This week’s sports industry reading list

Time for another sports industry reading list, my selection of the week’s most interesting, relevant and – whisper it – perhaps even useful pieces about the global business of sport. As per, below you’ll find the usual mix of interviews, profiles, long-form features, punchy analysis and opinion. What you won’t find this week is anything on the biggest sports money story of the week, Neymar’s record-shattering transfer from Barcelona to Paris (Qatari branch). Like you, I’ve read all sorts of ‘hot takes’ on what it all might mean for Barca, PSG, football in general and global geo-politics. And, if I’m honest, I’m a bit bored of it, so for this week at least this list is a Neymar-free zone. Don’t fret, though – there’s still plenty of fascinating subjects and pieces to get your teeth into. So let’s get to it. To business:

This week’s sports industry must-reads

•  Los Angeles announced its candidacy for the 2028 summer Olympic Games last week, the next step in the somewhat tortuous procedure that will ultimately see the 2024 and 2028 Games hosts officially confirmed in September. But to all intents and purposes it’s done, and in a big week for the Olympics – and in the odd circumstances of being at the start of an 11 year countdown – here’s a view from LA, by the Los Angeles Times’ Bill Plaschke.

•  The Championship – for the uninitiated, that’s English football’s second tier – began on Friday and I’ve developed a small theory that, at least on the business side of things, it’s a far more interesting place than the Premier League this season. There’s big clubs, new and interesting owners, plenty of peril and lots and lots of ambition. In an attempt to convince you, here are three eve-of-season pieces well worth your time: The Telegraph’s Sam Wallace sat down with Leeds United’s new owner, Andrea Radrizzani to hear his plans to rebuild the club; Rory Smith’s latest missive for the New York Times saw him examine the curious new ownership of Wolverhampton Wanderers and the links to so-called super agent Jorge Mendes; and Dan McLaren’s latest Digital Sport Insider Podcast episode was a fascinating conversation with Middlesbrough’s Head of Digital and Marketing Development, Bob Tait.

•  A column well worth reading here by the Washington Post’s Dan Steinberg on his experience at last week’s Citi Open ATP World Tour event in the city – I think it’s a comment on what seems to be some odd scheduling (and the weather), but you’re probably best served by reading it and draw your own conclusions.

•  This is a very good piece, by Adam Elder and published by the Guardian, on the motivations behind the recent spate of footballer investments in American soccer clubs – and why entering at Major League Soccer level isn’t necessarily the be-all and end-all.

•  In the week when it dipped another of its seemingly infinite number of toes into the world of sports rights, acquiring the ATP World Tour rights for its Prime service, this is a must-read piece by Wired’s Liat Clark outlining how Amazon intends to basically take over the world.

•  Last week this reading list recommended a piece on the downturn of LeEco’s fortunes. This week, it’s the turn of another big Chinese investor in sport, as the New York Times’ Keith Bradsher chronicles the problems facing Wanda.

•  Slightly late to this but, with the World Athletics Championships well underway, it’s still very relevant: Inside the Games’ Duncan Mackay expertly tells the compelling story of the long road travelled by London on the way to staging track and field’s showpiece standalone event.

•  And last but by no means least this week, Sports Business Journal executive editor Abraham D. Madkour caught up with sports business veteran Tony Ponturo, who made his name at the helm of Anheuser-Busch’s vast sports sponsorship portfolio and still has plenty of fingers in sports industry-flavoured pies.

That’s your lot for this week. As always, should you feel the need to drop me a line you can do so via email – davidcushnan@gmail.com – or on Twitter – @DavidCushnan. Until next time.

 

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This week’s sports industry reading list

Hello there, sports business operatives/middle managers/executives/interested observers, and the warmest of welcomes to the latest sports industry reading list. This is my selection of the most interesting, relevant and perhaps even useful pieces on the global business of sport from the past week or so – an eclectic mix, as you’ll discover, of profiles, interviews, long-form features, opinion and analysis. Don’t forget to share the word about this list with industry friends, colleagues and the rest of your ‘network’, if you like what you see below. Right, let’s get this underway. To business:

This week’s sports industry must-reads

•  Every once in a while a piece like this pops up, which takes a country, in this case South Korea, and a sport you wouldn’t particularly associate with it, in this case horse racing. This, by Henry Young and Aly Vance for CNN, on a burgeoning racing industry is fascinating.

•  The World Athletics Championships begin in London this coming Friday and the Guardian’s Martha Kelner sat down with Niels de Vos, chief executive of both UK Athletics and London 2017, for a status report as the final preparations happen.

•  MP & Silva’s enormous bid for Major League Soccer’s global media rights came to light last week. Deadspin’s Billy Haisley expertly broke down what we know and what it might mean.

•  This is a superb piece by Sports Illustrated’s Jeremy Woo, telling the story of the NBA’s first excursion to Russia back in 1988 when the Atlanta Hawks played three exhibition games in the USSR.

•  A piece here, by Engadget’s Cherlynn Low, that touches only briefly on sport but provides some important detail on the difficulties facing LeEco, one of the big spenders on sports rights in China over the past few years.

•  I listened to a very good podcast last week, which featured The Ringer’s Bill Simmons interviewing former Ticketmaster chief executive Nathan Hubbard. Turns out so did Michael Broughton, who followed up with this fascinating piece musing on the threat the ‘sharing economy’ might pose to the sports business.

•  It was five years last week since that fabulous evening in the Olympic Stadium when London 2012 began. Unsurprisingly there were a glut of pieces this week reflecting on the Games and its legacy, but two stuck out to me. The first is this terrific Guardian Cities piece, by Tim Burrows, on the physical and social legacies of the Olympic Park in east London. The second, by Synergy’s Tim Crow writing for Campaign Magazine, examines the post-Olympic UK sports sponsorship landscape.

•  An authoritative and illuminating New York Times profile, here, of Charlie Stillitano, the man behind many of the mega-friendlies we’re currently enjoying (or, if you prefer enduring) before the European season gets underway in a few weeks. It’s written by Kevin Draper.

•  And finally, I’ve very much enjoyed Alan Abrahamson’s dispatches from the World Aquatics Championships in Budapest on his 3 Wire Sports site this past week. In particular, this piece, discussing the relevance of Olympic sports like swimming in an era of sports-entertainment mash-ups such as Michael Phelps racing a shark, provides plenty of food for thought.

Those, then, are my sports industry must-reads for this week. Hopefully you’ll find something interesting, useful or just a bit thought provoking among them. As always, all feedback is welcome – you can reach me at davidcushnan@gmail.com, or on Twitter – @DavidCushnan. Until next time.

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

Now that Tom Brady/Lady Gaga have sorted out the Super Bowl, the way’s clear for the main event of the week: this sports industry reading list. Regular visitors to this part of the internet will know that below is my pick of the best and most interesting/useful/mission critical writing about the global business of sport, carefully collated over the past few days. As usual you’ll find a combination of interviews, analysis, opinion pieces, longer-form features and profiles. Intro completed, let’s get going. To business:

This week’s sports industry must-reads

  • The best Super Bowl ever was preceded by the usual week of hype, parties, celebrity appearances, fan experiences, business seminars and no little glad-handing in the host city, Houston. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell’s annual pre-game press conference always provides plenty of talking points and this recap from last week by The Score’s Michael McClymont, is especially handy for those of us an ocean away from the day-to-day business and politics of the league.
  • SportsPro’s Michael Long went to Manila to see the success of ONE Championship, the Asian mixed martial arts property, for himself. What’s not to like? (Note: this piece also includes the best description of one man breaking another’s nose you’re likely to read all week.)

Thanks for reading, as always. Drop me a digital line or two if the mood takes you, at davidcushnan@gmail.com, or click here to find my Twitter account. Until next time.

 

This week’s sports industry reading list

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.
  • 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.

As always, any feedback is much appreciated. You can find me on Twitter or send me an email. Do share widely and do come back next week for more required reading.