The SportsThink Weekly Review #98
September 26, 2023: Fraud, Cable Sports, Art
Welcome new readers! The SportsThink Weekly Review highlights my favorite sport-related reading of the week. Most articles are recently published, but some are not; the only rule is that I’ve read them within the past week. Some are relevant to my day job as a professor teaching courses on the business, history, and philosophy of sports. Others are just plain interesting, relevant to my lifelong obsession with the games we play. I also occasionally share articles and assorted musings on Twitter. The newsletter is free, but comes with two requests. 1. I’m always open to suggestions, so send me the good stuff that you read! 2. If you enjoy the newsletter, please share it with other folks who might enjoy it as well. Finally, I try to focus on non-paywalled writing, but if you find yourself unable to access anything, just hit reply to the email and I’ll do my best to get you a copy. Thanks for reading!
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Howdy folks, hope the week is off to a great start. For those keeping track, it is now fall and it still hot in Texas, though slightly less so. More importantly, the Horns remain undefeated in football since the birth of my daughter.
Some good stuff this week, so let’s get to the content…
This is a good one!!! Highly recommended. At the intersection of my fascinations with sports, true crime, and gambling, it’s all here. Williams sets off to explore a short-lived, bogus cricket “league” and takes us deep into the world of staged sports in warehouses, money laundering, and the Russian mob. Long and totally worth it.
Ok, I’m moving backwards here, as this piece preceded one I shared last week, on the fallout of the Disney v. Charter cable programming beef. But this stands alone and is great. I gather Thompson is primarily writing from an investor’s perspective, but this is keen analysis for the sport academia and industry folks. Even if that’s not you, read this for the historical view of the rise of sports TV and all the moving pieces that led to a world where most of us have ~two-dozen channels dedicated to people tossing objects and driving in circles.
The Best Thing on The Internet: “Art, But Make It Sports”
I’ve been online for about 30 years, which is an insane thing to write. Clearly, I am pro-Internet. But like many folks, I do occasionally wonder if we’d be better off without the entire endeavor. But if there was no Internet, we wouldn’t have Art, But Make It Sports, and that would be tragic. It’s an account that’s best seen and not described:
Ok, so you get the gimmick. It is a fantastic gimmick, so good that I might buy a t-shirt of an Internet account to show my support. And note that these images are all from this past weekend; this guy churns out the content at an incredible pace!! The guy in question is LJ Rader, who apparently is just really into…art and sports.
As the account rose to fame, people speculated that it was a neat deployment of AI or a team of folks with art history degrees, which were totally fair guesses. But it’s just Rader. Beyond his pace, what’s most impressive is his range. He sees an image and it fires off a mental database of art that seems absolutely encyclopedic. Just look back at those shots from the week’s NFL slate: an ancient Egyptian relief, abstract impressionism, some baroque greatest hits. For more on the man and his process, there’s a good piece in GQ and another, older one from SI.
As always, thanks for reading. Please share the newsletter with friends and share good content with me.
See you next week,