I earned two journalism degrees back in the pre-Internet days when a career as a print or broadcast reporter was still a realistic pursuit for someone who wanted to earn a decent living.
I was fortunate that I stumbled upon a writing/reporting position covering sports and event sponsorship as my first job, one that pivoted into sponsorship consulting, content marketing and more.
But my background is not the reason I want to shine a light on the people currently delivering outstanding coverage of our business. I genuinely appreciate the key role they play adding to our collective knowledge bank; contributions that we often take for granted but which make our jobs immeasurably easier and are the result of a great deal of hard work.
Unless you’ve done it, business reporting of any kind probably appears much easier than it actually is. Persuading companies, teams, agencies, etc. to share valuable information about their business dealings is a tough hill to climb. Unless the publication you work for is fine rehashing press releases—or, even worse, repackaging another outlet’s original content without credit—a job as a sports business journalist is no walk in the (ball)park.
Calling out individuals is dangerous, as I’m bound to leave someone deserving off this list, but the following magnificent seven (in alphabetical order)—as well as many of their colleagues at the excellent publications where they work—have earned my deep gratitude and respect in addition to being my go-tos for sports business information:
- Sam Carp, Features Editor, SportsPro. Sam’s fortnightly sponsorship briefing and other articles for the U.K. publication are not to be missed no matter where you are based on the planet.
- James Emmett, Editor-at-Large, Leaders. Sticking with the Brits and their apparent penchant for biweekly content, James produces the entertaining and educational Leaders Digest.
- Ben Fischer, Staff Writer, Sports Business Journal. Amid a slew of talented SBJ journalists, Ben’s prolific NFL and football reporting stands out not only for its breadth, but its depth—no easy feat when trying to pry information out of the NFL’s Park Avenue fortress or any of its franchises.
- Daniel Kaplan. Caught up in the economics of the publishing industry, Daniel’s position as staff writer, sports business for The Athletic was eliminated in June. He continues to publish articles on his own as his search for another full-time reporting gig continues. We will all benefit if he lands one soon.
- Corey Leff, Founder, JohnWallStreet. A non-traditional journalist with a publication that has taken a non-traditional path to success as an e-newsletter, Corey’s information is less investigative and more a unique perspective from often unheard corners of the sports business.
- Eben Novy Williams, Sports Business Reporter, Sportico. Among many fine writers at Sportico, Eben regularly produces exclusive reporting chock full of valuable data and details that no one else in the industry is able to surface.
- Tariq Panja, Global Sports Reporter, The New York Times. As the world’s biggest and arguably most important sport, the business of soccer deserves outstanding coverage and it gets it in spades from Tariq.