This week’s sports industry reading list – Fifa election special!

FIFA elects its new president on Friday and so no apologies for the fact that this week’s sports industry reading list has a world football governing body tinge to it. As always, though, this is my pick of the most interesting writing on the global business of sport from the past few days, published by newspapers, specialist titles and pretty much any other nook and cranny of the internet. Let’s get underway.

This week’s FIFA-related must-reads:

  • Friday will mark the formal end of Sepp Blatter’s tenure at the helm of FIFA. Martyn Ziegler, now safely installed as the Times’ chief sports reporter, sat down with Blatter last week, delivering this terrific piece (the portraits of Blatter by Marc Aspland are pretty darn good too).
  • There are those who suggest that anybody actually interested in becoming FIFA president should automatically be excluded from the process, but five men have stayed the course and will be on the ballot paper in Zurich. Rob Harris from the Associated Press put together these handy pen pictures of them all.
  • An essential read on the favourite (or joint-favourite, or close second favourite) Sheikh Salman Bin Ibrahim Al-Khalifa, whose campaign has been marred by his questionable record on human rights, by James M. Dorsey.

This week’s non-Fifa related sports industry must-reads:

  • The Daily Telegraph’s football correspondent Sam Wallace wrote a fascinating piece on the financial implications of Real Madrid’s basketball operation.
  • Written before the closest Daytona 500 finish in history on Sunday, Yahoo’s Dan Wetzel sat down with Danica Patrick to discuss the end of her long-term corporate relationship with Go Daddy and her new major partner Nature’s Bakery. It’s a really good, detailed insight into the dynamics of the athlete as brand ambassador.
  • Richard Deitsch of Sports Illustrated used his always-interesting weekly media column to conduct a roundtable with several members of the mixed martial arts media. It’s a fascinating read on access and attitudes in the UFC and the other major promotions.
  • And finally this week, a must-listen: Matt Cutler, the former editor of Sport Business (not to mention my sports business trade magazine nemesis for several years) has launched his new podcast venture, SB Weekly. His first guest is Riccardo Silva, grand mozzarella  at MP & Silva. You’ll find it here.

That’s all for now. You can email me at or send me a tweet @DavidCushnan. See you back here next week.


This week’s sports industry reading list

This is the sports industry reading list, your regular guide to the profiles, features, columns, opinions and essays you really ought to be reading if your business is sport, or if you have even a passing interest in how sport is governed, financed and organised. It’s been a busy week, so let’s get cracking right away. To business:

This week’s sports industry must-reads

  • A key milestone this week in the long trek towards the 2024 summer Olympic Games host city announcement, as the four contenders delivered part one of their candidature files to IOC headquarters in Switzerland. Los Angeles became the third of the four to launch its official bid logo, Paris and Rome held big bid launch events, while Budapest has so far opted for a more low-key approach. The candidature files themselves – Los Angeles 2024, Budapest 2024, Paris 2024, Rome 2024 – are always worth a look and are always full of interesting detail. (How much of that detail is actually read by voting IOC members is, of course, another story entirely).
  • Fifa votes in its new president next week, so you’ll be reading plenty about the contenders, their merits and their baggage over the next few days. My pick of the many Fifa-related pieces from this week, however, is this beautifully presented and superbly researched ESPN story on the FBI investigation into the organisation, put together by Shaun Assael and Brett Forrest.
  • ESPN published another superb long read this week, as Don Van Natta Jr. and Seth Wickersham told the story of the NFL’s decision to relocate the Rams, formerly of St. Louis, to Los Angeles. It’s a great read, one of those that ‘puts you in the room’ as the NFL owners negotiated and argued their way to a deal.
  • Through bold acquisitions and a striking series of investments in teams, players and properties, China has been making plenty of noise across the sports industry in recent times. Professor Simon Chadwick, now of Salford University’s Sports Business Centre, knitted together some of the big issues for this highly- readable primer in Newsweek.
  • Sticking with football, this is a very good, punchy piece from late last week by Simon Hughes of the Independent on the Liverpool FC ticket pricing mess, the club’s reaction and the role of chief executive Ian Ayre.
  • Sportcal’s Martin Ross picked up on something interesting this week, when Scottish football fans, denied live TV coverage of Scottish Cup replays thanks to Uefa rights restrictions, turned to Periscope. His write-up is well worth a read.
  • Formula One is slowly rolling back into life after the long, dark winter but even before the 2016 season begins the sport’s focus seems to be on 2017, when a major revision of the rules is scheduled. editor-in-chief Charles Bradley picked up on some recent comments by Sebastian Vettel and wrote this, pondering Formula One’s future.

That’s all for this week. Be back here at approximately the same time next week for more subject-specific reading material. In the meantime, do feel free to email, share and/or tweet.

This week’s sports industry reading list

In a week of new logos (this one and this one), it’s time for something that has quickly become a magnificent weekly tradition: the sports industry reading list, where I select the best sports business stories, profiles, columns, think-pieces and long-form features from the past week. You know what to do next. Scroll down, sit back and bathe in great writing on interesting topics. To business:

This week’s sports industry must-reads:

  • It was the Super Bowl on Sunday. (Spoiler alert: do not read on if you’ve recorded the game and don’t want to know who won). The Denver Broncos won. And another NFL season finished with all the razzmatazz we’ve come to expect from a league which thrives on hype. Written before the game and something I should have included last week was this terrific profile of the NFL, its commissioner and its owners – AKA ‘the Membership’ – by the New York Times’ Mark Leibovich.
  • There was an important milestone in PyeongChang’s preparations for the 2018 winter Olympic Games this week, with the first major test event – a men’s downhill World Cup race at the newly-constructed Jeongseon Alpine Centre. Alan Abrahamson was there and posted his authoritative verdict on his 3 Wire Sports blog.
  • And finally, a superbly detailed long read (superbly presented, too) by Milton C. Toby for Blood Horse about the disappearance of the legendary Shergar and the impact the mystery had on the Irish racing industry.

Thanks for reading and do return for the next instalment next week. Feedback welcome via and on Twitter: @DavidCushnan

This week’s sports industry reading list

It’s time for my latest pick of the best writing on the global business of sport – the profiles, features, columns and interviews that have caught my eye over the past few days. Welcome along – and don’t forget to share widely with your friends and colleagues; there’s something for everyone here (assuming, of course, you’re interested in what’s happening across the global sports industry). To business, then, and this week’s bumper selection of great sports business pieces:

This week’s sports industry must-reads

  • There’s been a great deal of talk recently of the growing power of Europe’s major football clubs amid the current power vacuum at Fifa and Uefa. Oliver Kay picked up the topic for his always-readable Saturday Times column this week; it’s a strong piece (nestled behind the paywall) on the slightly chilling prospect of a future European league closed to all but the elite teams.
  • Renowned US team owner Roger Penske is celebrating his 50th year in motorsport and Automobile Magazine produced this terrific retrospective on the career of a hugely successful businessman, who’s also won just about all there is to win in Indycar and Nascar.
  • This is a really excellent Sheffield Star interview, conducted by Sam Fletcher, with World Snooker’s commercial director Miles Pearce on the sport’s rise in China and the possibility of the World Championships one day relocated from its current home at Sheffield’s Crucible Theatre.
  • Reem Abulleil, covering the Australian Open for the UAE-based Sport360 newspaper, spoke to the tournament director Craig Tilley to get the lowdown on the commercial success of the first Grand Slam of the tennis year and an insight into Tennis Australia’s marketing strategy.

That’ll do it for this week. Do let me know if the reading lists are proving useful/interesting/a handy distraction, either via or on Twitter, where you’ll find me @DavidCushnan. Let’s reconvene here in a few days time.