Trippant Takeaways.

Challenges in US sports media, an underground racetrack in north London, warming winter sports sponsorships and controversial edits to children’s fiction all feature in this week’s Trippant Takeaways – our round-up of stories following communications trends across sport, tech, entertainment and culture. 

Stratechery on the NBA and F1 media models 

The NBA has wowed commentators in recent weeks with its latest digital innovations, including AI video technology that gets fans into the action, but there was a notable drop in the domestic viewing figures for its All-Star game last month.  

Meanwhile, buoyed by the success of Drive to Survive, F1 is enjoying an American renaissance and a rise in the overall scale of its audience. Strategic analyst Ben Thompson – a lifelong basketball fan and recent F1 convert – asks what the league can learn from motorsport’s elite championship.  

The Town on US sport’s RSN crisis 

For some media companies, navigating the shift to streaming is proving extremely delicate and the ramifications of that are beginning to surface.  

Regional sports networks, which have helped enrich the US sports market with premium deals for high-volume leagues like the NBA and MLB, are a case in point. After years of cross-subsidy through the cable bundle, their model is imploding and significant groups face bankruptcy. On his podcast for The Ringer, Puck founding partner Matthew Belloni asks what comes next and where profits will be found in the era to come.  

Sky Sports on F1’s arrival in Tottenham 

Ahead of the new F1 season, the series has agreed an intriguing 15-year partnership with Premier League football team Tottenham Hotspur. An underground go-kart track will be built at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, while the club has committed to supporting pathways for young engineering talent.  

The promotional dimensions are still to emerge – though rumours have inevitably circulated about an investment in Spurs by F1 owner Liberty Media…  

The Drum on high-carbon winter sports sponsorships 

Few leisure activities are as vulnerable to the looming effects of climate change as winter sports.  

Resort towns face disastrous consequences from melting snow while a study from Canada’s University of Waterloo has shown a significant rise in daytime temperatures at previous Winter Olympic sites. If current climate trends are not reversed, it estimates that only one of the previous 21 hosts would be able to safely stage the Games by the end of the century.  

And yet, jarringly, sponsorships from fossil fuels, automotive and aviation companies are still prevalent at elite events. The Drum takes the temperature of the winter sports community on the issue.  

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Fast Company on falling Instagram engagement 

Amid continued social media evolution, a recent survey of 2,100 companies has found many reporting a decrease in engagement on Instagram.  

That is a sobering prospect for digital marketers yet there are signs that making the right adjustments on the channel can still pay off.  

AdWeek on TikTok’s de-influencers  

Brands who have embraced social influencers in the past few years may be alarmed by one of 2023’s major TikTok trends – people telling growing audiences of followers about things they shouldn’t buy.  

There is nothing new about bad reviews but, AdWeek argues, this is a phenomenon that cannot be ignored.    

NiemenLab on the future of video games journalism 

Between a still-booming cultural influence and some gigantic upcoming mergers, the video game economy seems in good health.  

One part of the industry, however, is struggling to attract sustained investment: journalism. That raises questions about how companies can protect independent consumer media and what its most effective role would be. 

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The Financial Times on Roald Dahl and the riddles of revising IP  

There was a minor UK media firestorm when it emerged that the publishers of Roald Dahl’s stories for children had excised some of his more casually insulting language from their most recent editions.  

Objections ranged from accusations of censorship to complaints that the books would be less fun. But for Stephen Bush at the FT, the row feeds into a broader conversation about intent and authorial ownership – for living creators, as well as late ones.  

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