Commercial Trends in Sports

Glenn Lovett | Repucom

Glenn Lovett, President of Global Consulting

Professional sport and the various industries around it, notably technology and media, are evolving every day; new partnerships, fresh thinking, innovations, breakthroughs and more refined models are changing the dynamics for brands, rights holders, broadcasters, agencies and indeed anyone involved in the organisation and commercialisation of professional sport.

Plotting a course through this ever-changing commercial landscape can be tricky, which is why Repucom has collated expertise, insights and data from across our 22 offices around the world and defined ten global trends in sports for 2016 and beyond.

From return on investment to fast-growth sports events, digital revenues to fan engagement, these are the ten commercial issues we believe will continue to be of fundamental importance across sport – and for each trend we’ve included our take on what may lie ahead, forecasts underpinned by our team of global experts and Repucom’s vast global insights and data sets.

In this document, you’ll find an overview of these ten trends; over the next few months, we intend to delve deeper into the detail of many of these trends, backed up by case studies from around the globe, through a series of whitepapers which will be available to download for free.

THE WORLD OF SPORT IS GROWING – AND EXPANDING

Global sponsorship spend is forecast to reach over $62 billion by 2017 – a 1.8 times increase from 2010.

‘PARTNERSHIPS’ ARE BECOMING MORE IMMERSIVE AND REWARDING

Integrated partnerships will become the norm and ensure greater value is generated from the sports industry as a whole.

THE COMPETITION TO CAPTURE NEW AUDIENCES IS INTENSE

Audience attention is being diluted – people are generally interested in more things but intensely interested in fewer – leading to pressure on viewership and attendance for many sports.

BROADCAST MEDIA: MORE VALUABLE THAN EVER BUT UNDER THREAT

The best rights holders will develop ever more sophisticated digital rights models in order to balance the need to secure significant broadcast revenues with a greater control of their own media assets and digital broadcast platforms.

EXPANSION OF FAST-GROWTH SPORTS & EVENTS

There are four types of fast-growth sports and events: eSports, new formats for existing leagues and events, fitness and participation and combat sports.

SPORT IS UNDER INTENSE SCRUTINY AND GOVERNANCE IS KEY

Professional sport is facing intense scrutiny as never before and integrity, of entire sports and the governing organisations that run them, has become a mainstream topic.

DIGITAL & SOCIAL: THE REVENUE ROADMAP IS STARTING TO UNLOCK

Three key ways to unlock value through social media assets are Fan StoriesTM, the creation of new assets such as emojis or sticker sets, and video content – all of which are creating new branding and sponsorship opportunities.

NEW TECHNOLOGIES TRANSFORMING THE FAN EXPERIENCE – AT VENUE AND AT HOME

The potential for all sports stakeholders is enormous, not least as sports fans have a greater propensity to adopt technology than the general population – the explosion in the tracking and wearables category is a perfect example.

INCREASED FOCUS ON BUILDING STRONG FAN RELATIONSHIPS IS PAYING BACK

Strong relationships are about quality, not just quantity, of engagement and value creation – identifying and understanding distinct types of fans, with different behavioural triggers, is key to successful engagement and activation.

EVERYTHING IS MEASURABLE & ACCOUNTABILITY IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN EVER

There is an increasing demand for evidence of ROI – while ‘Chairman’s whim’ decision-making still exists, follow-up and support must come through data and tracking.

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