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 firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter – @DavidCushnan. Until next time.