The consequences of the global pandemic are no secret to anyone. Whether businesses or educational institutes, everything had to shut down for months. The same goes for the sports industry. All matches and tournaments got canceled to curb the outspread of the virus. Fortunately, we saw the sports industry coming back into action in 2021. The stadiums had audiences sitting while maintaining social distance and athletes back on the field.
Now in 2022, the sports industry is ready for innovations. We would witness technology transforming every aspect of sports – may it be ‘off’ or ‘on’ the pitch. Besides online streaming, virtual reality and artificial intelligence will allow people to become a part of the match. Likewise, there would be more focus on equity investments and mobile-first engagement. After all, the primary goal is to provide sports enthusiasts with the best experience.
Hence, one could say that trends in sports, especially in technology and inclusivity, are set to alter this landscape further. If you’re willing to learn more about this, have a look below. We’ll share five trends to look out for in the sports industry in 2022.
1. A New Job Market
In terms of culture and structure, the sports industry is unfolding new opportunities for qualified and experienced candidates. As sporting organizations restructure their teams, they look for suitable people to fit into the roles. Most companies want individuals who can adapt to changing commercial and tech-driven landscape. In short, people with a passion for the digital future are in high demand across the entire sports industry.
Now could be the best time for all those looking to transition into the sports industry. You can enroll yourself in short courses. But if you have a long-term view, opt for higher degree programs. Perhaps, you can pursue an online masters degree if you have a bachelor’s degree. It will allow you to understand how the sports industry will evolve and emerge in the coming years.
2. Media Landscape
In 2022, the sports industry’s prime focus would be Gen Z. Even though digital native generations consume sports content, they aren’t using traditional media. That means sports journalism will have to diversify to engage the mobile-first generation. Sports managers will have to provide content through social networks and digital channels as fans want more interactive content.
Furthermore, sports fans prefer watching matches on online streaming platforms. It will result in visual content shifting from the standard landscape view to a vertical mobile phone display. Broadcasters will continue testing new approaches and providing fans with a seamless viewing experience. For all those looking to invest, put your money in online streaming platforms to make substantial gains shortly.
3. The emergence of Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Are you familiar with AI? Essentially, it is a technology that mimics humans’ ability to act and think. And surprisingly, these AI systems are getting integrated into all significant sports disciplines. From wearables sensors to computer-vision-powered cameras, the sports industry is likely to evolve. These gadgets will use AI to process data and predict models.
Moreover, sports managers can incorporate AI with natural language processing devices. It will leverage speech and text recognition, gathering audience sentiments insights. However, that’s not all. A recent partnership between Formula 1 and Amazon Web Services will allow AI to redesign Formula 1’s next-generation race car. It will improve wheel-to-wheel racing while transferring its simulation environment to AWS’s computer forums. Sounds exciting, no?
Adding on, athletes’ AI is likely to extend further. It will allow athletes to live stream or upload their matches. After that, AI algorithms will analyze by reviewing ball speed and batting techniques over time to measure progress. In short, it will provide athletes insights on areas of improvement. These innovations reflect the dynamic possibilities AI is bringing to the sports industry.
4. Sustainability in Sports
Undeniably, sustainability is moving to the mainstream. Since the sporting industry isn’t immune to climate change, organizations are promoting sustainability. Most sports events generate tons of Greenhouse Gas Emissions and leave an environmental footprint. It impacts the climate, and pollution caused by it leads to health concerns.
The COP26 agreement signed in 2021 addressed the issue of climate change. It also took measures to reduce the environmental impact of sports, but there is still a long way to go. In 2022, the organizations will have to maintain the environmental requirements. In addition to reducing pollution, they have to implement practices to conserve energy.
Most importantly, they will focus on waste management. The venues should have refillable water stations to reduce plastic consumption. Also, bins allow for waste separation. Athletes can also contribute to this initiative by using their influence to promote sustainability in sports.
Lastly, sports brands are likely to become more sustainable. The labels will shift to natural fibers such as cotton. In addition, the brands will ensure clothing materials do not contain any harmful chemicals.
5. Esports & Fan Experience
Truthfully, the eSports industry is expanding. It’s currently valued at $1.8 billion but will surpass $2.5 billion in 2022. Precisely, it has been one of the few sports avenues that thrived financially despite the global pandemic. Even though most offline sports and teams haven’t diversified into Esports, this will be the year of change for them.
Manchester city is already moving into Fortnite Esports, offering contracts to their online players. Likewise, the Asian Games 2022 will have Esports as an event. As sports teams partner with Esports brands, this trend will evolve and drive engagement. In addition, it is likely to improve the fan experience.
The introduction of 5G in stadiums will provide a more immersive experience for fans. Ericsson and Ooredoo have already partners for the Qatar Football World Cup in the news. It will provide optimum connectivity in the stadiums, airports, and all places of attractions. In turn, fans can stream these live events in high definition.
The sports industry is running in full swing, experiencing various transitions. Since most people prefer live streaming over live events, AI models and VR technology is making their way in the sports industry. Likewise, organizations are trying to reduce their environmental footprint while providing an improved fan experience. Above all, the sports industry is likely to become an employment hub as it offers several positions and openings. Therefore, keep an eye on this industry to uncover more opportunities.