Time for another sports industry reading list, my selection of the week’s most interesting, relevant and – whisper it – perhaps even useful pieces about the global business of sport. As per, below you’ll find the usual mix of interviews, profiles, long-form features, punchy analysis and opinion. What you won’t find this week is anything on the biggest sports money story of the week, Neymar’s record-shattering transfer from Barcelona to Paris (Qatari branch). Like you, I’ve read all sorts of ‘hot takes’ on what it all might mean for Barca, PSG, football in general and global geo-politics. And, if I’m honest, I’m a bit bored of it, so for this week at least this list is a Neymar-free zone. Don’t fret, though – there’s still plenty of fascinating subjects and pieces to get your teeth into. So let’s get to it. To business:
This week’s sports industry must-reads
• Los Angeles announced its candidacy for the 2028 summer Olympic Games last week, the next step in the somewhat tortuous procedure that will ultimately see the 2024 and 2028 Games hosts officially confirmed in September. But to all intents and purposes it’s done, and in a big week for the Olympics – and in the odd circumstances of being at the start of an 11 year countdown – here’s a view from LA, by the Los Angeles Times’ Bill Plaschke.
• The Championship – for the uninitiated, that’s English football’s second tier – began on Friday and I’ve developed a small theory that, at least on the business side of things, it’s a far more interesting place than the Premier League this season. There’s big clubs, new and interesting owners, plenty of peril and lots and lots of ambition. In an attempt to convince you, here are three eve-of-season pieces well worth your time: The Telegraph’s Sam Wallace sat down with Leeds United’s new owner, Andrea Radrizzani to hear his plans to rebuild the club; Rory Smith’s latest missive for the New York Times saw him examine the curious new ownership of Wolverhampton Wanderers and the links to so-called super agent Jorge Mendes; and Dan McLaren’s latest Digital Sport Insider Podcast episode was a fascinating conversation with Middlesbrough’s Head of Digital and Marketing Development, Bob Tait.
• A column well worth reading here by the Washington Post’s Dan Steinberg on his experience at last week’s Citi Open ATP World Tour event in the city – I think it’s a comment on what seems to be some odd scheduling (and the weather), but you’re probably best served by reading it and draw your own conclusions.
• This is a very good piece, by Adam Elder and published by the Guardian, on the motivations behind the recent spate of footballer investments in American soccer clubs – and why entering at Major League Soccer level isn’t necessarily the be-all and end-all.
• In the week when it dipped another of its seemingly infinite number of toes into the world of sports rights, acquiring the ATP World Tour rights for its Prime service, this is a must-read piece by Wired’s Liat Clark outlining how Amazon intends to basically take over the world.
• Last week this reading list recommended a piece on the downturn of LeEco’s fortunes. This week, it’s the turn of another big Chinese investor in sport, as the New York Times’ Keith Bradsher chronicles the problems facing Wanda.
• Slightly late to this but, with the World Athletics Championships well underway, it’s still very relevant: Inside the Games’ Duncan Mackay expertly tells the compelling story of the long road travelled by London on the way to staging track and field’s showpiece standalone event.
• And last but by no means least this week, Sports Business Journal executive editor Abraham D. Madkour caught up with sports business veteran Tony Ponturo, who made his name at the helm of Anheuser-Busch’s vast sports sponsorship portfolio and still has plenty of fingers in sports industry-flavoured pies.