Thanks for stopping by for this, the first sports industry reading list of 2016. If you’re a new reader, this is my weekly (ish) pick of the best writing on the global business of sport from around the internet – a mix of profiles, columns, features from bloggers, journalists and industry insiders. If you’re already a regular, welcome back. To business: here’s my choice of the best pieces from over the festive period and this first week of January.
This week’s sports industry must-reads
- Published on Boxing Day, the Mail on Sunday’s Oliver Holt interviewed Toto Wolff, head of Mercedes-Benz’s motorsport division and the man at the top of Formula One’s dominant team. I’ve read and watched plenty of interviews with Wolff, but Holt brings the fresh perspective of a non-Formula One specialist (although he knows his stuff, having covered the sport for the Times in the 1990s) – he teases out some really interesting lines on how to handle his pair of star drivers and how further domination might ultimately risk harming Mercedes’ brand. It’s well worth a read.
- It’s not a new debate, but I thought there was a lot of sense in this piece by Michael Vaughan, the former England cricket captain-turned-Telegraph columnist, on the need to revitalise the format to make it more appealing for a younger audience.
- It’s Olympic year and there’ll be no shortage of pieces on Brazil and final preparations over the coming months. This sober Economist piece sets the scene by starkly getting to the nub of the country’s economic problems.
- Rio 2016 naturally features in this Inside the Games piece, as Nick Butler assesses what to look out for in the Olympic movement – sporting, commercial and political – over the coming 12 months.
- Incidentally, former Chicago Tribune journalist Philip Hersh has a new blog, likely to feature its fair share of Olympic coverage, worth bookmarking. It’s called Globetrotting.
- Ken Belson, writing in the New York Times, put together this fascinating piece on Frisco, Texas – the home of the Dallas Cowboys’ fairly remarkable new training facility; the piece also examines the growing commercialisation of NFL training facilities, led, predictably enough, by Cowboys owner Jerry Jones.
- And sticking with the NFL, this is a good piece on the (gradual) changing face of NFL Films, purveyors for so long of the cinematic, montage-heavy footage that the league trades on, in a digital world – it’s written by Wired’s Brian Barrett as part of a collaboration with Sports Illustrated.
- And finally, Mark Burns, a Forbes contributor, must have spent a fair old time gathering these 2016 forecasts from a host of sports business personalities. There is some obvious stuff and a few very safe bets in among the 20,000 words that followed (plus a lot of eSports), but there’s a few gems in there too. Put some time aside and have a read.