Here goes with another sports industry reading list, my weekly selection of interesting and relevant writing about how sport is organised, funded and marketed. Whether it’s sports sponsorship, major events, fan engagement, media rights or politics that floats your boat, there’s usually something for everyone here; as usual, it’s a mix of profiles, features, opinion, analysis and interviews from newspapers, specialist sports websites and the sports industry trade press. Time to get cracking. To business:
This week’s sports industry must-reads
- Ordinarily I wouldn’t include a company’s annual report in this list, but I think we can make an exception for Dalian Wanda since it’s shown signs, over the past year or two, of being anything but an ordinary company. Anyone looking to understand the scope and scale of its ambitions inside and outside sport should read founder Wang Jianlin’s 2016 review and outlook for 2017.
- You might have heard, but if not let me be the first to tell you that the United States of America has a new president. Before the new one took the oath of office on Friday, Alan Abrahamson, writing on his excellent 3 Wire Sports blog, critiqued Barack Obama’s performance over the past eight years in the arena of international sports politics.
- SportsPro’s Adam Nelson went behind the scenes of the recent PDC World Darts Championship – tough gig – and returned from Alexandra Palace to produce this authoritative and very interesting piece.
- A fascinating little chit-chat here between Sir Richard Branson and Fast Company’s Elizabeth Segran on the Virgin founder’s latest brainchild: family sports festivals.
- Juventus’ new branding, revealed this week, divided opinions, to say the least. It’s certainly no traditional club crest. Two recommended pieces on this subject: James Horncastle, writing in the Independent, on why the new logo underlines the Italian club’s status in Italy and beyond. And artist and illustrator Daniel Nyari, writing on Goal.com, on what he calls ‘the most important visual rebrand in football history’.
- Given the politics and controversy around Russia and Russian sport just now, expect one of the recurring sports marketing topics over the next year or so to be how football’s major sponsors approach the tricky business of activating in and around the country as the 2018 World Cup looms large. Courtesy of the Business of Fashion site and Vikram Alexei Kansara, here’s how Adidas is beginning that process.
- The Guardian’s Sid Lowe put together this terrific piece on the ups and downs at Valencia under its Singaporean owner Peter Lim.
- It’s not exactly the business of sport, but an eye-opening long read here by ESPN’s Shaun Assael on Counter-Strike and the murky gambling world that has grown up around the game.