Eight Predictions for the Future of Sports
In many ways, sports can be timeless. Watching Babe Ruth hit his record-breaking 60th homerun in a single year, for instance, is as exciting today as it was in 1927. Though exciting moments and emotional connections often remain in sports, the game itself and how we witness it, is advancing quickly.
Here are eight predictions about the future of sports:
Technology Will Change the Stadium Experience
Going to the ballpark or arena to watch a game will never entirely disappear since being present for favorite teams or noteworthy games is part of the human experience. Technological advances, however, will continue to change things. For instance high-tech fingerprint scanners will eventually replace paper tickets, and advanced algorithms will organize seating according to common interests, age, or other social media relationships. The ballpark may become an increasingly pricier social experience.
Sports Arenas Will Evolve into Greater Entertainment Attractions
As outdoor screens and mega displays continue to advance, so too will the concept of selling game tickets to fans who choose to roam around the arena or complex as opposed to sitting and taking in the game. Tickets will no longer be limited to renting a seat. Instead, tickets will be sold to visit a park or complex. Tailgating will be brought inside, and parks will create more avenues to attract whole families. Think sports-complex-meets-theme-park. Watch for 3-D technology to become standard in luxury boxes.
New “Third Venue” Sport Outlets Will Become Go-To Spots to Watch the Game
With immersive technology advancing–and the cost of tickets increasing–fans will have a third choice (after the traditional at-home or at-the-stadium options) for watching the game. As 360-degree technology becomes more realistic, the sports bar down the street will feel more like the stadium itself. Better than that though, it may eventually feel like walking out onto the field beside the players. Watch for more creative and impressive third venue options.
Internet Services Will Out-Perform Current, Traditional Broadcasters
As Google, Facebook, and other media giants continue making their mark, they will also change the world of sports broadcasting. In this new world of digital sports media, niche channels and social media outlets will spread like wildfire, offering games for free, meaning organizations will need to find new and better ways to bring in revenue from game distribution. Watch for the word “broadcasting” to disappear.
Sports and Gaming Will Collide
As fantasy sports and e-sports continue to rise in popularity, so too will the fans clamoring to play them publicly. Imagine a major league football stadium packed on a Sunday afternoon–not to watch Aaron Rodgers make one of his famous 36-yard throws with three seconds left on the clock–but to allow thousands of teens to play League of Legends alongside other die-hard fans. Sports franchises will continue to listen to the ever-growing rumble of the gaming community, looking for opportunities to cross-pollinate sports and video games. And since gamers are some of the most loyal brand and team enthusiasts, sports leagues will only benefit from engaging them in real-life sport experiences. Watch for pro leagues and fantasy leagues to interact simultaneously for greater engagement.
Fans Will Be Given Increased Opportunities to Participate in the Games
With the proliferation of GoPro, YouTube, social media, and online video uploading and distribution, fans will become brand and team ambassadors in an unprecedented way. Anyone will be able to participate in game deconstruction and player critique, meaning fans will take more ownership of creating and distributing sports content. Watch for increased fan-generated video clips and instant replays. The armchair quarterback is now invited to participate in the game.
Viewers Will Be in Greater Control
Speaking of cameras, the day is fast approaching when the fan sitting at home on the couch can control his view–during a live game–by manipulating a joystick. Curious to see what the linebacker is doing during the pre-snap? No problem. Cruise over and take a look. Even better, watch a game through the lens of your favorite player–literally. As wearable technology advances, players will be able to wear cameras that enable fans to see the game from their perspective. Watch for a sharp increase in on-the-field camera technology.
The Athlete Will Evolve
With advances in science, technology and artificial limbs, double amputees may no longer be ineligible to play the most intense sports alongside pro-athletes. And while doping in sports has been frowned on historically, “gene doping” is another matter altogether. As new records become harder to break, coaches and athletes will continue to look for ways to legally alter genetic make-up in order to improve strength and speed. Following in the footsteps of other countries, the U.S. will finally begin to spot potential super athletes in childhood, identify which sports they are physically or mentally suited to play, and groom them for participation on major league teams in adulthood. Watch for new leagues that differentiate between natural and enhanced athletes (the way we currently separate pro and amateur).
Never before has the sports world been as fun to watch or evaluate. If you have been considering pursuing a Master of Science in Sport Management, now is a great time to take the first step. Visit Adelphi University online to get started!