It’s time. A major multi-sport global gathering, packed full of fascinating stories, inspiring huge debate and intrigue every time, is finally upon us once again. That’s right, it’s time for another edition of the sports industry reading list, your regular handpicked selection of interesting, relevant and sometimes mission-critical pieces on the global business of sport. In this week when the Olympic Games also start, to business:
This week’s sports industry must-reads
- Rio 2016 is finally upon us and my goodness it’s been quite the journey since Jacques Rogge announced, some seven years ago, South America would host its first Games. Back then, as editor of SportsPro, I asked Michael Payne, the IOC’s former marketing director and a noted Olympic consultant, to write the story of a winning bid that he had played a part in. I happened across the piece again this week, reprinted in its unedited form on Payne’s website, and it’s well worth a read for some essential background on the genesis of Rio’s Games.
- There has, in many cases rightly, been a lot of negativity swirling around Rio 2016 in recent months, which made this scene-setter from Brazil by Oliver Holt of the Mail on Sunday all the more powerful. For fans of sport, this is a pre-Games must-read.
- Alan Abrahamson’s 3 Wire Sports site is a treasure trove of shrewd analysis on all things Olympic and this, as Abrahamson considers how the IOC ought to revamp its hosting model for future Games, is a particularly shiny piece.
- SportsPro’s Americas editor Mike Long, a romantic at heart, has written perhaps the definitive piece on Twitter’s flirtation with sport and the burgeoning relationship that’s followed.
- One to tag in our not-really-about-sport-but-still-highly-relevant file, here’s a superb and in-depth Bloomberg Businessweek piece on Facebook’s virtual reality plans and its investment in Oculus Rift, written by Bryan Urstadt and Sarah Frier (clever design, too).
- Is Stan Kroenke really sport’s most powerful man? I’m not sure, but with big investments in the Premier League and NFL he’s well worth a Daily Mail profile. This, written by Matt Barlow, contains lots of interesting little nuggets about an elusive yet clearly highly ambitious sports investor.
- Barely a week now goes by without some sort of significant investment in sport by a Chinese firm or individual and frankly it’s becoming tricky to keep up with the number of European football clubs that are being fuelled by Chinese yuan. On his China Sports Insider blog Mark Dreyer, who has been based in the country for many years, has reprinted a fascinating recent interview he gave to Sky Sports on the subject of Chinese takeovers.
- After what many considered a somewhat underwhelming Tour de France, the Inner Ring cycling blog has expertly examined what might be done to increase the spectacle and competitiveness of the sport’s most famous event.
- And finally, do make time to read this piece by the Telegraph’s Oliver Brown on micro-management in sport and his take on a case of, as he puts it, “marginal gains gone mad”.