2 October, 2019



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Within the sports industry and among leading market consultants, there is a very real sense that things are changing quickly. These changes are mainly the result of the rapid growth of digital media and eSports, among other trends, which lowers the barriers that block entry into the industry and increases the number of content creators, thus causing an increase in audience.


It has never been easier to connect with billions of sports fans across the globe. All of these new launches result in an increase in competition, both for the attention of the fans as well as for sponsors and media gains.

Below we have laid out the trends that are considered key for the coming year.


The challenges of keeping the audience involved in team/brand conversations are becoming more numerous, and the main competition is in the palm of their hands. While AR & VR are still emerging technologies, some brands are already using platforms such as Snapchat or Instagram to create immersive experiences for the crowds that gather both inside and outside stadiums, often helping to increase revenue while allowing fans to “get close” to their sporting idols.

In turn, this can also be helpful for advertisers and the entertainment industry, since it enables the audience’s sporting event experiences to be personalised.



Social networks are becoming increasingly more central when it comes to building a fan base and capitalising on brand opportunities; they should not be taken for granted, but should instead be used to focus on and grow the community. Social media offers a primary and direct means of communication with the fan base and gives the opportunity to provide exclusive, intimate and humanised content about the team and its players, creating a sense of closeness between fans and their idols.

More specifically, Instagram and livestream feeds allow fans to access behind-the-scenes content, training sessions and ask the sportspeople questions, among other things.



Every day, more and more sportspeople are turning themselves into content creators. There is no longer any need for reporters and journalists if you want to hear personal stories. This trend is strongly linked to the pervasiveness of social networks, but also to the perception of one’s personal brand as a valuable asset.

Content creation, per se, will also become an increasingly difficult task considering its expansion, which is why incorporating new technologies such as AI chatbots, AR and VR apps, voice-controlled devices, etc., will be key in remaining relevant.

The relatively low entry barrier presented by social networks has created a new generation of digital native media, led by millennials who produce informal content for their peers.



eSports have grown immensely in popularity over the past few years, something that should not be overlooked by traditional sports; in fact, they should be taken into account and included in future experiences, and should be a key pivot when interacting with audiences. Attention should be paid to their innovations in marketing and management in order to replicate them within traditional sports.

It is expected that in the coming years, teams and leagues will continue to adopt eSports as part of their leagues, and will incorporate them into their physical facilities; the relationship is just beginning. In general, the view is that eSport has positioned itself as one of the most dynamic sectors in the media and entertainment industry.



There is a new sponsorship paradigm whose distinctive quality is the connection between data, content and business objectives. The ties between sponsors and teams are strengthened in a two-way relationship where they are close to becoming partners.

Conversations prior to sponsorship should begin with an understanding of the brand’s objectives and challenges, understanding its fan base, considering a certain flexibility in light of brand requirements and suggesting mutual support for content creation.



There is a tendency towards a holistic approach to fans in order to provide personalised experiences at each point of contact, whether inside or outside of the stadium or arena. This has to do with connecting all of the points of the “fan journey” in order to then offer a truly personal experience that in turn extends the value of a fan’s lifespan.

The idea is to leave behind traditional contrasting databases to adapt their marketing functions and take advantage of unified and standardised databases in order to become more astute and automated when proposing new experiences.



The monopolisation that traditional television has on sporting events is being seriously questioned by technological giants. In this sense we can expect premium content at higher costs, as well as the testing of new content distribution models.

Pay television is under immense pressure from various angles, which in turn puts immense pressure on the content creation budget. It is precisely this operation that opens the game to new participants who come in without any budget issues, such as Facebook and Amazon.

However, these new players are still experimenting and looking for their business model.

The sports industry is seeing very rapid changes that are mainly driven by technology and 2019 has not been an exception. The expectation for the coming years is an increase in innovation incorporation processes that will modify both the platform and the players.


The Barça Innovation Hub team

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