This is the sports industry reading list, your weekly (or thereabouts) guide to what you ought to be reading if your business is sport or you’re simply interested in how sport is organised, funded and governed around the world. As always, there’ll be a mix of profiles, features, interviews, opinion pieces and the occasional audio treat from a wide range of sources including newspapers, specialist websites, sports industry trade publications and social platforms like LinkedIn and Medium. Sounds good, right? That’s the intro. Now, to business:
This week’s sports industry must-reads
- Sport, ultimately, is an events business and that’s underlined brilliantly in this extended, superbly illustrated multimedia feature on the official Juventus club website. This guide to the scale and complexity of a regular matchday at Juventus Stadium is packed full of interesting nuggets and well worth your time; it’s exactly what major sports teams should be doing more of.
- A useful and timely piece here from Daniel Johnson of the Daily Telegraph on the most powerful man in Formula One, Donald Mackenzie, as his CVC Capital Partners celebrates (and I’m not sure that’s the right word at all) ten years of ownership.
- Sticking with Formula One, if you have a spare hour or so you could do worse than listening to this podcast, hosted by Motor Sport magazine’s Ed Foster, featuring Ross Brawn and Nick Fry reflecting on the remarkable 2009 season, which culminated with Jenson Button crowned as world champion. Fry and Brawn were part of the management buy-out of the Honda team and this is a great insight into how Brawn GP came to be.
- It’s been a terribly sad few days for the world of professional cycling. Following the death of Antoine Demoitié, who was hit by a motorcycle covering the Gent-Wevelgem race on Saturday, this commentary, by Neal Rogers of Cycling Tips, is a personal reflection on events and an examination of what the implications might be for the sport and how it is broadcast.
- Standby for the San Francisco Deltas. A good piece here as the Guardian’s Jack Williams introduces us to the group of Silicon Valley investors looking to create an NASL team driven by technology.
- Staying on the West Coast, here’s something worth reading on the NFL’s team that’s preparing to land there. Regular readers will know that I love a logistics piece: here’s MMQB’s Robert Klemko with the fascinating tale of how the Rams are actually relocating and preparing for a nomadic few seasons as they wait for Stan Kroenke’s gleaming new stadium to be built.
- There’s no doubt that Dick Pound is currently one of world sport’s most influential figures, given his role as chairman of the independent WADA commission which revealed the extent of Russian doping in athletics and the failures of the sport’s governing body. Here’s a typically excellent profile of the Canadian, by the New York Times’ Christopher Clarey.
- With Major League Baseball’s opening day approaching, there’s been a fair few pieces in recent days chronicling the disputes between regional sports networks and cable operators, and the creaking broadcast model behind them. Joe Flint and Matthew Futterman, writing in the Wall Street Journal, examined the battleground featuring the New York Yankees, the YES network which airs its games and Comcast, which has blacked them out in a payment dispute since November.
- If you’re not reading up on Leicester City, then you should be (you know, just in case). Two pieces worth your time here. The first is Swiss Ramble’s extensive nose through the club’s finances and the second is a detailed look at whether Leicester’s run at the Premier League title is a happy one-off or a sign of things to come by Soccernomics’ Stefan Szymanski. Both pieces, as you’d expect, are riveting reads.
- And finally, in the week when the UK’s Independent newspaper was printed for the final time, a reflective blog (also well worth reading, incidentally) by former staffer Nick Harris linked to his excellent behind-the-scenes piece with Leeds United from December 1999. It was a time when Leeds were themselves Premier League challengers and it’s a great reminder of how far major sports teams (sadly, not a description which can be applied to Leeds any longer) have come in just over a decade and a half.