Another busy sports industry week concludes, so it’s high time I picked out some of the best and most interesting writing on the sports business from the past few days – after all, that’s what you’re here for. But first, a word on SportsPro Live, the third edition of which took place at Wembley Stadium in London this week. I’m more than a little biased, of course, but I thought it was a terrific event, the best yet, and in an industry full to the brim with conferences it has set a standard in terms of tone and content. (I agree with much of this post by Johnny Murch of RedTorch, who was also at Wembley). I also know just how bloody difficult it is to organise a sports industry conference, so full marks to the whole SportsPro team for a job superbly done. (Incidentally, you can relive the whole thing here). Now, to business.
This week’s sports industry must-reads
- Oh Formula One. An entertaining first Grand Prix of the season last weekend was somewhat overshadowed by the dismal failure of the new elimination qualifying format, which shone a light on the sport’s tortuous political and governance structure and prompted the drivers to publish an open letter calling for change. Two standout pieces followed: Motorsport.com’s Jonathan Noble produced this typically incisive analysis of the sport’s current political landscape and Joe Saward published this superb piece on his blog.
- A long and very interesting piece on NBA poster boy Steph Curry, Under Armour, Nike and ‘sneaker culture’ here from ESPN staff writer Ethan Sherwood Strauss. Well worth a read, not least for the nuggets on Nike’s attempt to lure Curry.
- Looking for a piece on how the horses are flown into the United Arab Emirates ahead of the Dubai World Cup? Look no further, thanks to Claire Malcolm of The National.
- Deadspin’s Barry Petchesky put together this fascinating look at Major League Baseball’s relationship with tobacco in the light of New York’s decision to ban all forms of tobacco from sporting events.
- In a week of speculation about a possible competitive NFL game in China, here’s Yahoo’s Dan Wetzel with a useful update on the league’s international strategy and what a significant move into China might mean.
- With Beijing now confirmed as host of the 2022 winter Olympics, the Ski Asia website published this interesting piece, examining Thaiwoo Ski Resort in China, one of a huge number of facilities springing up to meet the (apparent) demand for winter sports in the country.
- The Guardian’s Sean Ingle reflects on last weekend’s World Indoor Athletics Championships in Portland, Oregon and ponders the major challenge facing Sebastian Coe and the IAAF in revitalising track and field in the USA.
- And last but not least, a piece that everyone working in sports marketing should read by Emily Clark, who works for real-time video-sharing service Grabyo, about the sector’s favourite topic – ‘millennials’.