Accomplished Historian. Talented Scholar. Consummate Global Sport and Sports Diplomacy Professional. These roles describe Lindsay Sarah Krasnoff’s dynamic career in sports.
Krasnoff, an adjunct instructor at the NYU SPS Preston Robert Tisch Institute for Global Sport and author of Basketball Empire: France and the Making of a Global NBA and WNBA, earned her MA in Journalism and French Studies at NYU prior to obtaining a PhD in History from CUNY.
Krasnoff joins us to discuss teaching at NYU SPS and the world of global sport and sports diplomacy, and to share advice on career success for NYU SPS students.
Tell us about your background and experience, including the upcoming courses you'll teach at the Tisch Center.
As a veteran of the US Department of State’s Office of the Historian, I conducted several sports briefings for ambassadors to better grasp the sporting cultures and contexts in which they would operate overseas—and how they might tap into the powerful tool of sports diplomacy. Since then, I’ve contributed reports and analytical pieces to media outlets about global sport and sports diplomacy while building out my consultancy.
As a scholar, I’ve helped shape the sports diplomacy field, notably basketball diplomacy. I co-directed the SOAS University of London's Basketball Diplomacy in Africa oral history project pegged to the NBA’s historic Basketball Africa League and recently published a first-of-its-kind book that unpacks what sports diplomacy can look like—and how it can impact elite-level and professional sports, Basketball Empire: France and the Making of a Global NBA and WNBA.
What’s struck me most is that from undergraduate to ambassador, using the prism of sports to convey and relay information—whether facts, history, or the nuances of bilateral relationships, foreign policy, or the business world—resonates with the vast majority of people. These factors inform my NYU SPS courses Sociology of Sport: Sports Diplomacy and Politics; Data, Decision-Making, and Analytics in Sports; Advanced Seminar: Sports Diplomacy; and Globalization of Sports.
How has working in sports changed in the past five to ten years?
There’s been greater recognition of how the sports industry has globalized and is far more interconnected than ever. This means that the ability to work with and learn from, international counterparts is easier than ever. There’s a greater understanding that the sports realm intersects with international affairs and policy since Russia invaded Ukraine and Brittney Griner was wrongfully detained. There are also a growing number of opportunities for those who bring the two sides of these competencies together.
What emerging skills do you think NYU SPS students will need for a successful career in sports in the coming years?
Even as advancements in technology and AI are transforming the world, students will still graduate into a professional reality where they need to be excellent communicators. There will still be a need to be skilled at presenting, briefing, and pitching to CEOs, clients, and investors. It will still be necessary to be able to write well across a range of mediums—from executive briefings to talking points and beyond. Despite the potential capabilities of AI-generated writing tools, there is no substitute for knowing how to do it yourself; the writing process utilizes and fosters other vital skills that will be more important moving forward, such as innovative thinking, critical analysis and synthesis, and allows them to shine through.
What excites you most about sharing or teaching your students this academic year?
In a year in which the number one NBA draft pick was a French teenager and we build up toward the Paris 2024 Olympics, I’m excited to share with my students the ways that French, American, Antillean, and Francophone African ties blend—past and present—through the prism of sports diplomacy.
Could you tell us about a few upcoming projects you will be working on outside the classroom?
I continue to work on FranceAndUs, an educational campaign highlighting French and American relations through sports ahead of the 250th anniversary of our bilateral relationship in 2028, which will also be the close of the Paris 2024-LA 2028 Olympic cycle.
I am co-editing a handbook on sports diplomacy alongside international colleagues that will significantly add to our understanding of how this field is shaping the foreign policy and sporting industry realms in the 2020s. And, I will again serve as a mentor for the #SIGA Women Global Mentorship Programme – it’s been a real joy to see how one of my former NYU Tisch Institute students has contributed to this initiative, too.
In the build-up to the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, I also plan to do more book events, guest lectures, panels, and online events related to the themes of Basketball Empire: France and the Making of a Global NBA and WNBA.