Welcome to the sports industry reading list, my regular guide to the best writing on the business of sport and the global sports industry. As always, what follows is a mix of columns, profiles and interviews from mainstream media outlets, specialist sport publications, and the sports industry trade media (very occasionally it might include one of those ’10 things you must do to improve your business’-type marketing and sponsorship pieces that can be found all over the internet, but generally I prefer good stories about the industry’s most interesting people and informed commentary about what’s actually going on rather than the ‘how-to’ guides). Anyway, to business:
This week’s sports industry must-reads
- It’s been an interesting few days to say the least for the fast-growth fantasy daily gaming industry – it’s first real bump in the road. For some detailed background, the emergence of the sector’s dominant players – DraftKings and FanDuel – and their burgeoning relationships with America’s major leagues is the subject of this fascinating long read by The Buffalo News’ Tim Graham.
- It’s something I’ve written about before, but in a week when competitive baking became the UK’s highest rating television show of the year – 13.4 million! – the question of what actually constitutes a sport and where sport and entertainment intersect seems particularly pertinent. On much the same theme, the Financial Times put together an excellent special report all about chess.
- Popping into last week’s Leaders in Sport conference in London, many speakers were at pains to point out how essential it is for rights-holders and brands to be ‘authentic’ as they chase audiences, create fanbases and generate new revenue streams. It’s not a new idea of course, but with authenticity in mind it was interesting to read this punchy Daily Beast take on surfing as a potential Olympic sport by Chas Smith; at what stage does packaging up a sport for television and an event as tightly controlled and regulated as the Olympics rob that sport of the character and spirit that makes it so attractive in the first place?
- It’s Sportel Monaco this week, an annual seaside gathering of the great, the good (and the ugly) of the sports broadcasting game. As ever, SportsPro has assembled a major report on the sports broadcast industry to mark the event – this year’s is led by a couple of terrific in-depth interviews with major players: Eoin Connolly sat down with BT’s Delia Bushell and James Emmett chewed the fat with IMG’s Ioris Francini.
- And sticking with broadcasting, this final recommendation doesn’t even mention sport once. But to be informed about the sports industry and where it might be heading is to understand the changing dynamics of media, so Emily Nussbaum’s long read on television, advertising and product integration is, I think, a vital – and really good – piece.