By Abraham Madkour
Executive Editor, SportsBusiness Journal
Readers shared with me the stories or trends in sports business they expect to emerge and the most intriguing personalities in 2017. Responses were edited for brevity and clarity. Here goes:
CEO, Momentum Worldwide
• Stories/trends …
Experience will continue to dominate, and technology will help us reshape and reinvent how the fan experiences sports, both in person and through media. Smart stadiums will enable and improve fans’ connections, and add features that enhance the viewing experience. Wearable technology will also impact fans’ ability to understand the game, as fans will have access and insights like never before into the dynamics and victories of sports. The challenge of this evolution will be figuring out how to harness all the information and make it consumer-friendly. We’ll also see increasingly more technology in consumer activations through the use of VR, and a shift toward active fan experiences with virtual and augmented realities.
New technologies only make a difference for the leagues and brands if their application is rooted in fan passions. The future must be fan-first.
We’ll see an escalation of the shift to nontraditional sports, particularly gaming and esports. As traditional sports ownership groups take a stake in the gaming industry, there will be a shake-out and redefinition of how esports are delivered and marketed. This is an exciting growth area, and one we must embrace — because new fans and fan behaviors are being developed here with rapidly growing scale.
With the NHL expanding into Las Vegas, it will be interesting to see how the Golden Knights are received and how the other leagues react.
• Personality most intriguing …
Donald Trump: Intrigue isn’t a judgment on policy, but rather a statement that he’s going to have some unprecedented impact. Will the trade policies he implements have an impact on the globalization of sports? As the major leagues look to expand internationally, and international sports extend into the United States, it will be intriguing to see if Trump’s foreign policies have any impact. Also, what effect, if any, he will have on L.A.’s Olympic bid. Will he help, or hurt?
Tiger Woods: Can he rally and compete with the best players in the world? It’s also interesting from a marketing standpoint, as brands are starting to climb back on board and roll the dice on his latest attempt. ...