sports federations, IOC representatives, and is open to other sport stakeholders. As a consequence, the .sport top-level domain will truly be community-led and will be developed around the values, culture and principles of sport.

When

Calendar

The .sport extension will be introduced in several steps. The timeline has three major milestones: the exclusive Ambassador and Pioneer Program (AP Program), the Launch Period and General Availability (GA).

The AP program is conducted by way of requests for proposals (RFP) and individual negotiations.

The launch period allows applications through domain registrars and involves parallel phases (sunrise, priority, landrush) with distinction of priority. After the end of the launch period, applications are evaluated, follow-up conducted with applicants, contention sets (i.e. applications for the same domain name) are resolved, and successful applications created as domain names.

Starting 2019, the .sport extension enters the general availability phase with a continuous registration mode.

Pre-launch period

The pre-launch period from April 11 to September 4, 2018 is for ramp-up, registrar on-boarding and for the rollout of the Ambassador & Pioneer (AP) Program. The AP program is limited to a select group of iconic names in the .sport extension.

Launch period

There is a combined launch period during which applications can be submitted for six categories shown below. The categories also define relative priority in the event of contention, if more than one application is validated for the same domain name.

The launch period starts at 2018-09-04 17:00 UTC and ends at 2018-11-06 17:00 UTC. Multiple applications may be submitted for the same domain name

1. Sunrise

End-date sunrise. Allows applications for trademarks in the ICANN Trademark Clearinghouse (“TMCH”) and which are used or commit to be used for sport-related activities. Eligibility under this category is subject to the Terms and Conditions set forth in Section 7 of the Launch Policy.

2. GAISF-Member Sport Disciplines

Limited to eligible applicants belonging to this category. Restricted to predefined list of names corresponding to sport disciplines and subdisciplines in English and/or other languages, for example: gymnastics.sport (English), turnen.sport (German), гимнастика.sport (Russian), 体操.sport (Japanese), pentathlon.sport, motocross.sport .

3. Governing Bodies and Public Authorities

Limited to eligible applicants belonging to this category. Federations and other sport Governing Bodies will be allowed to apply for their names, including any clear variations and abbreviations thereof (e.g. acronyms) and other terms in common use to describe them. Public Authorities may apply for names which are used or to be used by them for sport-related activities.

4. Clubs and Other Disciplines

Limited to eligible applicants belonging to this category. Applications allowed for names corresponding to non-GAISF recognized sport disciplines and subdisciplines. Sport Clubs affiliated to Sports Federations will be allowed to apply for their names, including any clear variations and abbreviations thereof (e.g. acronyms) and other terms in common use to describe them.

5. Athletes

Limited to eligible applicants belonging to this category. Licensed athletes will be allowed to apply for their names, including any clear variations and abbreviations thereof (e.g. acronyms) and other terms in common use to refer to them.

6. Other Brands, Events, and Corporate Partners

Open to other eligible applicants not included the previous 5 categories. Recognised sport events organizers, sponsors, right-holders, sports-related media, and other sports-related corporate partners will be allowed to apply for their names as well as any clear variations and abbreviations (e.g., acronyms), their brands, and events.

Who can apply?

The .sport Internet extension is for the community. This means that everyone who plays by the rules is included, and also means that there are rules to protect legitimate interests, including the concerns of brands, sponsors, and the collective community.

Registrations of domain names ending in .sport will be categorized. Key groups of .sport domain registrants include:

  • Federations
  • Sport organisations or governing bodies
  • Clubs and teams
  • Cities and public authorities
  • Athletes and practitioners
  • Sport organisers
  • Event sponsors
  • Sport brands and corporate partners
  • Sports media
  • Sports facilities

In addition to individual registration, there will be special programs for names categories that are subject to special requirements: discipline names, key sport vocabulary, geographic names and generic names.

Sports Governing Bodies

International and national sports federations and specialized institutions or groups of institutions will be able to use their acronyms in domain names based on the pattern <acronym>.sport .

Clubs, Teams, Events

Clubs, teams and events can register their names, brands, slogans and acronyms under .sport so long as they are commonly-known by them.

Athletes

Athletes and their designated agents can register their name or well-known player’s nickname. The athlete should be licensed in the respective federation or have equivalent credentials in term of competition on international or national level.

Brands leverage .sport

Most major brands have a substantial investment in sport sponsorship and sport-based advertising. A dedicated <brand>.sport website is the ideal way to showcase the brand owner’s sport marketing investment. A dedicated site which highlights a brand’s sport engagement is worth the extra effort because it enhances the value of the existing sport marketing investment and offers a pristine channel to the sport audience. At the same time, it shows the brand owner’s commitment to sport, and the values of sport.

The juxtaposition of <brand> and “.sport” is productive because .sport is a curated name space. In .sport, all registration applications are evaluated. Using .sport, brand owners can enhance their brands’ visibility in terms of:

    Credibility: a .sport domain serves as a credential of the brand’s role in the sport community.

    Searchability: a brand that uses sport advertising will be found more easily in searches involving sport keywords, due to the ranking advantage on systematic good-faith natural language matches applied by today’s search engines.

    Memorability: sport is a dynamic and meaningful context which makes the entire expression easier to remember.

Sports media

The .sport extension will support an ecosystem for media companies, publishers and publishing syndicates offering high-quality context-driven content through large numbers of generic and geographic .sport domains. This will be based on registration terms designed to achieve consistent user experience, the protection of user’s privacy as well as adherence to the values of sport.

Registrants using accredited platforms (planned for mid-2019)

While standard .sport registrations are restricted the categories above, the .sport registry will support accredited content delivery platforms allowing users to register domains under the responsibility of the platform operator, subject to the content policies of the accredited platform operators. On this basis, sport practitioners at large, bloggers, fans and groups will be able to communicate under their own .sport identities.

Moreover, thanks to the intrinsic portability of domain names, they will be able to transfer their domains from one accredited platform to another of the same type. Contrary to the categories of registrations where the registry exercises oversight, the accredited platforms involve a delegation of oversight, use of highly scalable technology, standardization, automated data and advertising support specific to the .sport extension, and low per domain cost to the domain registrant.

Registrars

The following registrars have entered into a registry-registrar agreement (RRA) with GAISF in order to offer registration services for the .sport top-level domain:

101domain  https://www.101domain.com/sport.htm
1API GmbH  https://1api.net
BB Online  http://bb-online.com
Brandma.co Limited  http://brandma.com
Com Laude (Nom-iq)  http://www.comlaude.com
COREhub  http://www.corehub.net
CSC Corporate Domains  https://www.cscdigitalbrand.services
Domain Research, LLC  https://domainr.com
EnCirca Inc.  http://www.encirca.com
Entorno Digital S.A.  http://www.entorno.es
EuroDNS S.A  http://www.eurodns.com
Gandi  http://www.gandi.net
Hosting Concepts B.V. d/b/a Registrar.eu  https://www.openprovider.com
Key Systems, LLC  http://www.key-systems.net/tld
Ledl.net GmbH Domaintechnik.at  https://www.domaintechnik.at/sport-domain.html
Lexsynergy Limited  http://lexsynergy.com
Marcaria  http://marcaria.com
Mark Monitor  http://www.markmonitor.com
Nameshield  http://www.nameshield.net
NameWeb BVBA  http://www.nameweb.biz
Netnames (Ascio Technologies)  http://www.ascio.com
Ports Group AB  http://ports.domains
PSI-USA, Inc. dba Domain Robot  https://www.psi-usa.info
RU-CENTER  https://www.nic.ru/en/
SafeBrands  https://safebrands.com
Safenames Limited  https://idp.safenames.com/Login
Secura GmbH  http://www.domainregistry.de
united-domains AG  https://www.united-domains.de
Variomedia AG  https://www.variomedia.de
Webnames.ca  http://www.webnames.ca

What will there be under .sport domain names, and when?

The domains applied for during the sunrise period will be activated in stages. The type of content visible to the public will evolve as the use of the .sport extension is gradually expanded. During 2018, the public will see .sport registry sites, select theme sites, and ambassador and pioneer sites.

Sport icons

A limited number of iconic brands, clubs, athletes, events and governing bodies will become visible under the .sport extension in the course of 2018.

Starting in 2019, .sport will see the general availability of individually-registered domain names for sport stakeholders: federations, clubs, disciplines, brands, themes, and cities.

Every discipline, every language

A user who visits a site with a name like “gymnastics.sport” or “baseball.sport” expects neutral, useful, responsibly managed information on the discipline. The user should also be able to expect that there is such a website for each major language and each major discipline.

Sport discipline and governing bodies’ names will go live as early as possible after the end of the launch period, with successful individual applications seeing activation in late December.

Theme sites

The .sport theme websites concern specific topics of value to the community. The .sport ambassador brands take precedence as prospective underwriters of .sport theme web sites and may propose their own.

The following are examples of potential theme sites under .sport:

  • live.sport (focus on general audience with streaming content)
  • e.sport (focus esport for players and followers)
  • join.sport (focus on promoting the.sport extension itself)
  • community.sport (focus on interaction within the sport community)
  • media.sport (focus on sport publishing form a business perspective)
  • fairplay.sport (community-focused campaign)
  • clean.sport (community-focused campaign)

A given <theme>.sport website may have several ambassador brand sponsors. On a given <theme>.sport Ambassador brands have exclusivity in their respective industry sectors.

The ambassador brands also help promote the theme sites; as several ambassadors of different industry sectors join forces in this respect, there is a multiplication effect of visibility reverberating back to the ambassadors from the theme sites.

In the context of the AP Program RFP, the respondent can suggest additionals theme sites they wish to underwrite/support. Themes sites can start operations before the general availability of .sport and thus enjoy even higher visibility.

Geographic domain names in .sport

In the .sport TLD, generic names are subject to rules protecting the interest of the affected parties and the sport community at large. Local authorities will be able to apply for their respective name, subject to special rules regarding identical location names worldwide. Portfolio-based allocation of geographic names is expected by 2020. It is expected that the majority of geographic names will be allocated in large mandate portfolios and operated by publishing syndicates on accredited platforms.

Generic domain names in .sport

In the .sport TLD, generic names are subject to rules protecting the interests of the affected parties and the sport community at large. It makes sure the operators of websites with name of the pattern <generic term> apply non-discriminatory policies with respect to the parties targeted by the meaning of the generic term. This is will be achieved by portfolio-based allocation in the form of mandates for operation by publishing syndicates on accredited platforms. The portfolio-based allocation of generics will start in 2019.

Ambassador & Pioneer Program

The dotSport Ambassador & Pioneer (AP) Program is the exclusive pre-launch program commencing in April 2018. The 100 domains selected to be part of the dotSport AP program enjoy exclusive visibility until the end of 2018.  The AP Program creates a nucleus of close working relationships between the participants.

The AP Program has two groups of participants: Ambassadors and Pioneers.

Ambassadors

Ambassadors are commercial brands who wish to be strongly associated with the .sport ecosystem. They can take advantage of a unique opportunity to develop and communicate around their positioning in sport.

  • The Ambassador will be able to launch its own <brand>.sport in pole position. Ambassador <brand>.sport domains can be activated as early as April 2018, whereas other parties will only be able do operate comparable .sport domains from 2019 onward.
  • The Ambassador will be able to operate one <additional>.sport domain proposed by the Ambassador and approved by GAISF. Ambassador <additional>.sport domains may be activated early as with Ambassador <brand.sport> domains.
  • The Ambassador will be protected from the start through the protective reservation from registration of confusingly similar domain names. These defensive reservations apply to both the Ambassador’s <brand>.sport and <additional>.sport domains. They can be operated as active domains after the general availability of .sport (starting from 2019).
  • The Ambassador will have a Gold Sponsorship presence in the upcoming .sport flagship portal. The .sport flagship portal is a dedicated domain registration and name reservation resource operated exclusively for the .sport Internet extension. It will start operating in May 2018. The .sport extension will also be available through any accredited domain name registrar.
  • The Ambassador will have a prominent presence on dotSport launch events conducted by GAISF and its partners.
  • The Ambassador will be offered valuable sponsorship opportunities on dotSport theme portals launched during the AP program.

A dedicated <brand>.sport site is not intended to replace established commercial websites for most brands. However, for brands with major investments in sports sponsorship, a <brand>.sport site highlights upcoming events and serves as a showcase for the brand’s historic and longstanding relationships in sports sponsorship.

Ambassadors not only secure exclusive ability to use to their <brand>.sport domains during 2018, ahead of the activation of other brand domains in .sport, but also the opportunity to highlight their respective brands’ past, present and future commitments as a sponsor, partner or creator of sport community events.

Pioneers

Pioneers are sport stakeholders other than commercial brands who wish to develop their digital presence in the .sport ecosystem or to develop theme portals on .sport . They include sport governing bodies, sport clubs, athletes, cities/public authorities, broadcasters, publishing companies, and other entities with an organizing, practicing or publishing role in sport.

Pioneers will be able to launch one or more.sport pioneer domain(s) in pole position. The domain(s) can be proposed by the prospective Pioneer and each is subject to approval. Such domains may be of the following types:

  • <city>.sport, or other type of geographic name, for example: lausanne.sport, boston.sport
  • <athlete>.sport, for example: janedoe.sport, johndoe.sport
  • <event>.sport, including candidacies for events, for example lausanne2020.sport
  • <club>.sport, can be the acronym, short name or full name of a club
  • <discipline>.sport, in English and/or other languages, for example: gymnastics.sport (English), turnen.sport (German), гимнастика.sport (Russian), 体操.sport (Japanese)
  • <subdiscipline>.sport, in English and/or other languages, for example: decathlon.sport, motocross.sport
  • <governing-body>.sport, for example the acronym, short name of full name of a Sports Federation
  • <theme>.sport (such as e.sport, running.sport, clean.sport, live.sport, snow.sport)

Conditions apply.

AP Program Request for Proposals

The number of participants in the Ambassador & Pioneer Program is limited. In order to allocate Ambassador and Pioneer names optimally and balance the contributions of the participants, the .sport Registry is issuing a Request for Proposals (RFP) for the AP program.

The AP Program RFP is directed towards brands, advertisers, advertising agencies, publishers, and branding agencies, broadcasters/streaming-content providers, sport governing bodies, sport clubs, athletes, athletes’ representatives, cities and public authorities.

Ambassador & Pioneer Program RFP description (PDF)

Ambassador & Pioneer Program RFP online application

About .sport

The .sport Internet extension is a project of the Sport community. It is entrusted to the Global Association of International Sports Federations (GAISF) which acts as Registry Operator and represents the Sport Community as contracted party to ICANN.

The .sport extension is defined as a community-based top-level domain. See .sport Registry Agreement: https://www.icann.org/resources/agreement/sport-2017-11-16-en .

GAISF, established in 1967, is the umbrella organisation for both Olympic and non-Olympic international sports federations. GAISF includes 92 full members (international sports federations governing specific sports worldwide) and 17 associate members (organisations which conduct activities closely related to the international sports federations). GAISF’s mission is to support, promote and serve its members and the global sport community by providing services in various fields, including digital development.

The .sport extension operated by GAISF has been actively supported by international federations members and key global sports bodies, including the IOC (International Olympic Committee), UNOSDP (United Nation Office on Sport for Development and Peace) and  WADA (World Anti-Doping Association).

The .sport extension is part of a community-wide effort to build and maintain the Digital Playing Field, a set of standards, principles and resources designed to support the sport community ranging from sport practitioners, sport organizers and sport governing bodies to sport sponsors, sport advertisers and sport fans.

CORE Association (Internet Council of Registrars) is a not-for-profit association of registrars chartered to contribute to the development of the Internet domain system in the public trust. CORE Association Registry Service Provider (RSP) is a partner of GAISF for the operation of .sport.

FAQ

Q: Is there a list of sport disciplines earmarked for international sports federations?

A: Yes. It can be found on http://lists.i.sport . The disciplines list contains sport disciplines and sub-disciplines in a number of languages. These names are earmarked for the respective international sports federations. It is important to note that this is not an exhaustive list, that it is provisional and subject to updates without prior notice. (10-lexicon)

Q: Does .sport support Internationalized Domain Name (IDN) registrations?

A: Yes. However, IDN registrations are subject to enhanced validation from a technical and lexical standpoint to avoid any risk of confusion. All IDN variants of a domains name must be registered to the same party and have the same name servers. IDN tables for the following languages will be posted on https://www.iana.org/domains/idn-tables with more to follow: Latin, Arabic, Chinese, Cyrillic, Greek, Hebrew, Japanese, Korean. (20-idn)

Q: Are number domains allowed, e.g. 123456.sport?

A: Yes, number domains are allowed unless there is a risk of confusion or technical problems. Note that domains expressing years (such as 2018.sport) are blocked because they critical in the sport context. For queries in this respect it is best to write to registry. (30-syntax)

Q: What is the minimum and maximum length of registered .sport domains?

A: The minimum length of the second-level U-label is 1 character. However, during the launch, 1-character and 2-character ASCII labels are blocked for later release. The maximum length of the second-level A-label is 63 characters. (40-syntax)

Q: What registration periods and grace periods apply?

A: The registration cycle matches the standard for gTLDs. The minimum registration period is 1 year. Renewals are allowed at any time by multiples of 1 year. The maximum registration term is 10 years. The initial registration period starts at allocation. Auto-renewal takes place 45 days after expiration, that is, at the end of the Auto-Renewal Grace Period. The 5-day Add Grace Period starts at allocation. (50-reg cycle)

Q: Will every .sport domain registered or applied-for be validated by registry staff?

A: Yes. All .sport registrations are subject to pre-validation. In addition to pre-validation, a post-validation process will be in place to review existing registrations. Registrants should use the free-format “intended-use” field available in the registration request to explain their role with respect to the requested domain and how they plan to use the domain. (60-validation)

Q: Is there a list of premium domains?

A: No, there is no exhaustive list of premium domains for sport. A domain of critical importance to the sport community may be designated as critical by the registry at any time prior to allocation. A critical name may be subject to special terms with respect to eligibility, commitments required from the domain holder and fees. (70-premium domains)

Q: Is there a list of reserved domains?

A: The domain:check command can be used to ascertain if a domain is blocked or otherwise reserved. A domain may be designated as reserved at any time. The registry reserves the right to reserve additional names at any time. (80-reserved domains)

Q: Does a registrar have to fulfill special conditions to become a .sport registrar?

A: No. All ICANN-accredited registrars can sign the .sport Registry-Registrar Agreement (RRA) and be .sport registrars. Conditions match the standards requirements for gTLDs. (110-onboarding)

Q: Does the .sport registry charge any fees to accredit a registrar?

A: No. There is no accreditation fee nor technical acceptance testing. (120-onboarding)

Q: Do the categories 3 to 6 in the launch policy correspond to the RFC 8334 Launch Phase named “priority”

A: Yes. Their relative order of precedence by category (within the “priority” phase) is based on the Launch policy. The validation team will establish the category for each application. (170-phases)

Q: Are there special requirements for brands to be registered as .sport domain names?

A: Yes. The .sport eligibility and name selection rules apply to all categories. (180-eligibility)

Q: Can an individual register a .sport domain?

A: Yes. During the launch period, individuals have to be athletes in the one of the recognized sport disciplines. In all cases, the registrant must be clearly and accurately identified in the registrant contact record. (190-eligbility)

Q: What registration paradigm will be used in General Availability, i.e. after 2019-01-08?

A: All except special types of registrations will be available using the so-called pending-create paradigm. This means that the registration request remains pending while a manual review is performed by the validation team. During the time a registration is pending, the same domain cannot be requested in a new request. Based on the review, the registration is either accepted and the domain is allocated, or it is rejected with indication of the reason. Special types of registrations can have other paradigms. (230-pending-create)