After a brief hiatus, the potentially award-winning sports industry reading list is back. For the uninitiated, what follows is a compilation of the writing on the global business of sport that’s caught my eye over the past few days. It could be a particularly interesting blog post, newspaper article or longer feature – anything goes, so long as it’s good and about the sports industry. To business:
This week’s sports industry must-reads:
- In politics and the sports industry, it’s conference season in the UK. My old friends at SportsPro were first out of the blocks last week, staging the second edition of The Brand Conference, at the Oval in London. If you weren’t there or were busy engaging in some high-level chit-chat out the back, catch-up on what you missed in this handy live blog.
- We don’t yet know who’s going to win the Rugby World Cup, but if there were a shiny trophy for quality rugby union sponsorship commentary (and it’s ludicrous there isn’t) it would surely go to Richard Gillis. His latest missive takes a look at the big and small numbers associated with the tournament.
- I’d also thoroughly recommend Gillis’ piece in a recent edition of Today’s Golfer, where he considers the Jordan Spieth as a commercial entity and Under Armour ambassador at the end of a remarkable season.
- The organisers of Tokyo 2020 last week recommended the inclusion of baseball-softball, karate, sport climbing, surfing and skateboarding on the Olympic sports programme which meant there was no place, despite another concerted effort, for squash. One of the sport’s stars, Nick Matthew, penned a column for his local newspaper, the Sheffield Star, to express his disappointment.
- The NFL returned to London this weekend for the first of three games this season. Inevitably, that spawned the usual set of tedious stories about a potential London franchise and how American football really is, honestly, definitely taking off here. The New York Times’ Ben Shpigel thankfully took a different angle, by focusing on the logistical minutiae of the New York Jets’ transatlantic trip.
- These are interesting times in Formula One, with Red Bull’s future in the sport far from certain. Both its teams, Red Bull Racing and Toro Rosso, find themselves without an engine for the 2016 season after ditching Renault, failing to secure a deal with Mercedes and still to agree terms with Ferrari. It’s a fascinating, highly political situation and one explained brilliantly this week by the BBC’s Andrew Benson.
- The Fifa kerfuffle rumbles on, with several sponsors calling for Sepp Blatter’s immediate resignation on Friday. This is a big topic, covered extensively just about everywhere, but I think this personal blog post by Alex Stone, who works at Fifa in Zurich, is well worth a read. Context is king.
- And finally, there’s lots of pieces being written about eSports generally – its growth, its leagues, its apparently unlimited revenue opportunities – but relatively little about the professional eSports teams which are rising up around the world. Forbes contributor Darren Heitner took a look at the interesting story behind one, Counter Logic Gaming.