This week’s sports industry reading list

We’re smack bang in the middle of another fabulous (northern hemisphere) summer of sport – Wimbledon’s been and gone, the magnificent Tour de France is concluding in Paris as I write, the Women’s World Cup is about to be lifted at a packed Lord’s, the best para-athletes in the world have been running, jumping and throwing in London for the last week and the Open Championship has underlined again why it’s one of my very favourite sporting events. But there’s a whole heap of business behind all that top-class sport, which is where this blog comes in: below you’ll find my selection of relevant and hopefully interesting pieces on the global sports industry – profiles, features, interviews and analysis. It’ll almost certainly make you more informed at your sports industry water cooler of choice, your next cocktail reception or riveting networking breakfast. Got the gist? Good. To business.

This week’s sports industry must-reads

•  This week in sports politics, FINA, the governing body of world aquatics, re-elected its 81-year old president Julio Maglione. But that’s really only a small sliver of the story. Alan Abrahamson was among those prowling the hotel lobby in Budapest this week, as the administrators of one of the Olympics’ most high-profile sports gathered ahead of the World Aquatics Championships, and has all the important context and analysis in this terrific piece. This, meanwhile, is a damning verdict on the sport’s governance and governors by Swim Vortex’s Craig Lord.

•  A major sports industry move last week as Sophie Goldschmidt, once of the RFU and latterly of the CSM agency, was appointed the new CEO of the World Surf League. SportsPro’s Michael Long bagged one of the first interviews with Goldschmidt following the announcement, in which she outlines her belief that surfing is poised for a significant global breakthrough.

•  Rumours abound that Porsche, fresh from yet another triumph at Le Mans, is poised to withdraw from the top category of sportscar racing, LMP1 – perhaps as soon as at the end of this season. Gary Watkins explains what’s going on – and examines the modern considerations a car manufacturer must make when deciding on its motorsport strategy – in this excellent piece of analysis for Motor Sport.

•  Sports leagues moving beyond their traditional geographical boundaries, in the quest for more money and new fans, is an ongoing industry trend. Last week came reports of one of the most unexpected expansions yet, with rugby union’s Pro 12 league – currently featuring teams from Wales, Ireland, Scotland and Italy – set to include two South African franchises from next season. The BBC’s Tom English expertly fills in the blanks in this must-read piece.

•  In a somewhat similar vein, some interesting comment here from Richard Scudamore, executive chairman of the Premier League, on the prospect of one day playing competitive games outside the UK. It’s an idea he’s floated before, of course, but he returned to the theme in conversation with a group of journalists including the South China Morning Post’s James Porteous last week in Hong Kong, where the league has been staging its pre-season Asia Trophy,

•  Here’s Sportcal’s Martin Ross with a personal view well worth reading on Uefa’s growing desire to put live Champions League games behind a paywall in its major markets.

•  A fascinating read on a slightly uncomfortable subject here by Bloomberg Businessweek’s Lauren Coleman-Lochner, and one with plenty of relevance to sport: the marketing rights of dead celebrities.

•  This is an excellent piece, by Emre Sarigul for the Guardian, on Turkish football club Besiktas’ recent progress on and off the field – and the Istanbul club’s plans to look beyond Turkish borders in the same way as other European football heavyweights.

•  In this piece, reprinted on the Sports Illustrated website this week after featuring in a recent edition of the magazine, Jacob Feldman asks what cricket and its introduction of the Twenty20 format can teach American sports currently hesitating over whether to tweak their own rules for the modern world.

•  A very good Washington Post piece here, by Tim Bontemps, on the NBA’s efforts to ‘own’ July, traditionally the slowest month for America’s major leagues. You will not be surprised, given the way everything the NBA touches appears to turn to gold, to hear that those efforts have been effective.

That’s your lot for this week – thanks, as always, for reading and don’t forget to share the existence of this blog with friends and colleagues; you know it makes sense. You can get in touch, for any reason, via email – davidcushnan@gmail.com – or on Twitter: @DavidCushnan. Until next time.

This week’s sports industry reading list

Hello, global sports industry and welcome to my sports industry reading list, a handpicked (clicked?) selection of the pieces you really ought to be reading this week if you work in sport, or simply want to know more about the business behind it. As you’ll be all too aware if you’re a regular reader, what follows below includes profiles, interviews, features, analysis and opinion from all corners of the internet – newspaper websites to specialist sports platforms, the trade media and other blogs. Those are the terms and conditions: let’s get to this week’s essential reading. To business:

This week’s sports industry must-reads

•  Few men have had as much influence over the way we watch sport on TV than David Hill. The former Fox executive offers his latest bets for the future of sports broadcasting to John Ourand in this fascinating Sports Business Journal piece.

•  In a week of some note for the Olympics (a step closer to awarding the 2024 and 2028 Games simultaneously and the launch of the Olympic Channel in the United States), Phil Hersch, on his Globetrotter blog, phoned up Peter Ueberroth, architect of the event the last time Los Angeles played host to the Games 33 years ago, and “gave him the chance to gloat”.

•  And speaking of the launch of the American version of the Olympic Channel (or to give it its full title, Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA), here’s the story of how it came to be and what it’s intended to be, explained with typical style by Sports Illustrated’s Richard Deitsch.

•  I once interviewed Agustin Pichot and he is undoubtedly one of the most impressive athlete-turned-administrators I’ve encountered. The vice chairman of World Rugby’s thoughts on the future of his sport, as told to the Daily Telegraph’s Daniel Schofield, are well worth reading.

•  This Chuck Blazer obituary, written by the Guardian’s Michael Carlson, following the football administrator’s death last week, is a reminder of an influential and controversial life.

•  The football transfer window, as you can’t fail to have noticed (the draft is, frankly, unavoidable), wide open. I enjoyed this Independent piece, by lawyer and prominent tweeter Jake Cohen, which cuts through the flim-flam to reveal the realities of a major transfer.

• Maybe – maybe – the most interesting transfer of the summer in the Premier League is the appointment of journalist Tony Barrett as the head of club and supporter liaison. Barrett sat down with the Liverpool Echo’s Andy Kelly to explain his new role and his plans for shaping it.

•  It’s been a year since WME-IMG acquired the Ultimate Fighting Championship. ESPN’s expert-in-chief Darren Rovell has been avidly reporting and tweeting about the organisation’s highs and lows throughout that period: his first year business report card is worth your time.

•  A fascinating long-read here, pulled together expertly by Mark J. Burns for Forbes, on the rise and rise of sports/popular culture/lifestyle digital platform Barstool Sports.

•  Blink (over a 24 hour period) and you’d have missed it, but I posted my first Instagram Stories content this week. Turns out I’m not the only one, as this Digiday UK piece by Lucia Moses, reflecting the rise of Instagram and (perhaps) the decline of Snapchat, underlines.

So that’s your lot for this week, but if you think I’ve missed something or have any other feedback do let me know – either via email, davidcushnan@gmail.com, or on Twitter, where I can be found @DavidCushnan. Until next time.

 

 

 

 

This week’s sports industry reading list

This is the sports industry reading list, your relatively regular guide to what to read if sport is your business, or you’re simply keen to know more about the way global sport is financed and organised. As usual, there’s a real mix featured below: interviews, analysis, profiles, long-form pieces and five-minute reads, sourced from across the world wide web – from newspaper sites to specialist sport platforms, the industry trade media to personal blogs. With that, you’re fully up to speed so let’s get cracking with a selection of pieces from the past couple of weeks. To business:

•  To begin, a couple of pieces published immediately before the start of Wimbledon last week: Sean Ingle in the Guardian produced this superb piece on how the All England Club is moving with the times, while the Mail on Sunday’s Nick Harris told the remarkable tale of Sir David Attenborough’s pivotal role in tennis history.

•  After 37 years, multiple world titles and no little controversy, Ron Dennis has finally severed ties with McLaren – the racing team he built into a multi-faceted technology group. The BBC’s Andrew Benson put together this must-read piece on one of the most significant figures in Formula One history.

•  As if to underline the transition from old McLaren to new McLaren, here’s an interesting LinkedIn post, authored by the team’s executive director Zak Brown, outlining Formula One’s Asian opportunity.

•  Sticking with motorsport, Jeff Gluck, writing on his eponymous blog, has expertly delved into the complex world of Nascar’s merchandising operation.

•  The latest in Callum Murray’s excellent series of interviews with sports industry heavyweights sees him sit down with Michael Payne, the former International Olympic Committee marketing director-turned-adviser to various bids, federations, properties and brands.

•  The Tour de France is moving into its second week, with rights-holding broadcasters now being offered live coverage of every second of every stage. The superb Inner Ring blog examines the French TV landscape to explain why.

•  The debate over how elite sport is funded in the UK rumbled on and I thought this, an open letter from former badminton player Gail Emms to new UK Sport chair Katherine Grainger, was a particularly noteworthy recent contribution.

•  Canada celebrated its 150th anniversary a week or so ago and to mark the occasion Sportsnet’s Stephen Brunt produced this fascinating long read on the country’s continuing obsession with hockey.

•  A typically thoughtful piece here from SportsPro deputy editor Adam Nelson, published in the wake of the release of the magazine’s 50 Most Marketable Athletes list, on the crossovers between sport and popular culture.

•  And finally here’s that authoritative piece on the challenge of making Australian horse racing relevant to a younger generation you’ve been waiting for, by the Sydney Morning Herald’s Chris Roots.

Those are the sports business pieces you ought to be reading this week. Thanks for reading, as ever. And as ever, you can reach me via email – davidcushnan@gmail.com – or on Twitter: @DavidCushnan