Hello reader, this is London calling and it’s time for another sports industry reading list. Here’s where I select what I consider to be the best, or at least the most interesting, writing on the global business of sport from the past few days (think of it as a sort-of Buzzfeed, minus the high-minded editorial philosophy – and the traffic). It could be something from the so-called mainstream media, a piece from a sport-specific website, something from the sports industry trade press or a particularly interesting blog post from a sports business insider. But enough small-talk. To business:
The big three stories of the week
- With the great, the good and assorted others from the football industry gathered in Manchester for Soccerex, a Jordanian prince confirms that he’s in the race to be Fifa’s next president. Again.
- With the Rugby World Cup looming, the Welsh Rugby Union reveals a deal to rename the stadium which hosted the 1999 final.
- Knut Frostad, one of professional sailing’s captains of industry, announces he is to step down as chief executive of the Volvo Ocean Race.
This week’s sports industry must-reads
- The new NFL season began last Thursday, but, following the ‘deflategate’ saga, much of the focus remains on the league’s commissioner Roger Goodell and his competence. Reporters Don van Natta Jr. and Seth Wickersham took a close look at the relationship between Goodell and the New England Patriots over a period which has seen several controversies, producing this riveting read for ESPN.
- It’s (just over) two years since Tokyo was awarded the 2020 Olympic Games, Thomas Bach became International Olympic Committee president and wrestling was readmitted to the Olympic sports programme. Inside The Games columnist David Owen profiled the president of wrestling’s global governing body, Nenad Lalovic, and pondered his latest role as an IOC member.
- The sports industry is a poorer place now that the Unofficial Partner blog has fallen (we can only hope temporarily) silent. Richard Gillis, the man and mind behind the moniker, was back last week, though, with an excellent piece in the Financial Times on Brighton’s role as a host city for the upcoming Rugby World Cup.
- Mark Gallagher, formerly marketing director at the Jordan Formula One team, is a noted commentator on any motorsport business issue. His first-hand experience comes to the fore in this piece, reflecting on the current frayed relationships between Red Bull Racing and McLaren and their respective engine partners. Whether you’re into F1 or not, Gallagher makes some very valid points about the importance of shared culture and philosophy.
- Staying on the theme of leadership and strategy, Alastair Campbell, once Tony Blair’s director of communications and strategy and now a writer and consultant, drew together some of the conclusions from his recently-published book ‘Winners’ for the Sport Industry Group website, entitled ‘what politicians can learn from sport’. It’s worth a look, whether your business is politics or sport.
- And finally, it’s not quite from the last week but I thought this post explaining how a major professional cycling road race is organised on the Innner Ring blog was very well done. Written in the aftermath of several incidents involving cyclists and race vehicles, it’s a fascinating look at exactly why all those vehicles are on the road and how one of these major stage races is filmed, refereed and logistically possible.