Time for another sports industry reading list, my hopefully handy guide to the best writing on the global business of sport from all corners of the internet – do bookmark if sport is your business, or you’re simply fascinated by how sport is organised, funded and governed. Two sizeable stories this week, as the NFL confirmed its return to Los Angeles and the melodrama/meltdown continued at the IAAF – so here goes:
This week’s sports industry must-reads
- After years of politics and process, NFL owners finally confirmed the league’s return to Los Angeles last week, approving the relocation of Stan Kroenke’s Rams from St. Louis in time for the start of next season. And there have been plenty of interesting pieces to pick over in the aftermath. In the LA Times, Sam Farmer and Nathan Fenno took a detailed look at last Tuesday’s NFL owners’ meeting where the votes were cast.
- Andrew Brandt, once part of the Green Bay Packers’ front office and now a regular contributor to the MMQB site, reflected on the wider background and politics of the decision to relocate the Rams, while over at ESPN Darren Rovell examined the commercial reality of an LA team and pondered whether it’s actually a given – as many have suggested – that riches automatically await an NFL franchise in America’s second-largest media market. And spare a thought for the city of St. Louis although, as David Nicklaus points out in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, from an economic point of view losing its team may be no bad thing.
- Another grim week for athletics, as Dick Pound delivered the second installment of WADA’s independent commission report into corruption in and around the IAAF. Some good background reading on the events of the past few days comes from Sportcal editorial director Callum Murray and the Guardian’s chief sports correspondent Owen Gibson.
- It was published before the release of the second part of the independent commission’s report, but nonetheless Alastair Campbell’s GQ interview with Coe offers a glimpse into the IAAF president’s mindset as he faces perhaps his biggest challenge to date. There’s some fascinating nuggets in there.
- Overshadowed somewhat in recent weeks by the crisis engulfing the IAAF, Fifa is just weeks away from electing its new president. Simon Kuper’s interview with one of the candidates, Prince Ali of Jordan, in the Financial Times is recommended reading.
- An interesting move recently by the NFL’s Cleveland Browns, as they hired Paul DePodestra as chief strategy officer. DePodestra’s background is in baseball and this profile by Vice Sports’ Mike Vorkunov, featuring DePodestra’s first public comments since his appointment was announced, is a fascinating look at the advantages and risks of a fresh perspective at a major professional team.
- Like many industries, the sports business is not short of awards. Seven League’s Richard Ayres, a winner and a judge in his time, has put together this punchy guide to how to give yourself the best chance of winning one – and how to guarantee you won’t.
This week’s sports industry pick of the podcasts
In the first of an irregular series, here’s three podcast episodes you really ought to download this week in order to be fully up to speed with the global sports industry.
- Bill Simmons’ take on the NFL’s return to Los Angeles was always going to be worth listening to. In conversation with journalist and author Malcolm Gladwell, his latest podcast episode is particularly interesting on the economics of football stadiums, the curious role of Disney CEO Bob Iger in the relocation process and US sports team ownership in general.
- BBC sports editor Dan Roan pulled off a coup this week, interviewing Allen Stanford – he of the helicopter on the pitch at Lord’s – from prison, where the financier is serving a 110-year sentence for fraud on a remarkable scale. The resulting BBC Radio 5 Live programme, which has been converted into a podcast, is compelling listening.
- The latest SportsPro podcast is online, anchored consummately as ever by editorial director James Emmett. This latest episode features snippets from a series of interviews with prominent sports bloggers, including football finance expert Swiss Ramble and renowned Formula One journalist Joe Saward, as well as the usual high-level chit-chat from the SportsPro editorial team.