2018 Trends to Watch for in the Sports Industry


Over the past few years, the sports industry as a whole has seen a lot of changes. As we look into the future, the leaders of sports organizations all over the world are looking for market shifts. Sports teams are no different than other business, so owners and staff are always focused on long-term successes. Every year, it’s helpful to take a look at the previous 12 months and try to predict what might happen in the upcoming year. Here are some trends that you should watch for as we move through 2018:

More Sporting Events

It doesn’t matter if we are talking about the local high school basketball team or your local NBA team, you might have noticed that there are more sporting events out there. Many of these events are things you might have never even thought of, and organizers are really thinking outside of the box. A college football game at a NASCAR track? Why not? This grabs the attention of the community and puts a spotlight on sports.

A Greater Focus on Audience

Think back to when you were a kid and would attend sporting events…particularly, professional events. You might remember catching a pro tennis match with your mom or perhaps a pro football game with your grandfather. Whatever the case, you probably went to get event, had a snack, and then came home with your memories. That was great, right? Well, today, teams are really making an effort to make the audience experience better, and one way they are doing this is by giving out freebies. Today, you might bring home a t-shirt, a new plastic cup, or even a baseball cap. Teams are doing this to promote team spirit and to get fans in the stands.

Turning a Game into an Event

Many teams, especially those who are in the playoffs, are turning these games into huge events. For instance, they will hire a big-name music star to put on a concert at halftime. This used to only be the case when there was a big game like the Super Bowl, but these days, we are certainly seeing this happen more often, especially on the local scene.

New Sports

Over the past few years, we have also seen an emergence of new sports. Some of these have pretty funny names, too, like quidditch and pickleball. Quidditch, of course, comes from the Harry Potter book series, which has been out for many years, but as more kids grow up reading them, they are interested in starting quidditch leagues. Pickleball, on the other hand, is taking retirement communities around the country by storm. It’s a net game, similar to tennis, badminton, and table tennis.

Odd Partnerships 

Remember, sports teams are very much like any other business out there, so when owners and managers see a way to make money, they usually jump on it. This is what we are seeing right now, only with an odd twist…

Did you know that the marketing rights for the University of South Florida is held by an NHL team? The rights of the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association are controlled by the NBA team, the Sacramento Kings. Why do teams and organizations do this? Because it helps with collaborations and helps them to think outside the box…and that’s what brings the money in.

Funding Venues 

For many years, local pro sports team venues were funded by taxes, such as food and beverage or sin taxes, the taxes that come off of things like beer and cigarettes. However, these days, there has been a shift towards other ways of funding these venues, especially if they are also tourist attractions. Instead of relying on local taxes, some areas are taxing tourists. This is helping to bring more money into the cities and giving the local teams a better place to play the game.

Building Better Relationships

Finally, you will certainly see more relationship building among sports teams. Additionally, you will see more communication between the powers that be and those who are stakeholders in the sports organization. Sports team owners and managers know that by building these personal relationships can help their investment grow.

There is no doubt about it: sports is still king in the US, and team managers and owners are doing what they can to make sure profits are still coming in. To do this, there are definite trends that we are seeing, but the good thing is this: it’s definitely benefiting fans, too, and that’s something we can all be really excited about in the months, and even years, to come.


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