2020 is set to be a year of transformation for sports event marketing operations as the hunt for continuous growths opportunities and greater engagement reaches fever pitch in a global sports media and events market worth around 200 billion euros (Wanda Sports Group IPO, 2019).
How can the sports events world harness the opportunities for revenue in a crowded marketplace? Here are the top trends likely to make the biggest splash in 2020.
Advertising goes virtual
The industry will seek added value from existing advertising assets while exploring innovative avenues for new revenue. In 2020, software-based virtual advertising such as Viz Eclipse will emerge as an effective way to deliver this vision, enabling the promotion of diverse brand messages to multiple markets via the same surface and increasing the physical inventory. This technology allows rights holders to transform any surface - from LED perimeter boards to racetracks - into bespoke advertising messages in real time.
Sustainability goes mainstream
The question of sustainability poses increasing challenges for sport. Consumers now expect organisations to put sustainability at the heart of their operations. Newer stadiums are leading the way with solar panels or systems that use rain water to irrigate pitches. 2020 will see a greater focus on sustainability, including production and marketing, such as fanless LED boards that save up to 50% of power consumption.
Brand strength becomes core focus
Rights holders traditionally, and rightly so, focused on the sports organisation, success and athlete management. A broad range of sports rights holders will start to think more about brand strengths and put a greater emphasis on this in their activities. Creative brand design, content creation, visual event implementation will get the deserved focus and will immensely contribute to commercial success. This will be in fulfilment of Jeremy Darlow's prediction back in 2015 that: “your team is a brand”.
Smart stadia for smart fans
Competition for fans will intensify. In 2020, the sports world will adopt a “fan engagement” ethos. That means providing state-of-the-art services such as fast and reliable WiFi, solutions to optimise food and beverage orders or merchandise exclusives, technology to improve the ticketing process, more efficient parking and public transport options, and stronger security and crowd management through face recognition or tracking software. Non the less, these software capabilities can be used to increase the fan experience and sports events can be transformed into instant memorabilia’s for fans.
More clients demand full sports services
More organisations will seek the synergies and efficiencies from working with one partner to provide full event management service, covering event management, marketing operations, media sales, TV production , sponsorship and digital. These partnerships provide stability alongside the flexibility to adapt to new developments such as fan data conversion or improved delivery quality. In 2020, the International Ice Hockey Federation, the European Handball Federation and DFB-Pokal will all take the 360 degree route.