Time, once again, for the sports industry reading list, my weekly(ish) guide to pieces of note about the global business of sport. They might be profiles, interviews, opinion pieces or long-form features and they might be about sponsorship, media rights, fan engagement, the way big events are organised or an industry grand fromage. You get the idea, I’m sure, so let’s get underway. To business:
This week’s sports industry must-reads
- The BBC’s Greg Dunlop has an interesting tale from Australia, where a Facebook Live stream of a recent pay per view boxing bout has prompted a debate around rights infringements and underlined the challenges rights holders face in protecting their content. It’s a piece that has relevance for the entire the sports and media industries.
- The NBA last week announced it is partnering with 2K, publisher of the league’s official game, to create its own eSports series. Joe Favorito’s analysis on pretty much anything sports business-related is always smart, and this piece on the NBA’s latest innovation is no exception.
- Heineken is, of course, one of world sport’s most prominent sponsors so it’s always handy to keep up to speed with what the company’s global sponsorship chief Hans Erik Tuijt is thinking. Dan Cancian of the IB Times is asking the questions here.
- Nitro Athletics – athletics’ new entertainment product, fronted by one Usain Bolt – launched with three event nights in Australia over the last week or so. But what to make of the tweaked formats and fresh approach to track and field? Two interesting takes here: Athletics Weekly editor Jason Henderson is yet to be convinced, while The Australian’s senior sports commentator Patrick Smith offers a slightly more positive assessment.
- Put a bit of time aside to read SportsPro editor Eoin Connolly on the new US president – can’t for the life of me remember the name – and his dabbles over the years in and around sport.
- Was this the week when drone racing came of commercial age? It’s a ridiculous question, but what we can say with certainty is that Allianz has signed up as the new title sponsor of the Drone Racing League. And, perhaps as importantly, this new tech-sport is deemed worthy of a major – and very good – piece in the Observer, written by Simon Parkin.
- Jon Wertheim’s Sports Illustrated interview with Dana White, ringmaster of the UFC, covers plenty of ground – from election night to Ronda Rousey, working with Ari Emanuel to fighter welfare – and is absolutely riveting.
- And finally, for the ‘not really about the sports industry but relevant nonetheless’ pile, Gabriel Snyder’s Wired piece on how the New York Times is embracing new technology is essential reading for anyone wanting to understand more about the pressures on traditional media organisations in 2017.