In his new book, noted sports business industry pioneer Rick Horrow posits the beginnings of what we’ve come to know as the modern sports industry to 50 years ago, during the time of the 1972 Munich Olympics, the undefeated Miami Dolphins, and the passage of Title IX legislation, among other milestones.
Horrow’s book, The Sports Business Handbook: Insights from 100+ Leaders Who Shaped 50 Years of the Industry, published this month by Human Kinetics, builds on that premise with essays and contributions from over 120 major industry figures, including Hall of Fame Duke University men’s basketball head coach Mike Krzyzewski, Hall of Fame Baltimore Orioles infielder Cal Ripken Jr., former Major League Baseball president Bob DuPuy, Boston Red Sox executive Larry Lucchino, legendary golfer Jack Nickolas, Reebok president Matt O’Toole, National Football League commissioner Paul Tagliabue, USA Basketball chair Jerry Colangelo, Dallas Cowboys COO Stephen Jones, race car driver Lyn St. James, NASCAR CEO Lesa France Kennedy, Opendorse founder Blake Lawrence, Washington Capitals/Wizards/Monumental Sports owners Zack and Ted Leonsis, National Hockey League Commissioner Gary Bettman, Olympic Gold Medal skater Scott Hamilton, and sports media personalities Jay Bilas and Ann Meyers Drysdale, among other notables.
One of the leaders who created the sports business as it is known today, Horrow’s book is a treatise on the history of the past 50 years of sports business written by the people who built the industry and taking those perspectives to predict what’s ahead for the next 50 years.
More than a history book, Horrow has compiled a tome of practical knowledge and foresight incorporating the entrepreneurial mindset and expert testimony of his peers as well as legendary sports personalities.
The fully revised and expanded paperback second edition of The Sports Business Handbook combines that enlightening and engaging history with post-COVID19 Pandemic findings that set the stage for the future of the industry.
Horrow, a life-long sports fan who started keeping scorebooks of every baseball and football game he ever watched at age 7 (he still has them), was always interested in the business side of the game. It was during one day at Harvard Law that convinced him that sports, and sports business, could be more than just a passion, but a career as well.
“The defining moment for me was my time at Harvard Law School,” Horrow recalled. “I wanted to write my third-year theses on sports violence and hockey fighting, but the criminal law professor rejected the idea because, as he put it, ‘there is no such thing as sports law.’ Motivated, I challenged him to a squash game, won, and his side of the deal was that he would approve what became the sports law/sports business thesis at Harvard Law. In retrospect, it probably legitimized the work that I have done in the business over the past 50 years.”
Horrow took that passion, and that degree, and became one of the most influential behind-the-scenes people in the modern sports landscape. A popular speaker, writer and commentator on the business, law, and politics of sports, Horrow’s nickname, “The Sports Professor,” has its origin in his role as Visiting Expert on Sports Business at The Harvard Law School, where he received a law degree alongside Chief Justice of the Supreme Court John Roberts, his roommate.
“The Sport Business Handbook was originally released at a joint Harvard Law/Harvard Business meeting two years ago and was heralded as the most unique collection of commentary and advice from industry leaders in the $1.3 trillion business of sports,” said Horrow. “Within three months, the WHO declared a global pandemic, and sports, as we knew it, shut its doors.