SportBusiness International

Week 32 (25 April - 2 May 2014)

One yardstick for determining the strong standing SportBusiness International has in the sports industry is to count the number of major sports organisations who have taken out full page adverts in this month's edition to congratulate them on reaching their 200th edition.

Movers and shakers of the sports industry such as Getty Images, IMG, Perform, Infront Sports & Media, and of course JTA, all went the whole hog to congratulate SportBusiness International on its double century. To pay someone that you are congratulating is unusual but in this case shows how well the SportBusiness Group is regarded by the sports industry.

It's been 18 years since the first SportBusiness International went to press in July 1996. Back then there was only a team of five producing the magazine. The company now boasts a staff of over 30. In the world of print journalism – where caution is king – this growth is impressive.

In fact, it was caution which helped the magazine survive a potentially fatal bullet when the magazine was in its infancy. As Kevin Roberts, SportBusiness International's founding editor, points out in his column in the 200th edition: "Only the last-minute shelving of a contributed article – which would have been defamatory to more or less everybody in a senior position within the IOC – kept what would have been a ruinous law suit at bay."

It proved a shrewd move and now the magazine boasts 5,000 monthly subscribers across 60 countries and a readership totalling 20,000.

The 200th edition does ample justice to SportBusiness International's journey, with a particular highlight being the round table discussion of the highs and the lows, as seen through the eyes of the magazine's five editors from across its 18 years.

One highlight which isn't mentioned, however, was SportBusiness's first conference, held over three days at the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre in London, at the turn of the Millennium.

In an exclusive interview with JTA, Kevin Roberts explained: "We had Jacques Rogge and Chris Smith, the then Minister of Sport (in England) and a fantastic range of really high-level speakers because we were breaking new ground in the sector. We had only been going a few years but that's when we really thought we could be on to something here."

That milestone proved to be one of many more to come and Roberts believes it is the magazine's ability to provide its subscribers with a service which goes beyond the written word that has secured SportBusiness International its high standing in the industry.

He added: "That showed how you could build something from a magazine into an all-media event. We have continued to grow from then and hopefully we have managed to keep connecting people across the sports industry.

"Our mission has always been not just to provide news, analysis and data but to connect the key players in an industry which is disparate in terms of business disciplines, geography and of course individual sports."

Here's to the next 200 issues.

Photo: SportBusiness