Politically, socially and technologically, the world is in the midst of one of the most disruptive periods in living memory – this disruption is impacting where investment in sports is coming from, how sports content is created and distributed, and changing the dynamics of relationships between rights holders, sponsors and fans.
With global sponsorship spend forecast to reach over $62 billion in 2017 and global media rights spend expected to hit $45 billion, the top-line metrics remain positive. But this is a period of rapid change for sports.
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Remarkable investments – in properties, athletes and events at home and abroad – are emanating from China, part of the country’s government target to create a sports industry worth $813 billion by 2025. Other new key markets with large populations, notably Mexico, are emerging with sophisticated strategies for sport and major event hosting.
New markets are emerging and established markets evolving at the same time as fans around the world are accessing content in new ways and through multiple devices. This, added to the sheer volume of sports events and other entertainment options available to a consumer, is diluting the sports fan’s attention span: people are: people are intensely interested in fewer things, but generally interested in more things.
With increased competition for people’s time and disposable income, more sports events, leagues and federations are examining formats and, where appropriate, looking to repackage and reimagine events for a Millennial audience – major organizations in golf, motorsport, basketball, tennis and athletics have all developed new formats in recent times, following the lead set by cricket and its shortened Twenty20 format.
Linked to this, an increasing number of sports events are building music into fan and event packages. The Super Bowl sets the standard, but the repositioning of sports events as entertainment festivals is a trend to watch. 25% of the US population have attended a music event at or connected to a sporting event.