Sports and other large outdoor events are finally returning but experts say they shouldn’t be an ‘unregulated free-for-all’

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A view of the fans and the stands during the first inning of the game between the Texas Rangers and the Toronto Blue Jays at Globe Life Field on April 5, 2021.

  • The Texas Rangers welcomed a nearly full stadium on Monday for their opening day.
  • But experts told Insider while large events can resume in some places, precautions should be taken.
  • Some stadiums are requiring fans to be vaccinated or test negative for COVID-19 before attending.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The Texas Rangers on Monday drew tens of thousands of fans to Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas for opening day, with photos of the game looking like relics from the days before the COVID-19 pandemic.

It was the largest crowd size at a sporting event in the US since the pandemic began, Insider’s Erin Snodgrass reported, and as states continue to open up further, more large events are likely to follow.

However, infectious disease specialists told Insider that’s not necessarily dangerous, depending on the state and as long as some precautions are taken.

“Because it’s outdoors, I may surprise you here, but I do think they can play baseball in front of fans,” Andrew Noymer, an infectious disease specialist at the University of California Irvine, told Insider.

Read more: Teachers unions are gaslighting parents and resisting science to keep schools closed

While Noymer said he wouldn’t personally go to a Rangers game right now even if he were a fan, he thinks some outdoor events can go on in states where transmission is low and virus variants are not of immediately pressing concern.

In Michigan, for instance, where the surge in coronavirus cases is currently the worst in the nation, he would not recommend such events. The state is reckoning with the more transmissible and more deadly B.1.1.7 variant, which has now been documented in Michigan more than any other state.

And Michigan isn’t the only state facing a surge, as about half of US states are seeing a rise in their daily case numbers.

rangers baseball game
The stadium was nearly at capacity during the game between the Texas Rangers and the Toronto Blue Jays at Globe Life Field on April 5, 2021.

But for states where the epidemiological situation is relatively good, like Texas or California, allowing large outdoor gatherings with precautions could do more good than harm.

“We may be in a worse spot later in the summer,” Noymer said, adding that even in places where the situation looks good now, that could change quickly. “We should save the limited tolerance that’s left for stay-at-home type orders for when it’s really necessary.”

Despite the good situation in Texas, Noymer said precautions should still be taken at large events. He said they should still be at 50% capacity, at most, but noted that when people cannot be spaced apart they should be wearing masks.

The Rangers game Monday was nearly at capacity, with 38,238 fans in attendance in a stadium that seats 40,300. While Gov. Greg Abbott lifted the state’s mask mandate last month against the recommendations of experts, Major League Baseball does require fans to wear masks. But photos of the game showed masks worn sparsely.

Noymer also said sporting events are better suited to go on with precautions than others, like a music festival, for instance, adding: “You could do Coachella at 30% capacity and it would still just form a blob of humanity.”

Dr. Peter Chin-Hong, an infectious disease specialist at the University of California San Francisco, agreed that for these large events to occur, precautions should be taken.

“What you don’t want is an unregulated free-for-all,” Chin-Hong told Insider. “You still can’t party like it’s 2019.”

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Fans walk to their seats during batting practice before the Texas Rangers take on the Toronto Blue Jays at Globe Life Field on April 5, 2021 in Arlington, Texas.

He said even in places that appear to be doing well, the situation is not yet stable and it’s not yet clear when it will be. As for large outdoor gatherings, he said a great way to reduce risk is a combination of vaccinations and testing for attendees.

The San Francisco Giants, for instance, are requiring fans older than 12 years old to provide proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test result in order to enter the stadium. And that’s in addition to a 22% capacity restriction. Instead of relying on controversial vaccine passports only, the model also mitigates the heightened risk involved with people who choose not to get the vaccine.

Chin-Hong said these precautions are smart even in a state that feels safe right now, like California, because those places are not yet risk-free and that they should be implemented alongside masks and spacing.

Large events could be an even more dangerous situation now than they would have been a year ago due to the variants, especially for young people who are not yet vaccinated but are attending these gatherings,

“It’s not like people are just getting COVID. They’re getting serious COVID,” he said, adding that Michigan has seen a significant increase in the number of coronavirus hospitalizations among people in their 20s and 30s.

Chin-Hong emphasized that the pandemic is dynamic and could change quickly, making it wiser to gradually lift restrictions, rather than all at once.

“I’m always humbled by this virus,” he said. “It’s better to be safer and then pull back rather than just assume it can be a free-for-all again.”

Have a news tip? Contact this reporter at kvlamis@insider.com.

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How to watch UFC Fight Night: Vettori vs. Holland this Saturday on ESPN+

If you buy through our links, we may earn money from affiliate partners. Learn more.

Marvin Vettori Kevin Holland UFC Fight Night
Marvin Vettori and Kevin Holland face off at the weigh-in for their UFC Fight Night main event.

  • UFC Fight Night: Vettori vs. Holland will be broadcast live on ESPN+ and ABC on April 10.
  • The early prelims start at 11:30 a.m. ET, and the main card is scheduled to begin at 3 p.m. ET.
  • Every UFC Fight Night is included with ESPN+, which costs $6 a month or $60 per year.

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This Saturday’s UFC Fight Night will feature middleweight fighters Marvin Vettori and Kevin Holland in the main event, just three weeks after Holland’s loss at the last UFC Fight Night event.

Vettori was originally scheduled to fight Darren Till, who withdrew from the fight with a broken collarbone. Replacing Till gives Holland an opportunity for redemption after he suffered a decision loss to Derek Brunson in March. The 21-day gap between that loss and this weekend’s UFC Fight Night will tie a record for the shortest turnaround time between main event matches, according to ESPN.

The fight will be broadcast from the UFC Apex in Las Vegas on April 10, starting at 11:30 a.m. ET. All of UFC Fight Night will stream on ESPN+ as part of a subscription for $6 a month or $60 a year. You can also watch the prelims live on ESPN and the main event on ABC.

UFC Fight Night: Vettori vs. Holland will be held without fans in attendance due to the coronavirus pandemic. UFC has consistently implemented safety precautions for fighters and staff during the pandemic, including advanced medical screenings, regular testing, temperature checks, and social distancing guidelines. UFC President Dana White announced that UFC 261 will be held with a full crowd in Jacksonville, Florida, on April 24.

Here’s the match schedule for UFC Fight Night: Vettori vs. Holland

espn+

Early prelims – 11:30 a.m. ET, 8:30 a.m. PT on ESPN+

  • Impa Kasanganay versus Sasha Palatnikov [Welterweight]

Prelims – 12 p.m. ET, 9 a.m. PT on ESPN and ESPN+

  • Jim Miller versus Joe Solecki [Lightweight]
  • Scott Holtzman versus Mateusz Gamrot [Lightweight]
  • John Makdessi versus Ignacio Bahamondes [Lightweight]
  • Da-un Jung versus William Knight [Light Heavyweight]
  • Luis Saldana versus Jordan Griffin [Featherweight]
  • Hunter Azure versus Jack Shore [Bantamweight]
  • Yorgan De Castro versus Jarjis Danho [Heavyweight]

Main card – 3 p.m. ET, 12 p.m. PT on ABC and ESPN+

  • Mike Perry versus Daniel Rodriguez [Welterweight]
  • Nina Nunes versus Mackenzie Dern [Women’s Strawweight]
  • Sam Alvey versus Julian Marquez [Middleweight]
  • Arnold Allen versus Sodiq Yusuff [Featherweight]
  • Marvin Vettori versus Kevin Holland [Middleweight]

How to watch UFC Fight Night matches

UFC Fight Night: Vettori vs. Holland is separated into three parts: the early prelims, prelims, and the main card. The entire event will be streamed live on ESPN+ starting with the early prelims at 11:30 a.m. ET. The prelims will then air at 12 p.m. ET on ESPN+ and ESPN, while the main card will be broadcast on ABC and ESPN+ starting at 3 p.m. ET.

ESPN+ subscribers can watch every UFC Fight Night event live and also gain access to a huge catalog of classic UFC matches and recent highlights. ESPN+ costs $6 a month or $60 for a full year, and it’s available as an app on most mobile and streaming devices. You can also bundle ESPN+ with Disney Plus and Hulu for $14 a month.

Here’s a full breakdown of additional features and details for ESPN+.

Portions of some UFC Fight Night events, like Vettori vs. Holland, are also broadcast on cable networks like ABC and ESPN. These channels are available through several live TV streaming services, including Hulu + Live TV, AT&T TV, and Youtube TV. If you have cable, you can stream ABC live online too.

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How to watch WrestleMania 37 on Peacock: Drew McIntyre goes up against Bobby Lashley in the WWE Championship

If you buy through our links, we may earn money from affiliate partners. Learn more.

roman reigns
Roman Reigns

    • WrestleMania 37 will feature WWE stars like Bobby Lashley, Roman Reigns, and Sasha Banks.
    • The event will stream exclusively on Peacock on April 10 and 11.
    • You can get four months of Peacock Premium right now for $10, but the deal expires April 9.

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WrestleMania 37 is set to feature some of the biggest storylines and matches from the WWE. The event will take place in front of fans at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida, on April 10 and 11. This will be the first time in-person fans have been allowed to attend a WWE match in over a year due to the pandemic.

Hulk Hogan and Titus O’Neil are scheduled to host, and WrestleMania 37 will stream exclusively on NBCUniversal’s streaming service Peacock. The Peacock platform is now home to all WWE Network content, and plans start at $5 a month.

How to watch WrestleMania 37

WrestleMania 37 will take place on April 10 and 11, and you can stream the event exclusively on Peacock. The show will also be available via pay-per-view (PPV) through select cable and satellite services. Each night kicks off with a pre-show at 7 p.m. ET, followed by the main event at 8 p.m. ET.

To stream WrestleMania 37, you’ll need a Peacock Premium or Premium Plus plan. Peacock Premium is ad-supported and costs $5 a month, while Peacock Premium Plus offers ad-free streaming for $10 a month.

Right now, you can get 50% off the monthly price of Peacock Premium if you sign up for four months upfront. This brings the price down to just $10 for your first four months. The deal is set to expire on April 9.

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You can watch WrestleMania 37 on Peacock through web browsers, Android devices, iOS devices, Vizio smart TVs, LG smart TVs, Chromecast, Roku, Apple TV, Xbox devices, and PlayStation devices.

For detailed impressions, check our our full Peacock review and our Peacock guide.

WrestleMania 37 match card for April 10

Sasha Banks and Charlotte Flair in the WWE

WWE Championship

  • Drew McIntyre versus Bobby Lashley (champion)

SmackDown Women’s Championship

  • Bianca Belair versus Sasha Banks (champion)

Raw Tag Team Championship

  • AJ Styles and Omos versus The New Day (champions)

Steel Cage Match

  • Shane McMahon versus Braun Strowman

Tag Team Turmoil

  • Lana and Naomi versus Dana Brooke and Mandy Rose versus Tamina and Natalya versus The Riott Squad

Other matches

  • Damian Priest and Bad Bunny versus The Miz and John Morrison
  • Seth Rollins versus Cesaro

WrestleMania 37 match card for April 11

roman reigns smackdown
Roman Reigns at WWE “SmackDown” in 2015.

Triple Threat for Universal Championship

  • Edge versus Daniel Bryan versus Roman Reigns (champion)

Raw Women’s Championship

  • Rhea Ripley versus Asuka (champion)

Intercontinental Championship

  • Apollo Crews versus Big E (champion)

United States Championship

  • Sheamus versus Matt Riddle (champion)

Women’s Tag Team Championship

  • Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler versus the winner of Tag Team Turmoil

Other matches

  • Sami Zayn versus Kevin Owens
  • Randy Orton versus “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt

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The 7 best compression socks for runners, seniors, and anyone looking to improve circulation

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

  • Compression socks help speed muscle recovery and potentially improve athletic performance.
  • The garments also improve blood flow for venous or lymphatic issues for pregnant women or the elderly.
  • Our top pick, CEP’s Progressive+ Compression Socks, are incredibly comfortable and won’t sag through the day.

Compression socks are one of those garments that seem gimmicky, but science actually backs up their biggest claimed benefit: Improving your circulation.

“Compression socks help the vascular system move blood and other fluids, which can help manage swelling and inflammation,” Jenelle Deatherage, a physical therapist at the UW Health Sports Rehabilitation Clinic, told Insider.

At its foundation, the garment works by squeezing the walls of the veins and leg tissues to help blood work its way against gravity to the heart. The compression also helps the flow of lymph fluid, which helps remove cellular waste and circulates bacteria-fighting white blood cells throughout your body.

Deatherage added that several categories of people may benefit from wearing compression socks, including athletes who could look to enhance their workouts. This is especially true for runners.

“There’s not great research on performance, which is what a lot of patients look for, but the good news is that there is some research that shows [compression socks] might help with muscle fatigue and reduce soreness if you wear them during a workout,” she explained.

Because of those inherent benefits, compression socks have become quite popular in recent years – and that popularity has brought with it a surplus of options. To help narrow down what’s available, we tested dozens of styles across brands like Swiftwick, CEP, and Sockwell. Our guide features socks that provide great comfort, are relatively durable, and are fit to wear in a variety of situations.

At the end of this guide, we’ve also included some insight into who Detherage says may benefit most from compression socks, tips on how to shop for them, and the best methods for how to use and wear them.

Here are the best compression socks:

The best overall

compression socks

Whether you are a runner or just someone who wants to relieve lower leg ailments, the CEP Progressive+ Compression Run Socks 2.0 provides all-day comfort.

Pros: Incredibly comfortable, thinner, won’t sag over the course of the day

Cons: Expensive, sizing can be tricky so be sure to measure before ordering

The CEP Progressive+ Compression Run Socks 2.0 (available in men’s and women’s sizes) stand out from the other socks on our list due in large part to the fact they offer unparalleled comfort — and should be considered by anyone, despite a steep price tag. 

The brand’s parent company, Medi, has been producing medical compression products for over 70 years. The founder of CEP, who is an Ironman competitor, leveraged Medi’s technical knowledge and designs for athletes.

Made of polyamide and nylon (60%), elastane (25%), and polypropylene (15%), CEP’s socks offer precise 20-30mmHg graduated and consistent compression so they won’t sag as the day goes on.

The Progressive+ 2.0 Socks also feature a halo top band that lands right below the knee. This keeps your socks in place and the front ribbing allows air to flow through to cool your skin’s surface. Per CEP’s website, the company offers a six-month guarantee that covers wearing the socks up to 150 times before the compression lessens. 

These socks are recommended for anyone who suffers from shin splints, Achilles issues, or plantar fasciitis. They’re also great for runners looking to rehab their leg after a long run or workout. 

The best on a budget

compression socks

The SB Sox Lite Compression Socks are the least expensive pair in our guide, yet they stay up and provide reliable comfort.

Pros: Inexpensive, relatively durable, snug fit

Cons: Available in just two sizes

Though the SB Sox Lite Compression Socks are about one-fifth the price of our top pick, they rival it in performance. These socks have a graduated compression rating of 15-20mmHg, which is slightly less than the CEP socks but still supplies sufficient compression for blood circulation.

The socks are made of breathable and lightweight spandex and nylon, which helps to wick away sweat and moisture from your feet. SB Sox come in 11 different colors and two sizes: S/M and L/XL.

Though they seem thinner and lighter than other picks on this list, SB Sox socks hold up well through numerous wears and washes. Plus, they provide a snug fit that doesn’t feel too constricting. More sizing options would be welcome, though.

The best for circulation

sockwell

If you experience circulation problems due to chronic health issues, the Sockwell Elevation Graduated Compression Socks may be your best bet for achieving leg comfort.

Pros: Lightweight, maintain their snugness all day long

Cons: The top of the sock might warp over time, only comes in two sizes

For people with venous or lymphatic issues in their legs, compression therapy can help move blood through the veins and tissue better, which in turn promotes healing and prevents ulcers and other issues. Compression stockings are one of the easier options to put on and less cumbersome than medical bandages, says a 2014 study in CMAJ.

The Sockwell Elevation Graduated Compression Socks (available in men’s and women’s sizes) are made in the United States using bamboo rayon (31%), merino wool (31%), stretch nylon (30%), and spandex (8%). This combination helps with moisture management, thermoregulation, and odor control.

What’s more, these are one of the firmer pairs from Sockwell offering compression of 20-30mmHg. A 2019 study analysis in BMC Geriatrics found elderly folks with chronic blood flow issues (venous insufficiency) and swollen legs who wore class 2 compression stockings (pressure between 20 and 30 mmHg) regularly were less likely to have leg ulcers come back compared to wearing lower compression class 1 stockings (pressure below 20 mmHg).

These Sockwell socks have four zones of graduated compression beginning at the ankles and moving up. Since the compression starts at the ankles, the toes remain comfortable. There are four colors for men to choose from and eight in the women’s style.

The best for post-workout

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After running countless miles, slipping on a pair of Zensah Tech+ Compression Socks can decrease soreness and help your muscles recover.

Pros: Great for easing muscle soreness, cushioned bottom, durable, 4 sizes, 14 colors

Cons: Might not be tight enough for everyone’s needs, long drying time

The Zensah Tech+ Compression Socks come in four sizes, which is helpful for ensuring you get the right fit — the appropriate sock size gives you the appropriate level of pressure. Constructed of 82% polyamide and 18% elastane, these socks feature ultra-zone ribbing which targets ankle and arch stabilization, which is ideal for runners with weaknesses in these areas.

The 200 needle count construction is designed to make the socks denser, durable, and reduce stretching over time. They’re sweat-wicking, too, but don’t tend to dry out very quicky, so are best worn in cooler weather. Zensah offers the socks in 14 colors, including Black, Heather Grey, and Neon Pink. 

The best for runners

Aspire Socks

Swiftwick’s Aspire Twelve help relieve muscle soreness and prevent or relieve shin splints — something any runner can appreciate.

Pros: Offers comfortable compression for runners, promotes blood flow, helps relieve shin splints, and wicks away moisture

Cons: Can be difficult to put on

Swiftwick’s compression socks run the gamut of everything from knee-high versions for those looking for full leg relief to no-show options for golfers. For runners, its Aspire Twelve socks are an excellent option to help relieve muscle soreness, prevent or care for shin splints, and provide stability and comfort. 

Comprised of a blend of 43% nylon, 11% spandex, and 46% olefin, the Aspire Twelves don’t just offer the benefits of compression but also help wick away moisture to keep your feet dry. They work well to keep on even after your run as you’ll continue to reap the benefits of compression as you recover. 

The best for standing all-day

compression socks

If your job requires you to be on your feet for most of the day, give your lower legs a break with Sockwell’s Circulator Graduated Compression Socks.

Pros: Good for reducing foot and ankle swelling, incredibly comfortable, inexpensive

Cons: Concerns about durability, socks may only come up to mid-calf in taller people

The Sockwell Circulator Graduated Compression Socks have a lot of the same features as our pick for best circulation, the Sockwell Elevation socks. They both have four zones of graduated compression from the ankle on up, which keeps the toes feeling comfortable, and each is made of a combination of spandex, bamboo rayon, stretch nylon, and merino wool.

But the main differences are that the Circulator socks have moderate compression (15-20mmHg) and cost a bit less ($30 per pair).

The Circulator socks only come in two sizes. but there are nine colors to choose from, including Black Stripe, Charcoal, Black Solid, and Port. Regardless of the size, the socks aren’t very long, so they’re best used for people with shorter builds. 

The best patterned

Vim Vigr socks

Vim & Vigr combines form and function with its fashion-forward compression socks that you’ll just love to be seen in.

Pros: Stylish, comfortable, available for both men and women

Cons: Can get expensive

First and foremost, Vim & Vigr compression socks work. After all, no amount of aesthetic creativity would be able to make up for compression socks that don’t do much by way of compressing. Luckily, that’s not the case with these.

I’m particularly fond of Vim & Vigr’s medical-grade compression level, which are designed with a Gradient Knitting Technology to help promote circulation in your calves. The socks feature a structured leg but a flexible toe and heel so that you’re supported where you need it but still able to move. These socks offer moderate to firm compression, with somewhere between 20 and 30 mmHg depending on the style.

Regardless of your selection, however, you’ll find that Vim & Vigr helps to prevent swelling in your legs, and alleviates pain and achiness. I found that these socks were just as helpful during runs as they were during HIIT workouts — especially as the weather gets colder and circulation becomes increasingly important.

What sets Vim & Vigr apart are its fun, unique designs. Not only is there a wide range of colors to choose from but the brand also offers several interesting patterns. I’m a fan of the color block options, as well as a Rugby Stripe pattern for men.

Vim & Vigr offers wide calf versions of all their socks for both men and women, so you don’t have to be uncomfortable even when donning a tight pair of socks. If you don’t need medical-grade compression, you can always opt for the brand’s moisture-wicking nylon material, or the remarkably warm merino wool composition. You could also check out Vim & Vigr sleeves, which compress your calves without encasing your feet.

Who should wear compression socks?

Anyone can wear compression socks but they do figure to benefit some groups more than others. This predominantly includes athletes, pregnant women, and elderly people, though anyone who sits or stands for long periods of time at work should consider them as well.

Deatherage suggested that if you work out in the morning before sitting at a desk or standing all day, where your calves and ankles stay at the bottom of the gravity chain, it’s smart to wear compression socks post-workout. This helps with swelling and gets blood back to the heart.

Conversely, if you sit all day and prefer to work out at night, wearing compression socks while exercising after work may allow for less fatigue in the lower legs and can help enhance circulation.

Athletes

Concerning the exact impact of compression socks on athletes, Deatherage told Insider that their effectiveness is still somewhat undecided. There is some research that confirms that wearing compression garments helps improve running endurance or cycling sprints, while others say it doesn’t change a thing.

A recently-published analysis in the Open Access Journal of Sports Medicine looked at 21 studies and found that a small number do show that wearing compression socks during exercise improved performance. Mostly, though, the studies showed wearing the special socks during a grueling workout helped fit folks feel like their leg muscles were firing better, fatiguing less, and, after the workout, less sore.

Even if it’s just a placebo effect, those training hard, particularly for long endurance events like a marathon, wearing compression socks during workouts and after for recovery may help make training easier.

“When looking at the cost-benefit ratio and considering what research is out there, it’s not a bad idea,” Deatherage said. “And it’s an easy thing to do.”

Pregnant women

Besides runners, Deatherage says pregnant women may benefit from compression socks, as they’re more prone to swelling. Venous issues are also particularly high for pregnant women as they have a larger volume of blood pumping through their bodies. 

Some 40% of pregnant women develop varicose veins, while the risk for venous thromboembolism (VTE) is four- to five-fold higher for moms-to-be compared to non-pregnant women. Wearing compression socks or stockings during pregnancy can potentially help reduce swelling and discomfort, improve circulation, and minimize varicose veins.

Seniors

Elderly people with deep vein thrombosis, those who just had surgery on their legs, or anyone trying to minimize varicose veins or blood clot concerns, might also benefit from compression socks. The catch is here is that these more serious vascular issues, including varicose veins, would benefit more from medical grade compression socks, Deatherage added, which requires a doctor prescription and are often more expensive.

How to shop for compression socks

If you’re simply looking for workout recovery or want relief from more minor issues of swelling or soreness, say on long flights or during long work shifts on your feet (like nurses), you may see advantages from more moderate compression socks, Deatherage said. This includes socks with ratings of about 10-20mmHg, which stands for millimeters of mercury (a measurement of pressure).

When shopping around for compression socks, Deatherage said that besides a sock’s mmHg rating, the most important thing to look for is comfort, saying that “compression socks only work if you wear them.”

Look for a pair in which the material feels comfortable against your skin, and a set that feels snug but not too tight — you don’t want to restrict your movement. If you can find a pair that offers customization for your size, that’s even better.

Compression sock ratings

As noted above, the compression in the stockings is measured in mm Hg. Specifically, compression socks are rated based on blood pressure. The majority of compression socks either have a moderate pressure rating of 10 to 20 mmHg or a firm rating of 20 to 30 mmHg.

None of the socks we reviewed have a rating above 30 mm Hg, but there are specialty shops where you can find these if needed. Graduated compression socks, the most common type, are tighter near the ankle than at the calf to avoid cutting off circulation.

Fabrics used

Most compression socks are made from a blend of synthetic fabrics that provide a snug and stretchy fit. In the reviews that follow, we let you know what materials are used in the construction of the socks but unless you have an issue with a specific material, you should let performance be your main guide in choosing the best compression socks.

How best to use compression socks

There is a bit of a paradox associated with wearing compression socks. You may have purchased them to deal with leg swelling. Yet, this same swelling makes it hard for you to put them on. So, what can you do? There are countless resources on the web to help you out, plus we’ve compiled a few tips here, as well: 

  • Apply talcum powder or cornstarch to your feet before putting your socks on.
  • Wear dishwashing gloves to get a better grip.
  • Roll the socks before you put them on so you can just roll them up your legs.
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Tom Brady is launching a new company called ‘Autograph’ that will sell unique digital memorabilia from sports icons and celebrities

tom brady 2020
  • Tom Brady is launching a company called “Autograph.”
  • The site will sell digital memorabilia from sports icons and celebrities like Brady.
  • The NFT market has been highly profitable for sports through platforms like NBA Top Shot.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

NFL star Tom Brady is launching a company for digital collectibles called “Autograph.”

The platform will sell crypto memorabilia from sports icons and celebrities like Brady, according to the company’s site.

“Autograph will bring together some of the world’s most iconic names and brands with best in class digital artists to ideate, create and launch NFTs and ground-breaking experiences to a community of fans and collectors,” co-founder and CEO of Autograph Dillon Rosenblatt told CNN.

Brady and millionaire entrepreneur Richard Rosenblatt will act as co-chairs of the company. Autograph boasts a team with several big business names, including Lionsgate CEO Jon Filthier and Live Nation Entertainment CEO Michael Rapino, as well as three of the founders of DraftKings.

There has been a boom in interest in digital collectible in recent months. Items that function as non-fungible tokens or NFTs have generated millions of dollars in sales. In March, a $70 million digital art sale made history.

Since then, artists and celebrities from rapper Snoop Dogg to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey have gotten in on the action.

Read more: What you need to know about NFTs, the collectible digital tokens that are selling for millions online

The items operate as unique digital assets. When someone buys an NFT they gain the rights to the unique token on the blockchain that acts as a digital certificate of authenticity. The token can gain value due to its relation to its creator or content. For example, tokens that represent memes like the Nyan Cat can gain in value as they increase in popularity online, though the NFT buyer is not be able to control the image’s distribution.

The NFT market has been especially profitable for sports. The site NBA Top Shot, which allows people to buy NBA sports clips, recently received a $2 billion valuation from NFT tracking site DappRadar. Top NBA clips, including a LeBron James dunk moment, have sold for over $200,000 on the platform.

As an NFL legend, Brady NFTs would likely see similar high sales. Yesterday a Brady rookie card sold for about $2.3 million – smashing the record for the most expensive football trading card sale, according to Bleacher Report.

Brady himself is no stranger to selling his personal brand. In February, Brady merchandise sales set records as he became the best-selling NFL player ever, according to Reuters.

Autograph isn’t Brady’s first company. In 2013, the football star launched TB12, a sports performance and nutrition company.

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The Masters has strict rules not seen anywhere else in sports. Here are the things that can get you thrown out or even arrested.

Masters Rules official
The Masters is an old school tournament, barring patrons from even bringing their phones onto the course at Augusta National.

  • This weekend the best golfers in the world will meet at Augusta National to compete in the Masters.
  • Augusta National prides itself in tradition and carries some strict rules for patrons in attendance.
  • Check out the items that will get you stopped by security before you even take the course.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.
Phones

Golf cell phones

Fans looking to post Instagram selfies with their favorite golfers at the Masters will have to find another way to share their content, as Augusta National forbids any phones. While there are plenty of signs to help patrons find their way around the course, meeting up with friends if you get separated could prove difficult without communication. For fans who need to reach someone off the course, payphones are available.

Bulky bags and backpacks

golf bags

Not allowing big bags has become a somewhat standard practice at many sporting events of late, but still, taking in hours and hours of golf and walking the course without a sizable pack could prove frustrating for some.

Beepers or other electronic devices

golf beeper

Proving how old school the Masters is, the tournament still has rules on the books regarding the use of beepers. So yeah, doctors better leave their pagers at home, as most others have for the past 15 years.

Cameras

golf cameras

Cameras are allowed on the course at Augusta National during the practice rounds but not once the tournament starts on Thursday. With so many fantastic views and sites to capture at Augusta National, it makes sense that fans looking to take home some memories on film would get to the tournament a day early to take advantage.

Weapons of any kind (regardless of permit)

golf gun

While apparently there was a time, as the above picture shows, that bringing guns on golf courses was a thing that happened, Augusta National has a strict policy against weapons of any kind. Regardless of your permit, you won’t be allowed onto the course armed.

Alcoholic beverages

masters beers

It should also come as no surprise that Augusta National would prefer fans don’t bring alcohol onto their pristine course. Thankfully, beer is reasonably priced, so golf fans can still enjoy a brew while taking in the action.

Beverage containers and coolers

masters beers 2

Similarly, the Masters does not want patrons walking the grounds with coolers filled with drinks. Again, there’s plenty of reasonably priced food and beverages available, so planning a Masters tailgate may be unnecessary.

Flags, banners, and signs

Golf sign

While fans at some golf tournaments have been encouraged to be rowdier of late, the Masters is as traditional as they come, with flags and signs banned.

Folding armchairs, rigid type chairs, or stools

masters chairs

While Augusta National permits chairs, which are necessary for anyone hoping to watch up close at one of the greens for the majority of the day, it’s vital that patrons have the right type of seat. “If you bring a chair, make sure it’s a collapsible one without armrests,” is the official line, so the safest way to get a seat might merely be to buy one from the Pro Shop at Augusta to ensure it passes all inspections.

Ladders, periscopes, and selfie sticks

golf selfie stick

The people who run the Masters want to make sure everyone has a fair shot at the views offered at Augusta National, so selfie sticks and ladders are out of the question. If you want to be able to see a part of the golf course without jumping over the crowds, it’s probably best to arrive early.

Radios, TVs, and tape recorders

masters payphones

It’s probably for the best that any and all electronics of yours are left at home if you’re planning on attending the Masters. If you need to keep up with something happening off the course, your best bet will be to make use of the phone bank.

Strollers

golf stroller

While there is no age restriction on the course, it’s best to use your head when planning on bringing children along to the Masters. Strollers are not allowed, meaning that should you bring a young child, you’ll be holding them for a large amount of the day.

The good news is that children aged 8-16 can attend for free if they are with somebody with a patron badge. They do not have to be related.

Read more: How to get tickets to the Masters, and how much it costs to get into one of the most exclusive sporting events in the world

Walkie-talkies

golf walkie talkie

While you’ll see rules officials walking the course with walkie-talkies, fans watching from the sidelines are forbidden from having them, just in case you thought you had found a workaround on the course’s phone ban.

Souvenirs not purchased in the official Augusta National shop

augusta national sand

This may be obvious, but don’t even think about taking something from the course, even a cup of sand.

In 2012, a patron decided to collect some sand in a beer cup as a souvenir. He was arrested and later recounted how the incident cost him approximately $20,000 and left him depressed.

Read more: A man who was arrested for taking sand from the Masters recounted how it cost him $20,000 and left him ‘seriously depressed’

Read the original article on Business Insider

The Masters is one of the quirkiest events in sports with rules and traditions not seen anywhere else

The Masters
  • The Masters is one of the best sports events in the world.
  • Some of what makes the Masters so great is the quirky traditions found only at Augusta National.
  • From cheap food to strict rules and a bizarre lack of animals, it is a tradition unlike any other.
  • See more stories on Insider.
Food prices are ridiculously low.

Masters food

Read more: Food at the Masters is so cheap, you could order one of everything, and it would only cost $56.50

Tipping is banned.

augusta concession stand

Source: NYT

Cell phones are prohibited at all times and cameras are not permitted during the tournament.

Rickie Fowler at the Masters

Read more: The Masters has strict rules not seen anywhere else in sports. Here are the things that can get you thrown out or even arrested.

It’s one of the only places in the U.S. where there are long lines for payphones.

augusta national payphones

There’s a huge fence around the course to keep out animals. There has been one deer sighting in the last 65 years and visitors often talk of never seeing a single squirrel.

augusta national driveway

Source: NYT

Birds are also mysteriously rarely seen at Augusta National. Bird sounds are heard during the television broadcasts, but there is a rumor that those sounds are artificial.

The Masters

“Also, there are no birds, squirrels, insects or any other living creature indigenous to planet earth at the Masters. Nowhere on the property. Well, okay, there must be some somewhere. But the Post’s Dave Sheinin and I made a multi-day quest for a single bird sighting. So far, none. Those bird calls that you sometimes hear on the Masters broadcast? The source remains undiscovered.” — Thomas Boswell of the Washington Post.

The lakes are also reportedly artificially enhanced to look immaculate on TV. Golf Digest tested the water on one hole in 1996 and found food dye.

The Masters

Source: Golf Digest

But like many golf courses, there is good fishing at Augusta National. The players, though, don’t like to talk about it because it is forbidden.

The Masters

In 2011, Monte Burke of Forbes interviewed golfers about the best fishing spots on the PGA Tour. When Augusta was brought up, he described their responses as “squeamish” and they only admitted to hearing there were some good spots.

A former caddie was willing to tell Burke that the best spots are the creek in front of the 12th hole (“full of bream”; seen above) and the pond at the 16th hole (“brimming with bass”).

Only 4 minutes of commercials per hour are allowed during the broadcast.

cbs masters

Source: ESPN

TV commentators are not allowed to refer to fans as “fans” or “spectators.” They are to be called “patrons.” In fact, weekly passes to the Masters are called “patron badges.”

Masters patrons with badges on their hats

The rough is also to be referred to as the “second cut.”

matt kuchar masters

Source: The Age

The Masters banned CBS broadcaster Gary McCord in 1995 for saying, “They don’t cut the greens here at Augusta, they use bikini wax.”

gary mccord

Source: SI

Players had to use local caddies provided by Augusta until 1983. Players still must use local caddies if they play at Augusta outside of Masters week.

augusta caddie 1984

Source: ESPN

Players are allowed to use their own caddies now, but they have to wear the Augusta uniform – green hat, white jumpsuit.

Russell Henley

Fans … oops, we mean patrons … patrons aren’t allowed to wear their hats backwards.

augusta masters hats

Source: NYT

Patrons can bring collapsible chairs to sit on, but those chairs are not allowed to have armrests.

Masters fan

Source: Augusta.com

Running is not allowed, unless you are a player.

The Masters

Grounds crew members used to wear hard hats.

augusta assistants hard hats

The course used cows as lawnmowers in the 1940s.

augusta national fairway
A close-up picture of the fairways at Augusta.

Augusta is its own universe with a tenuous connection to the outside world (see: all the ridiculous anecdotes in this slideshow).

But WWII affected Augusta just like it did the rest of the country. During the war, Augusta didn’t have the manpower to maintain the course, so they set 200 cattle loose on the grounds in hopes that they would “trim” the grass by eating it.

There is an odd myth that the grounds crew at Augusta packs the azalea plants with ice if spring comes early. The idea is that this will keep the plants from flowering too soon before the tournament.

Jordan Spieth at the Masters

Read more: This year’s Masters may help disprove a bizarre conspiracy theory about the tournament and its flowers

There is a house located in the middle of the Augusta National parking lot because the owners refuse to sell it. The family has reportedly turned down “millions.”

Augusta House Skitch

Read more: A family keeps turning down millions for their house next to the Masters golf course

You can’t apply to become a member at Augusta and nobody outside of Augusta knows how many members there are.

condoleezza rice augusta talking

It’s nearly impossible to become a member at Augusta.

You have to be be nominated by a current Augusta member, and new initiations generally aren’t accepted unless someone quits or dies. The total membership hovers around 300.

Source: Augusta.com

Augusta is closed in the summer to keep the course in pristine shape.

augusta scoreboard

Even the press conference podium is immaculate.

tiger woods podium

Golfers must return their green jacket to Augusta National one year after winning the Masters. After that, their jacket can only be worn when they are at Augusta National.

Sergio Garcia

Also, if a player wins more than one Masters, he does not receive a second green jacket unless his size changes considerably.

Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods

Read more: Sergio Garcia does not get to keep his green jacket for winning the Masters, but he does get a replica trophy

There is no set field size for the Masters. Therefore, past winners who get a lifetime invitation to competing in the Masters are not taking spots from younger, more deserving players.

Bernhard Langer

Read more: How to qualify for the Masters, the world’s most prestigious golf tournament

Players are given brand new Mercedes for use during the week.

Mercedes at the Masters

Golf cart drivers who are hired to drive the players around Augusta National also pick up the golfers at the airport in the Mercedes they will be using. The cars also have a number in the back window so that employees can always identify the players by which car they are in.

Read more: What it’s like to drive Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, and other pro golfers around at the Masters, according to one woman who did it

Tickets are dirt cheap; only $375 for a patron badge that grants you access to the entire week. But getting one is a lot like Green Bay Packers season tickets. There is a waiting list and it has been closed since 2000. A limited number of single-day tickets are sold via lottery each year. Those are $115 for the tournament rounds and $75 for practice rounds.

Masters Patron Badges

Read more: How to get tickets to the Masters, one of the most exclusive sporting events in the world

You can go to jail for selling tickets.

GettyImages 1962698 (1)

Twenty-four people were arrested outside Augusta in 2012 for trying to scalp tickets.

The course is insane about who it lets into the tournament and it’s illegal to sell tickets within 2,700 feet of the gates.

You can also go to jail for trying to take sand home as a souvenir.

augusta national sand

In 2012, Clayton Baker made headlines when he made a quick run to a bunker to get some sand to take home. He was quickly arrested and thrown in jail. The charges were ultimately dropped, but he says the incident cost him $20,000 and led to depression because of how he was treated. 

Read more: A man who was arrested for taking sand from the Masters recounted how it cost him $20,000 and left him ‘seriously depressed’

Meanwhile, those bunkers at Augusta are filled with mining waste.

Jordan Spieth

You know those pristine white bunkers?

They’re actually composed of waste product from the mining of aluminum, according to Golf.com

Basically, a company that mines feldspar (rocks) for aluminum has a process that produces waste in the form of really bright, pure quartz — that’s what Augusta uses.

You can only ask for autographs in one part of the course.

Jordan Spieth at the Masters

Fans always line the ropes at big tournaments in hopes of getting a signature. But this is tougher to do at Augusta.

You can only try and solicit an autograph on the Washington Road side of the clubhouse, near the practice facilities.

The old media center was enormous.

Masters old media center

Augusta opened a new media center in 2017 and it is gorgeous.

Masters Media Center

The new pro shop is unlike any other in sports. It is the only place to buy Masters gear, and they offer 125 different styles of caps.

Masters pro shop hallway

Read more: The Masters’ new pro shop at Augusta National will make any golf fan drool

Now check out what the biggest stars at the Masters used to look like.

Rory McIlroy

Photos show what golf’s biggest stars looked like when their careers started

Read the original article on Business Insider

How to watch the Masters tournament when the golf competition begins on April 8

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Dustin Johnson, Tiger Woods
  • The Masters is one of professional golf’s four major tournaments.
  • You can watch all the action for free starting April 8 at Masters.com or via the Masters mobile app.
  • Select coverage will also be available on ESPN, CBS, ESPN+, and Paramount Plus.

Monthly Subscription Service (small)Plus Monthly Plan (ad-supported) (small)

The Masters is one of the most cherished tournaments in sports, and its iconic green jacket is the object of desire for golfers around the world.

The tournament, the first of the PGA’s four majors, is scheduled to begin on April 8 and will run through April 11. Unlike last year’s competition, this year’s event will allow in-person fans to watch their favorite golfers in action. For the first time since 2019, the tournament will take place at Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia.

Although 2019 winner Tiger Woods will be absent from this year’s edition, 2020 champion Dustin Johnson hopes to defend his title. Other top golfers, including Jon Rahm, Justin Thomas, and Jordan Spieth, hope to grab the green jacket in 2021.

How to watch the Masters 2021

The Masters will begin on April 8 and the tournament will conclude on April 11. Coverage will be spread across a few different broadcast stations and online sources, including ESPN, CBS, CBS Sports, Masters.com, the Masters app, ESPN+, and Paramount Plus.

You can stream the Masters Tournament for free through the Masters website and mobile app

The most comprehensive way to stream the Masters is through the Masters.com website or the Masters mobile app. Both the website and the app are free and don’t require an account or TV provider.

Through the app and website, you’ll be able to watch four rounds of streams from select groups and select holes, such as Augusta National Golf Course’s Amen Corner.

Aside from select streams, you can also choose certain players to add to a “My Group” list. Once you choose players to watch, you can start streaming all their shots live from the tournament. This is the only way you can catch golfers with the earliest tee times each round.

The only downside to using the website or app is that playback will be limited to a mobile device or web browser. If you want easy access to the Masters on your TV, you can catch select coverage on ESPN and CBS, as well as streaming services like ESPN+ and Paramount Plus.

The Masters: ESPN and CBS schedule

ESPN will broadcast select coverage from the first and second rounds of the Masters. CBS will offer select coverage from the third and fourth rounds of the tournament.

Round

Coverage starts

Channel

Round 1

3 p.m. ET on April 8

ESPN

Round 2 3 p.m. ET on April 9 ESPN
Round 3

3 p.m. ET on April 10

CBS

Round 4 2 p.m. ET on April 11 CBS

The cheapest way to watch ESPN’s first and second round broadcasts without cable is via Sling TV.

Sling’s Orange plan costs $35 a month and includes the ESPN channel, along with several other popular networks like TNT, AMC, and CNN. You can find a full breakdown of Sling’s channel offerings here.

TV (small)

Outside of the ESPN cable network’s broadcast, you can also get access to select groups and holes from the tournament through ESPN+.

The platform costs $6 a month or $60 a year. ESPN+ can also be bundled with Disney Plus and Hulu for $14 a month. It’s important to remember, however, that ESPN+ does not include access to the live ESPN channel.

Monthly Subscription Service (small)

If you want to watch the third and fourth round broadcasts on CBS without cable, your cheapest streaming option is Paramount Plus. Paramount Plus costs $6 a month for ad-supported streaming, or $10 a month for ad-free streaming. Commercial-free playback is only available when watching on-demand content.

Like ESPN+, Paramount Plus will also offer streams of select groups and holes that won’t be part of the TV broadcast. You can find our full Paramount Plus review here.

Plus Monthly Plan (ad-supported) (small)

Read the original article on Business Insider

The US is talking to allies about boycotting 2022 Beijing Olympics over genocide against Uyghurs in Xinjiang

Beijing
A Chinese flag flutters in front of the IOC headquarters during a protest by activists of the International Tibet Network against the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics on Februay 3, 2021 in Lausanne.

  • The US and its allies are discussing a possible boycott of the 2020 Beijing Olympics.
  • “It is something that we certainly wish to discuss,” the State Department said on Tuesday.
  • China is facing growing backlash over what’s widely considered to be genocide against the Uyghurs.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The US is considering a joint boycott of the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing over the Chinese government’s human rights abuses, the US State Department said Tuesday.

“It is something that we certainly wish to discuss,” State Department spokesperson Ned Price said. “A coordinated approach will not only be in our interest but also in the interest of our allies and partners.”

“This is one of the issues that is on the agenda, both now and going forward,” Price added, making clear that a final decision has not been made.

In a later statement to Yahoo Sports, an unnamed State Department official stressed that no such talks have yet taken place. “We have not discussed and are not discussing any joint boycott with allies and partners,” the official said.

The US government has been ramping up criticism of and pressure on the Chinese government over human rights violations, which led to a public spat between Secretary of State Antony Blinken and China’s top diplomat in Alaska last month.

The Biden administration in late March slapped new sanctions on Chinese officials over what the Treasury Department described as serious human-rights abuse against the Uyghurs in Xinjiang. The EU, the UK, and Canada – in coordination with the US – have also hit China with sanctions over its treatment of the Uyghurs.

Human rights groups say the Chinese government has forced over a million Uyghur Muslims and other minorities into detention camps in the Xinjiang region, though Beijing has vehemently denied the allegations.

Blinken has said what’s happening to the Uyghurs amounts to genocide, while calling on China to release “all those arbitrarily held in internment camps and detention facilities.”

There have been growing calls for countries and companies to boycott the 2022 Beijing Olympics.

Human rights lawyer Djaouida Siaci told Axios that a boycott could open the door for the International Criminal Court to begin an investigation into the allegations of genocide in Xinjiang.

GOP Sen. Mitt Romney in a New York Times op-ed last month said the US should engage in a diplomatic and economic boycott of the 2020 Beijing Olympics.

“Prohibiting our athletes from competing in China is the easy, but wrong, answer. Our athletes have trained their entire lives for this competition and have primed their abilities to peak in 2022,” Romney said.

“The right answer is an economic and diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Olympics. American spectators – other than families of our athletes and coaches – should stay at home, preventing us from contributing to the enormous revenues the Chinese Communist Party will raise from hotels, meals and tickets,” Romney added. “American corporations that routinely send large groups of their customers and associates to the Games should send them to U.S. venues instead.”

The last time the US boycotted the Olympics was during the 1980 summer games in Moscow.

The US Olympic Committee did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Sacramento Kings players and staff will soon be able to get their salary paid in bitcoin, the NBA team’s owner reportedly said

Buddy Hield and DaQuan Jeffries of the Sacramento Kings.
Buddy Hield and DaQuan Jeffries of the Sacramento Kings.

  • All staff at the Sacramento Kings will be able to get paid in bitcoin, the NBA team’s owner reportedly said Monday.
  • The team has accepted bitcoin for merchandise and ticket purchases since 2014.
  • “They can get paid as much of their salary in bitcoin as they want, including the players,” Vivek Ranadivé said, per reports.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

All staff at NBA team the Sacramento Kings, including players, will soon be able to receive their salary in bitcoin, club owner Vivek Ranadivé announced on Clubhouse Monday evening, per numerous reports.

“I’m going to announce in the next few days that I’m going to offer everyone in the Kings organization, they can get paid as much of their salary in bitcoin as they want, including the players,” Ranadivé said, according to a tweet by Neil Jacobs, who regularly moderates bitcoin discussions on the platform.

Jason Brett confirmed the announcement in an article for Forbes.

The Kings did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for the comment.

Since 2014, the team has accepted bitcoin for merchandise and tickets – at the time, it said it was the first professional sports team to make the move.

In recent months, other big companies have started accepting the cryptocurrency as payment. Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced in March that Tesla would accept bitcoin for car purchases – a week later, crypto startup Bakkt launched an app letting customers pay with bitcoin at Starbucks, Choice Hotels, and Best Buy.

Read more: NFL player Taylor Rapp is launching an NFT collection to fight anti-Asian hate. A chief investment officer breaks down why NFTs are ‘psychological assets’ that could surge when a large network of people assigns value to them.

Other companies have started one-off bitcoin marketing campaigns. Fast-food chain Chipotle gave out $100,000 in bitcoin as a part of a “Burritos or Bitcoin” game on Thursday, which it said made it the first US restaurant to give away bitcoin.

Bitcoin has soared in 2021, reaching an all-time high of more than $60,000 in March.

But the currency is very volatile, and crypto exchange founder Bobby Lee told Insider’s Harry Robertson that investors should be more aware of the asset’s history of bubbles and dramatic price crashes.

Read the original article on Business Insider