We have all grown up with WWE. It has its own fan following. But, at the end of the day it is also a business listed on the stock market. This needull looks in depth WWE as an entertainment business.

WWE’s popularity—and pro wrestling’s appeal in general—is easily explained. There’s drama and storytelling, there’s risk of bodily harm, there’s the eternal battle between good and evil. “If we are doing our jobs right and we are telling a compelling story, you’ll be enthralled, you’ll be caught up in that story,” Stephanie McMahon told me at WrestleMania 32 in Texas last April. And she’s right. According to documents submitted to the Securities and Exchange Commission, WWE enthralled more than 2 million live-event spectators in 2015.

The complete article

Ian Frisch — VICE Sports

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What happens if the players on a major sports team die?

After the recent Chapecoense plane crash in Colombia, many of us have been thinking the same thing: What happens when a team is completely wiped out by a disaster? I am sure there have been similar instances before (I also remember a movie based on a real life incident which had the same premise). I also searched and found that American sports leagues are not naive to the possibility of such a tragedy and they’ve formed emergency plans, commonly called “disaster drafts“.

In today’s Needull, this article by The Economist talks about the same question we have always whispered in our head, yet common sense and decency has prevented it from becoming audibly loud. It also discusses if these ‘disaster drafts’ can sometimes offer a little too many sympathy points to the affected team. The recent denial by the Chapecoense team to an offer of exemption from relegation proves that there is a limit to the generosity showered after a tragedy.

For all that Chapecoense may have lost, its sense of honour remains.

The complete article

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An Escape from Eritrea

Wherever I go, I love talking to cab drivers. With unique yet strangely similar stories of struggle and mature perspectives that can only develop if you interact with hundreds of people a day, these cab drivers are like a crash course on history, culture and politics of a place. In most of my conversations with them, I prefer to remain quiet once I have broken the ice, as they voluntarily spill out their life and insights to me.

Today I rode with Joseph from Eritrea and he shared with me some interesting stories from his country, of brutality and of hope, that led me to google about this unknown country, which in turn led me to today’s Needull.

Today’s Needull, from the latest edition of The New Yorker, talks about the escape of a few Eritreans from the despotic regime of their country. With an alarmingly high defection rate, the basic storyline in itself is not new, as athletes and sportsmen from Eritrea have often tried and, on rare occasions, succeeded to defect to other African countries during international matches.

But what makes this article so interesting is how the writer takes you through this journey from the eyes of a small town footballer turned national soccer star.  Imagine taking up a sport and striving to make to the national team, just so that you can escape from the same nation that you’re going to represent.

As you’re reading this, I’m sure Hollywood producers out there are already in process of hiring scriptwriters to paint this ‘incredible true story’ on celluloid.

At last, though, he had managed to leave Eritrea. When I asked how it felt, he said, “We are one step ahead from where we were.”

Full Article Here

Alexis Okeowo – The New Yorker

Ice driving and horse-sled racing in remotest Mongolia


In the spirit of the weekend, something for the adventurers.

Nobody dies. Nor do the Mongolian festival-goers let the weather cramp their style. We join them in their gers, partaking of their food and drink, feeling safely embedded in a culture where I have seen only four other foreigners in as many days. “Even a good racehorse is kept out in this weather,” says Dorjee, who chats in the blizzard with his friends like I might on a temperate summer day on an English high street. Children play in the storm like New York kids in a summer park. The sculptors are disappointed the weather has ruined their work, but otherwise, not a word of a whine. Not even from me when our flight back to UB is delayed. Instead I find myself wishing the airlines might be grounded for longer than a day.

The complete article

Sophy Roberts — FT

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My Life In The Locker Room


Good articles rarely age and needull is all about finding these gems and sharing it with all. This needull is written by a female sportswriter about her initial experiences as a woman covering sports.

I have one of the few jobs where the first thing people ask about is penises. Well, Reggie Jackson was my first. And yes, I was scared. I was 22 years old and the first woman ever to cover sports for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Up until then, my assignments had been small-time: high school games and features on father-daughter doubles teams and Hacky Sack demonstrations. But now it was late September, and my editor wanted me to interview Mr. October about what it was like not to make the playoffs.

The complete article

Jennifer Briggs

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Why questioning the value of sports is seen as blasphemy


Today’s needull is an interview of Jay Coakley, a sports sociologist. He looks at something which very few people find worth questioning – Is sports always a force of good?

Because sport is a source of excitement, pleasure, and joy, we are less likely to critique it. Sport has also served the interests of powerful people within our culture. It reifies competition and the whole notion of meritocracy, of distributing rewards to the winners, and that people who are successful deserve success. It becomes tied to all sorts of important factors within our culture.

The complete interview

Nautilus — Brian J. Barth

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Pokemon Go and Black Man


Pokemon Go has been a craze ever since its launch. Nintendo’s market value has shot up by few billion dollars in a few days. Today’s needull is about Pokemon Go and the fears of a black man in the US. Worth a read and a thought..

The premise of Pokemon GO asks me to put my life in danger if I chose to play it as it is intended and with enthusiasm. Let’s just go ahead and add Pokemon GO to the extremely long list of things white people can do without fear of being killed, while Black people have to realistically be wary.

The complete article

Omari Akil — Medium

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