A new year seems like a neat moment to resurrect the sports industry reading list, a guide to the most interesting and relevant writing on the global business of sport. Let’s see if we can make this a more regular thing in 2017. As with previous installments, what follows are pieces I’ve recently read, a combination of longform features, profiles, punchy opinions, blog posts and interviews. Hopefully it’s a handy little resource if sport is your industry, or you’re simply interested in peeling back the curtains to see how professional sport is organised and financed. And that’s really all you need to know: without further ado, to business:
This week’s sports industry must-reads
- Inevitably the past week or so has seen a glut of annual reviews (not to mention the obligatory ‘things to look out for in 2017′ pieces) across all sorts of different areas of sport but I’d recommend sparing the time to read Inside the Games’ senior reporter Nick Butler’s personal reflections on a fairly remarkable 12 months in sports politics.
- eSports. The mere mention of it will either make you glaze over, shrug a slightly weary shrug or sit up bolt upright, visibly intrigued. Whatever your take, competitive gaming has become virtually – see what I did there – impossible for the sports industry to ignore. To ensure you’re up to speed for 2017, Joe Favorito and Maurice Eisenmann have pieced together this handy primer on eSports’ current challenges and talking points.
- In a week when the UCI, cycling’s governing body, announced the cancellation of the Tour of Qatar, the ever-excellent Inner Ring site delivered the background and context to the decision.
- Sports Illustrated’s Pete Thamel went behind the scenes with the Ohio State and Clemson digital media teams ahead of the Fiesta Bowl, for this fascinating piece on the huge investments the major college football programmes are making in content and distribution – and what it means for recruitment.
- Talking of digital content (and, let’s face it, if you work in the sports industry you’ll be talking about little else in 2017), David Rudin, editor of the What a Howler website, has written this terrific piece examining the motives of Europe’s major football clubs as they seek to connect, communicate and engage with fans online.
- Looking for an update on PyeongChang’s preparations for the 2018 winter Olympics? Thought so. Luckily, Yonhap News Agency’s Joo Kyung-don has taken a look at the rather tricky year organisers faced in 2016 and what lies ahead in 2017 (spoiler: test events, and plenty of them).
- Sticking with the Olympics for a moment, Around The Rings’ Brian Pinelli sat down with Bridgestone America’s VP of sports marketing and events on the eve of the tyre company gaining full global Olympic partner status – and also discussed its new tie-up with one Tiger Woods.
- A punchy piece here by Oliver Owen on the promising new Sport500 site – where each article is made up of no more than 500 words – as one or two murmurings emerge about the direction in which Formula One’s new owners might be looking to take the sport.
- This is a tasty piece – sorry – by Rory Smith of the New York Times on Liverpool FC’s approach to nutrition, underlining, as if we needed it underlining, the levels of investment and attention to detail required at all the world’s major sports organisations.
That’s all for now. I’ll try to make these as weekly as I can in 2017. In the meantime, all feedback is warmly received at email@example.com – and you can find me on Twitter @DavidCushnan. Happy New Year.