Futebol returned to its spiritual home in 2014, as fans, brands and broadcasters delighted in a first Fifa World Cup in Brazil since 1950.
The hosts may have wondered if it was all worth it: the Seleção’s increasingly fraught progress came to a traumatic halt in the semi-finals, where they were thrashed 7-1 by eventual champions Germany, and the high costs of several venues left some observers scratching their heads.
Over in Europe, the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics had been even more expensive, with its runaway budget blamed for putting off future hosts. It was what happened after the Games that would have troubled more onlookers, however: barely had the fl ame gone out when President Vladimir Putin annexed Crimea, until then part of neighbouring Ukraine.
An altogether more benign leader emerged in the US. Adam Silver replaced David Stern as commissioner of the National Basketball Association (NBA) and promptly established himself as a forward-thinker on everything from digital distribution to social change. Silver was to be followed at Major League Baseball (MLB) by Rob Manfred, who replaced Bud Selig at the turn of the following year. But Roger Goodell remained at the dominant National Football League (NFL), where fears over player health and falling ratings were beginning to set in.
“For the sports that don’t embrace every potential to inform and educate and entertain their audience, their audience will die, and no one will watch.”
David Hill, senior executive vice president, 21st Century Fox – Issue 65
- NBA agrees US$24 billion national TV deals
- International Cricket Council announces controversial reforms
- Europe’s top rugby union clubs create breakaway competitions
- College Football Playoff replaces antiquated Bowl Championship Series