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, or on Twitter – @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 – – or on Twitter: @DavidCushnan

This week’s sports industry reading list

Congratulations, sports industry aficionados, because you’ve stumbled across the sports industry reading list – a regular selection of the best, most interesting and most relevant pieces about the global business and politics of sport. I’m your curator and I’ve spent much of the past few days carefully scouring the web for the finest profiles, interviews, features, analysis and opinion, quite simply for your reading pleasure. Here are the results. To business.

This week’s sports industry must-reads

•  In the wake of the announcement that McDonald’s has terminated its Olympic sponsorship, and the IOC’s confirmation last week that Intel has joined the ranks of TOP partners, there has been plenty of, frankly, half-baked analysis from some who should know better. Thank goodness, then, for this eminently sensible assessment of the current status of Olympic sponsors and finances  from Inside the Games’ David Owen.

•  This is an illuminating oral history of NFL Europe, by ESPN’s Jon Gold, ten years after the National Football League called time on the project.

•  A piece well worth reading here by Nascar’s vice president of analytics and insights, Norris Scott, and published recently in the Journal of Digital and Social Media Marketing, examining sponsorship return on investment in what the cool kids are now calling an omni-channel world.

•  Igor Rabiner has written a lengthy but fascinating feature for The Blizzard charting the rise and fall and rise of AS Monaco, newly-crowned Ligue 1 champions and darlings of last season’s Champion’s League.

•  A typically incisive piece by Christopher Clarey for the New York Times on what the next chapter of the America’s Cup might look like, and the starkly differing philosophies of the two teams in contention to shape it, Oracle Team USA and Emirates Team New Zealand.

•  Andrew Brandt’s latest Business of Football column for MMQB examines the tricky subject of ‘tanking’ and how long-term thinking can be the key to success for NFL franchises, even if it is at the expense of short-term gains.

•  New Formula One chief executive Chase Carey was on stage at the FIA’s Sport Conference in Geneva last week and he also recently gave James Allen an interview, published on the excellent James Allen on F1 blog, in which he considered the always-interesting subject of where the balance lies between sport and technology.

•  Sticking with motorsport, if you were looking for something on the business behind the Autopolis circuit in Japan – host of, among other things, the country’s popular Super GT category – then you’re luck’s in, thanks to Oscar Boyd and the Japan Times.

•   An interesting perspective, which may divide opinion, from Tod Meisner for Front Office Sports, on Snapchat and the sports industry.

This is a fun ‘behind-the-scenes of the broadcast’ piece (the best type of behind-the-scenes pieces) peeling back the curtain on British channel ITV’s coverage of Royal Ascot, by the Daily Telegraph’s Alan Tyers.

•  Manny Pacquiao fights Australian Jeff Horn in Brisbane this coming weekend and I enjoyed this, by Grantlee Kieza of local newspaper the Courier Mail, on how and why it’s happening.

That’s this week’s recommended reading – do tune your web browser this way once again next week for more. In the meantime, all feedback’s welcome – you can get in touch via email ( or find me on Twitter, @DavidCushnan. Until next time.

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.

This week’s sports industry reading list

Another busy sports industry week concludes, so it’s high time I picked out some of the best and most interesting writing on the sports business from the past few days – after all, that’s what you’re here for. But first, a word on SportsPro Live, the third edition of which took place at Wembley Stadium in London this week. I’m more than a little biased, of course, but I thought it was a terrific event, the best yet, and in an industry full to the brim with conferences it has set a standard in terms of tone and content. (I agree with much of this post by Johnny Murch of RedTorch, who was also at Wembley). I also know just how bloody difficult it is to organise a sports industry conference, so full marks to the whole SportsPro team for a job superbly done. (Incidentally, you can relive the whole thing here). Now, to business.

This week’s sports industry must-reads

  • Oh Formula One. An entertaining first Grand  Prix of the season last weekend was somewhat overshadowed by the dismal failure of the new elimination qualifying format, which shone a light on the sport’s tortuous political and governance structure and prompted the drivers to publish an open letter calling for change. Two standout pieces followed:’s Jonathan Noble produced this typically incisive analysis of the sport’s current political landscape and Joe Saward published this superb piece on his blog.
  • With Beijing now confirmed as host of the 2022 winter Olympics, the Ski Asia website published this interesting piece, examining Thaiwoo Ski Resort in China, one of a huge number of  facilities springing up to meet the (apparent) demand for winter sports in the country.

That’s all for this week. As always, I’m contactable at and on Twitter: @DavidCushnan. Happy Easter.


This week’s sports industry reading list

This is the sports industry reading list, your regular guide to the profiles, features, columns, opinions and essays you really ought to be reading if your business is sport, or if you have even a passing interest in how sport is governed, financed and organised. It’s been a busy week, so let’s get cracking right away. To business:

This week’s sports industry must-reads

  • A key milestone this week in the long trek towards the 2024 summer Olympic Games host city announcement, as the four contenders delivered part one of their candidature files to IOC headquarters in Switzerland. Los Angeles became the third of the four to launch its official bid logo, Paris and Rome held big bid launch events, while Budapest has so far opted for a more low-key approach. The candidature files themselves – Los Angeles 2024, Budapest 2024, Paris 2024, Rome 2024 – are always worth a look and are always full of interesting detail. (How much of that detail is actually read by voting IOC members is, of course, another story entirely).
  • Fifa votes in its new president next week, so you’ll be reading plenty about the contenders, their merits and their baggage over the next few days. My pick of the many Fifa-related pieces from this week, however, is this beautifully presented and superbly researched ESPN story on the FBI investigation into the organisation, put together by Shaun Assael and Brett Forrest.
  • ESPN published another superb long read this week, as Don Van Natta Jr. and Seth Wickersham told the story of the NFL’s decision to relocate the Rams, formerly of St. Louis, to Los Angeles. It’s a great read, one of those that ‘puts you in the room’ as the NFL owners negotiated and argued their way to a deal.
  • Through bold acquisitions and a striking series of investments in teams, players and properties, China has been making plenty of noise across the sports industry in recent times. Professor Simon Chadwick, now of Salford University’s Sports Business Centre, knitted together some of the big issues for this highly- readable primer in Newsweek.
  • Sticking with football, this is a very good, punchy piece from late last week by Simon Hughes of the Independent on the Liverpool FC ticket pricing mess, the club’s reaction and the role of chief executive Ian Ayre.
  • Sportcal’s Martin Ross picked up on something interesting this week, when Scottish football fans, denied live TV coverage of Scottish Cup replays thanks to Uefa rights restrictions, turned to Periscope. His write-up is well worth a read.
  • Formula One is slowly rolling back into life after the long, dark winter but even before the 2016 season begins the sport’s focus seems to be on 2017, when a major revision of the rules is scheduled. editor-in-chief Charles Bradley picked up on some recent comments by Sebastian Vettel and wrote this, pondering Formula One’s future.

That’s all for this week. Be back here at approximately the same time next week for more subject-specific reading material. In the meantime, do feel free to email, share and/or tweet.

This week’s sports industry reading list

In a week of new logos (this one and this one), it’s time for something that has quickly become a magnificent weekly tradition: the sports industry reading list, where I select the best sports business stories, profiles, columns, think-pieces and long-form features from the past week. You know what to do next. Scroll down, sit back and bathe in great writing on interesting topics. To business:

This week’s sports industry must-reads:

  • It was the Super Bowl on Sunday. (Spoiler alert: do not read on if you’ve recorded the game and don’t want to know who won). The Denver Broncos won. And another NFL season finished with all the razzmatazz we’ve come to expect from a league which thrives on hype. Written before the game and something I should have included last week was this terrific profile of the NFL, its commissioner and its owners – AKA ‘the Membership’ – by the New York Times’ Mark Leibovich.
  • There was an important milestone in PyeongChang’s preparations for the 2018 winter Olympic Games this week, with the first major test event – a men’s downhill World Cup race at the newly-constructed Jeongseon Alpine Centre. Alan Abrahamson was there and posted his authoritative verdict on his 3 Wire Sports blog.
  • And finally, a superbly detailed long read (superbly presented, too) by Milton C. Toby for Blood Horse about the disappearance of the legendary Shergar and the impact the mystery had on the Irish racing industry.

Thanks for reading and do return for the next instalment next week. Feedback welcome via and on Twitter: @DavidCushnan