The sports business industry is worth more than $600 billion worldwide, and the continued growth for the future is expected to be impressive. Sports are a part of our everyday lives; from March Madness to the Super Bowl, the commercialization and branding of what was once thought of as a “pastime” is now considered to be a big business.
Here are three business trends to look for in 2017, as the sports industry continues to flourish.
1. “Smart” Stadiums
In this day and age, we have smart phones and tablets — and now we also have smart stadiums. Advancements in technology are enhancing the in-stadium experience for fans, and newly designed high-tech stadiums and arenas now offer Wi-Fi and 4G network access to guests. In addition to a virtual escort to help locate seats, services include watching replays during a live game, ordering concessions for delivery to your seats, and even finding the nearest restroom with the shortest lines!
2. The Rise of Female Fans
Sports marketing campaigns of the past were predominantly male-oriented. The surge of successful female athletes who have received endorsements from major brands to promote products has coincided with women’s interest in sports. From sponsors and leagues, to media and technology, virtually every stakeholder in the sports industry has a vested interest in seeing women become a greater part of the sports business equation.
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3. Fan Engagement
If there’s one thing that hasn’t changed much in sports, it’s the notion that winning cures a lot of ills. Fans generally don’t want to follow or pay to see a team that’s always losing, but competitive teams with a shot at a championship typically attract more fans and can generate more revenue via merchandise, media, and other ancillary deals. One thing that has changed, though, is that sports are no longer the only game in town. From live performances to outdoor activities, and the many choices in big and small screen entertainment, consumers have more options as to how to spend their free time and money than ever before. As a result, professional sports teams are investing in new ways to attract and engage fans, both inside and outside the ballpark or stadium, and technology is a big part of those investments.
Ultimately, 2017 promises to be another good year for the sports business industry. As future leaders, students studying sports business must remain on their toes to tap into these ever-changing industry trends, so that they can leverage them.
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