The sport industry is an instigator of societal growth, as well as significant economic returns. As a result, the future of the industry doesn’t just impact the organisations involved within it; it affects a huge swathe of communities, fans and players around the world.
Here are the trends that we’re expecting:
1. Next generation of players, fans and workforces
Gen Z (1997-2010) and Gen Alpha (2010-2025) will play and consume shorter, more action-packed formats of traditional sports. Organisations will have to innovate via format and rule changes, whilst captivating younger audiences through excellent online content, social media engagement and live experiences.
Impact on the sports industry now: Declining interest in sport from younger generations is forcing organisations to begin their digital transformation to attract, retain and diversify fanbases & player pools.
Impact that we expect to see by 2030: The future customer will dictate what new sports will become mainstream and how existing formats need to evolve. Delivering the right fan experience will continue to be a non-negotiable.
2. Evolving global sports market
The sports industry will continue to grow beyond its current commercial value of $500-600bn. The number of sports seeking to commercialise is increasing at an unprecedented rate and organisations will explore innovative ways to expand their revenue generation models. By 2030, private equity investment will be the major catalyst for change and commercialisation across sports.
Impact on the sports industry now: Sports organisations are looking to commercialise in order to generate how revenue by boosting customer acquisition and retention.
Impact that we expect to see by 2030: Investment in sport will enable organisations to have undertaken transformations, innovate and evolve to become entertainment entities.
3. Pace of digital
Digital innovation continues to yield new ways for people to play, consume and engage with sport. As a result, many ad-hoc initiatives are being driven through technological advancements. Keeping pace with digital is a major challenge and sports organisations must be agile in order to rapidly respond to grow and counteract disruption.
Impact on the sports industry now: Sports organisations are going back to basics as the first step in their digital transformation, by establishing robust foundations with key capabilities that will enable their digital aspirations.
Impact that we expect to see by 2030: Digital will be embedded in all aspects of sport, resulting in numerous use cases. Organisations will need to become data-obsessed and digital first in how they operate.
4. Societal impact
Societal demands are forcing sports organisations to redefine their views on equality, diversity and inclusion. From a participation standpoint, female sport will flourish with the aid of watershed moments like the success of the Women’s Euro 2022 Championship. Societal shifts will also mean that the structure of sports organisations will evolve, with a growing focus on building an inclusive industry for workers, players and fans.
Impact on the sports industry now: Increased focus on societal issues and high-profile incidents has resulted in organisations taking a stance, grasping the potential for sport to act as a catalyst for societal change.
Impact that we expect to see by 2030: Female representation in sport will be higher than ever before. More women will participate, including in traditionally male-dominated sports like football, cricket and rugby. The make-up of sports organisations will also evolve, as organisations will look to be more purpose-driven and be at the heart of broader societal change.
5. Health and wellbeing
Physical health is already a concern for many and this was exacerbated by the pandemic. Moreover, lockdowns highlighted the benefits of exercising and team sports due to the rise in mental health issues. Increased awareness and new sports formats will therefore play a role in boosting interest in sport and participation rates in the future.
Impact on the sports industry now: Health is top of mind, particularly for younger generations post-pandemic. Disease prevention as a priority, increased from 22% to 28% between2020-2021 for both Millennials and Gen Z.
Impact that we expect to see by 2030: Greater health awareness will drive more young people to exercise and play sport.
6. Climate change and sustainability
Climate change and sustainability are impacting consumer and societal expectations, with an emphasis on individuals and institutions taking a more environmentally conscious approach. The sports industry can be the catalyst in responding to and driving initiatives, if it wants to be, due to its ability to transect geographies and cultures.
Impact on the sports industry now: It’s estimated that the sports industry contributes 0.6-0.8% to total global carbon emissions, with a carbon footprint equivalent to Spain.
Impact that we expect to see by 2030: A changing climate will have a serious impact on how, when and where sport can be played. Governing bodies will need to play a leading role in developing policy accordingly.
To receive the full overview of these forces for change, email: UKDeloitteSportsBusinessGroup@deloitte.co.uk