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 – – or on Twitter: @DavidCushnan


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, or click here to find my Twitter account. Until next time.


This week’s sports industry reading list

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.
  • 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.
  • 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 – and you can find me on Twitter @DavidCushnan. Happy New Year.

This week’s sports industry reading list

It’s time. A major multi-sport global gathering, packed full of fascinating stories, inspiring huge debate and intrigue every time, is finally upon us once again. That’s right, it’s time for another edition of the sports industry reading list, your regular handpicked selection of interesting, relevant and sometimes mission-critical pieces on the global business of sport. In this week when the Olympic Games also start, to business:

This week’s sports industry must-reads

  • Rio 2016 is finally upon us and my goodness it’s been quite the journey since Jacques Rogge announced, some seven years ago, South America would host its first Games. Back then, as editor of SportsPro, I asked Michael Payne, the IOC’s former marketing director and a noted Olympic consultant, to write the story of a winning bid that he had played a part in. I happened across the piece again this week, reprinted in its unedited form on Payne’s website, and it’s well worth a read for some essential background on the genesis of Rio’s Games.
  • Is Stan Kroenke really sport’s most powerful man? I’m not sure, but with big investments in the Premier League and NFL he’s well worth a Daily Mail profile. This, written by Matt Barlow, contains lots of interesting little nuggets about an elusive yet clearly highly ambitious sports investor.
  • Barely a week now goes by without some sort of significant investment in sport by a Chinese firm or individual and frankly it’s becoming tricky to keep up with the number of European football clubs that are being fuelled by Chinese yuan. On his China Sports Insider blog Mark Dreyer, who has been based in the country for many years, has reprinted a fascinating recent interview he gave to Sky Sports on the subject of Chinese takeovers.

That’s all for now. As always, feedback is welcomed via email – – or on Twitter: @DavidCushnan. Until next time, enjoy the Games.



This week’s sports industry reading list

Thanks for stopping by – or stumbling across – the sports industry reading list, your one-stop, hopefully handy guide to the best, most interesting and most useful recent writing about the global business of sport. As usual, I’ve selected a mix of interviews, profiles and analysis from a variety of sources – newspaper websites, specialist sport outlets and the sports industry trade press. Ready? Set? To business:

This week’s sports industry must-reads

  • The Olympic Games are but a month away. Like many, NBC have been preparing for Rio 2016 for years and this Ad Week interview with Jon Miller, NBC Olympics’ chief marketing officer, is a useful guide to the network’s promotional plans for the next few weeks. A.J. Katz asks the questions.
  • Kevin Durant’s announcement (made, as is the way in the modern world, via Derek Jeter’s Player’s Tribune website) that he’s joining the Golden State Warriors has understandably made waves. This interesting Sports Techie analysis of the motives behind the move posits the theory that the draw of Silicon Valley was magnetic.
  • Fitting neatly into this list’s occasional ‘not directly sports business-related but perhaps relevant for anyone whose business is sport’ category, here’s a fascinating piece from The Drum on The Pool, an online outlet aimed at professional women. Katie McQuater’s piece is well worth your time, especially if content creation’s your game (which it almost certainly is).
  • And a ‘sports industry must-listen’ to round things off. Adam Parsons’ Wake Up to Money programme on BBC Radio 5 Live has spawned a sports business spin-off – and an accompanying podcast. The first edition features, amongst others, British Olympic Association chief executive Bill Sweeney.

As always, all feedback is welcome. You can get in touch by emailing or on Twitter, @DavidCushnan.