Time for another sports industry reading list, my carefully selected picks of the best and most interesting writing on the global business of sport from the past seven days or so. As the year gets into swing, you’ll find the usual mix of profiles, interviews, longer features, viewpoints and analysis across all sorts of subjects, sports and markets. Whether sport is your business or you’re a fan interested in the mechanics of how sport is finances, organised and promoted, do let me know if you find it useful. To business:
This week’s sports industry must-reads
- Nobody knows if Ronda Rousey will fight again following her latest UFC defeat at the end of December, but, as this Guardian piece by Josh Gross points out, there is a structure and momentum around women’s mixed martial arts that looks set to ensure it thrive even in a post-Rousey world.
- Bradford Bulls, one of rugby league’s great clubs, was liquidated his week following years of financial problems. BBC rugby league commentator Dave Woods put together this useful piece on the background to the story – and the RFL’s efforts, already well underway, to keep the sport in Bradford.
- An absolutely fascinating long read here by Daniel Brettig for The Cricket Monthly on the story behind the foundation of the Big Bash, Cricket Australia’s Twenty20 competition.
- This piece doesn’t mention sport or sponsorship at all, but given Emirates is one of world sport’s biggest sponsors it’s well worth keeping tabs on the challenges the company faces. There are several and Matthew Campbell’s profile, for Bloomberg Businessweek, is certainly worth your time.
- The arrival of 18 year old Lance Stroll is certain to be a talking point in Formula One this year. He brings talent and money to his new team, Williams, but his swift promotion has reignited the debate about pay drivers, the expense of Formula One and the structure of motorsport’s junior formulae. Renowned Formula One journalist Adam Cooper does an excellent job of tackling these issues in this Motorsport.com piece.
- Sticking with motorsport (and as regular readers will know that’s something I tend to do as much as possible) I thought this, by David Nelson over on the F1 Broadcasting blog, was a very nice idea, well-executed: a review of the UK television coverage of a Grand Prix from 1995. Read in the era of Sky Sports’ blanket coverage from every nook and cranny of the paddock, it’s a reminder of how far sports broadcasting has come in a little over two decades.
- Lots of talk this week about Chinese money in sport as we find ourselves smack bang in the middle of another Chinese Super League transfer window, but the China piece that caught my eye this week was this Daily Telegraph feature by Julian Bennetts charting the country’s growing interest and investment in rugby union.
- At the end of this year’s college football season, thought this was an interesting examination by Jesse Lawrence for the Daily Beast considering how college bowls – and there were, apparently, 41 of them this season – tend to make money, even if stadiums are sometimes far from full.
- This is a quite superb piece by Richard Whittall for Paste Magazine. He asks a simple question: Is football even fun anymore?
Plenty to keep you going there over the next few days. In the meantime, if you’ve found it useful please do spread the word about this reading list to friends and colleagues. All feedback’s welcome via email – firstname.lastname@example.org – or on Twitter: @davidcushnan. More next week.