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.

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This week’s sports industry reading list

Hello, global sports industry and welcome to my sports industry reading list, a handpicked (clicked?) selection of the pieces you really ought to be reading this week if you work in sport, or simply want to know more about the business behind it. As you’ll be all too aware if you’re a regular reader, what follows below includes profiles, interviews, features, analysis and opinion from all corners of the internet – newspaper websites to specialist sports platforms, the trade media and other blogs. Those are the terms and conditions: let’s get to this week’s essential reading. To business:

This week’s sports industry must-reads

•  Few men have had as much influence over the way we watch sport on TV than David Hill. The former Fox executive offers his latest bets for the future of sports broadcasting to John Ourand in this fascinating Sports Business Journal piece.

•  In a week of some note for the Olympics (a step closer to awarding the 2024 and 2028 Games simultaneously and the launch of the Olympic Channel in the United States), Phil Hersch, on his Globetrotter blog, phoned up Peter Ueberroth, architect of the event the last time Los Angeles played host to the Games 33 years ago, and “gave him the chance to gloat”.

•  And speaking of the launch of the American version of the Olympic Channel (or to give it its full title, Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA), here’s the story of how it came to be and what it’s intended to be, explained with typical style by Sports Illustrated’s Richard Deitsch.

•  I once interviewed Agustin Pichot and he is undoubtedly one of the most impressive athlete-turned-administrators I’ve encountered. The vice chairman of World Rugby’s thoughts on the future of his sport, as told to the Daily Telegraph’s Daniel Schofield, are well worth reading.

•  This Chuck Blazer obituary, written by the Guardian’s Michael Carlson, following the football administrator’s death last week, is a reminder of an influential and controversial life.

•  The football transfer window, as you can’t fail to have noticed (the draft is, frankly, unavoidable), wide open. I enjoyed this Independent piece, by lawyer and prominent tweeter Jake Cohen, which cuts through the flim-flam to reveal the realities of a major transfer.

• Maybe – maybe – the most interesting transfer of the summer in the Premier League is the appointment of journalist Tony Barrett as the head of club and supporter liaison. Barrett sat down with the Liverpool Echo’s Andy Kelly to explain his new role and his plans for shaping it.

•  It’s been a year since WME-IMG acquired the Ultimate Fighting Championship. ESPN’s expert-in-chief Darren Rovell has been avidly reporting and tweeting about the organisation’s highs and lows throughout that period: his first year business report card is worth your time.

•  A fascinating long-read here, pulled together expertly by Mark J. Burns for Forbes, on the rise and rise of sports/popular culture/lifestyle digital platform Barstool Sports.

•  Blink (over a 24 hour period) and you’d have missed it, but I posted my first Instagram Stories content this week. Turns out I’m not the only one, as this Digiday UK piece by Lucia Moses, reflecting the rise of Instagram and (perhaps) the decline of Snapchat, underlines.

So that’s your lot for this week, but if you think I’ve missed something or have any other feedback do let me know – either via email, davidcushnan@gmail.com, or on Twitter, where I can be found @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 – davidcushnan@gmail.com – or on Twitter: @DavidCushnan

This week’s sports industry reading list

Hi there sports (business) fans and welcome along to the latest edition of my sports industry reading list, your hopefully essential weekly guide to interesting and informative pieces about the global business of sport. As always, all feedback is gratefully received – davidcushnan@gmail.com and, on Twitter, @DavidCushnan – and, if you like it and/or find these lists useful, do spread the word and encourage colleagues and networking pals across the industry to give it a go. Self-promotion done; to business:

This week’s sports industry must-reads

  • The NBA is pushing boundaries again. No sooner had it announced the formation of an eSports league, it confirmed that Gatorade will be the title sponsor of its developmental league – the first time a US professional team sports league has sold naming rights. Michael McCann, Sports Illustrated’s legal analyst, breaks down an intriguing sponsorship deal.
  • Patrick Nally, known widely as the founding father of international sports sponsorship, has written this extremely interesting account of the challenges involved in establishing the International Federation of Poker, published this week on Inside the Games.
  • In an age where everyone has the ability to be a broadcaster, so-called ‘Fan TV’ channels have sprung up across the internet, delivering unofficial and no-holds barred comment from ‘real fans’ as an antidote to the somewhat staid punditry from ex-players and managers that’s commonly found on traditional broadcast television. These fan channels certainly divide opinion and here’s a very good Guardian piece on the topic, by Paul MacInnes.
  • Sticking (sort of) with motorsport, I’m an unashamed admirer of McLaren Applied Technologies, sister company of the Grand Prix team, and its work applying Formula One technology and data expertise to other industries. This superb piece by New Electronics’ Peggy Lee, focuses on the company’s work in healthcare, helping to analyse medical data.
  • The European Tour has announced a bold new tournament, with a shorter, more punchy format. GolfSixes will be staged in the UK at the start of May, while another new format is being trialed at an event in Australia this weekend. Inevitably, it’s prompted plenty of debate and The Telegraph’s James Corrigan has written this excellent piece examining the ways in which golf is re-positioning itself as entertainment in the quest to draw new fans.
  • With a Rugby World Cup and Tokyo 2020 edging closer, the Japanese sports industry is going to be increasingly in the spotlight over the next few years. Sports Recruitment International has put together this interesting piece on talent acquisition in the country (which, not unreasonably, also promotes SRI’s services in the process), written by Yusuke Isoda.
  • A really interesting piece in the Washington Post, by Kevin B. Blackistone, discussing the possible longer-term impact on Under Armor of founder Kevin Plank’s recent comments in support of Donald Trump’s ‘America First’ agenda. It’s a must-read on a topic – brands taking a stance on a major policy or being drawn into a deeply divided political arena – that is not going away.

That’s all for this week. Come back next week – bring friends! – for more. Until then.

 

 

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

Welcome along – and make no mistake, everyone’s welcome here – to the sports industry reading list, my weekly guide to the best and most interesting writing on the global business of sport. Whether sport’s your business or you’re just keen to know more about how it’s funded and organised, I’m almost certain you’ll find something below you’ll want to click on. As usual, there’s a mix of analysis, longer-form features, profiles and interviews selected from a variety of sources: newspapers websites, specialist sport sites and sports trade media publications to name a few. Those are my terms and conditions. To business:

This week’s sports industry must-reads:

  • As Formula One was ringing the executive changes, Nascar was confirming major format changes designed to ensure every part of every race has implications for the overall championship and to insert natural advertising breaks for broadcast networks Fox and NBC. Respected Nascar journalist Jeff Gluck’s piece, on his newly-launched blog, is well worth a read to get up to speed.
  • A superb history, put together by John Ourand and the team at Sports Business Journal, of one of the more controversial innovations in sports broadcasting: Fox’s short-lived NHL glowing puck.

As always, you can get in touch via email – davidcushnan@gmail.com – or on Twitter. I’ll be back here next week to point you in the direction of more reading material; hope you will be too.

 

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 davidcushnan@gmail.com – and you can find me on Twitter @DavidCushnan. Happy New Year.

This week’s sports industry reading list

Welcome to the latest edition of the sports industry reading list, my regular handpicked selection of the most interesting, relevant writing on the global business of sport. As usual, the list includes profiles, interviews, features and analysis from a range of online publishers – newspapers, magazines, specialist sport sites, the sports industry trade media and blogs. Those are, loosely speaking, the rules so let’s get started. To business:

This week’s sports industry must-reads

  • The NFL regular season begins on Thursday and it’s a decade since Roger Goodell was appointed commissioner. His tenure has not been without significant controversy but he has also presided over a period of sustained growth for the league. The Associated Press has put together these two excellent summaries – here’s Barry Wilner on Goodell’s reign to date and the future challenges he faces.
  •  We’re fast-approaching conference season in the UK sports industry and connectivity, linked to enhancing the fan experience, will again inevitably be a central theme. On the eve of the new NFL season TechRepublic’s Teena Maddox delivered this fascinating long read – including plenty of interesting facts and figures – on how the league’s stadiums are being prepared for the online age.
  • eSports will also be high on the agenda at a number of conferences over the next few weeks – the sports industry seems utterly beguiled – and Leaders, now under the editorial command of James Emmett, has produced a refreshing take on a sportsport? – growing in prominence but not without sizeable challenges.
  • The Paralympic Games begin on Wednesday in Rio de Janeiro and Jacob Steinberg has written a superb scene-setter for the Guardian, with the background on the troubled build-up and the hope that, ultimately, it’ll be the sport that makes the headlines.
  • Tumultuous times in Formula One, with speculation swirling around the Monza paddock (and then, some time later, the internet) that  a buyout of the sport is imminent. At times like these, Joe Saward’s post-race notebook, over on his blog, is essential reading. Here’s his punchy Italian Grand Prix edition from Monday morning.
  • The US Open looks a bit different this year, with all sorts of improvements designed to improve the spectator experience. The New York Times’ Sarah Lyall examined the on-site changes last week, speaking to fans, players and executives for this excellent piece.
  • And finally, slotting into our popular ‘not-directly-about-the-sportsbiz-but-nonetheless-quite-interesting-and-pretty-relevant’ section, the Boston Globe’s Ty Burr provides a reminder that it’s not just sport that’s facing the challenge of a fragmenting media world and intense competition for eyeballs.

As always, all feedback’s welcome on Twitter – @DavidCushnan – or via email: davidcushnan@gmail.com

Until next time.

This week’s sports industry reading list

Immediately post-Olympics is one of those moments when the business of sport temporarily becomes a topic of mainstream interest and coverage: How much is this gold medalist now worth? Just how big (or otherwise) were those TV ratings? How much did the Games really cost Rio? And how much money does the silly swimmer from America actually stand to lose? The results are not always pretty (or accurate). Fear not, though, sports industry expert, because this blog has attempted over the last couple of weeks to be even more selective than usual  over in choosing only pieces of the highest quality. So here goes: as usual, what you’ll see below is a mix of work published by newspapers, online publishers, the sports business trade press and specialist sports outlets. To business:

This week’s sports industry must-reads

  • Profiles of ESPN captain John Skipper are not uncommon but they’re mostly well worth reading, particularly at a time when the self-styled ‘Worldwide Leader in Sports’ is grappling with the big challenges of media fragmentation and changing consumption habits. This, by Rick Maese of the Washington Post, paints a fascinating picture of one of sport’s most powerful executives.
  • In the age where great storytelling and good content, distributed effectively, are seen as the keys to unlocking greater value for rights holders and brands across sport, I thought this was a particularly interesting and relevant piece – Joseph Lichterman, writing for Nieman Lab, looks at the strategy being employed by one Mexican sports media outlet.

That’s all for now. More soon. In the meantime, feel free to get in touch either via email – davidcushnan@gmail.com – or on Twitter.

 

 

This week’s sports industry reading (and listening) list

Time for another sports industry reading list, my hopefully handy guide to the best writing on the global business of sport from all corners of the internet – do bookmark if sport is your business, or you’re simply fascinated by how sport is organised, funded and governed. Two sizeable stories this week, as the NFL confirmed its return to Los Angeles and the melodrama/meltdown continued at the IAAF – so here goes:

This week’s sports industry must-reads

  • After years of politics and process, NFL owners finally confirmed the league’s return to Los Angeles last week, approving the relocation of Stan Kroenke’s  Rams from St. Louis in time for the start of next season. And there have been plenty of interesting pieces to pick over in the aftermath. In the LA Times, Sam Farmer and Nathan Fenno took a detailed look at last Tuesday’s NFL owners’ meeting where the votes were cast.
  • It was published before the release of the second part of the independent commission’s report, but nonetheless Alastair Campbell’s GQ interview with Coe offers a glimpse into the IAAF president’s mindset as he faces perhaps his biggest challenge to date. There’s some fascinating nuggets in there.
  • Overshadowed somewhat in recent weeks by the crisis engulfing the IAAF, Fifa is just weeks away from electing its new president. Simon Kuper’s interview with one of the candidates, Prince Ali of Jordan, in the Financial Times is recommended reading.
  • An interesting move recently by the NFL’s Cleveland Browns, as they hired Paul DePodestra as chief strategy officer. DePodestra’s background is in baseball and this profile by Vice Sports’ Mike Vorkunov, featuring DePodestra’s first public comments since his appointment was announced, is a fascinating look at the advantages and risks of a fresh perspective at a major professional team.
  • Like many industries, the sports business is not short of awards. Seven League’s Richard Ayres, a winner and a judge in his time, has put together this punchy guide to how to give yourself the best chance of winning one – and how to guarantee you won’t.

This week’s sports industry pick of the podcasts

In the first of an irregular series, here’s three podcast episodes you really ought to download this week in order to be fully up to speed with the global sports industry.

  • Bill Simmons’ take on the NFL’s return to Los Angeles was always going to be worth listening to. In conversation with journalist and author Malcolm Gladwell, his latest podcast episode is particularly interesting on the economics of football stadiums, the curious role of Disney CEO Bob Iger in the relocation process and US sports team ownership in general.
  • BBC sports editor Dan Roan pulled off a coup this week, interviewing Allen Stanford – he of the helicopter on the pitch at Lord’s – from prison, where the financier is serving a 110-year sentence for fraud on a remarkable scale. The resulting BBC Radio 5 Live programme, which has been converted into a podcast, is compelling listening.
  • The latest SportsPro podcast is online, anchored consummately as ever by editorial director James Emmett. This latest episode features snippets from a series of interviews with prominent sports bloggers, including football finance expert Swiss Ramble and renowned Formula One journalist Joe Saward, as well as the usual high-level chit-chat from the SportsPro editorial team.

Feel free to let me know what you think of the blog via email, davidcushnan@gmail.com, or Twitter. Until next time.