Change is certainly nothing new, but its impact is seldom as sizable—or accelerated—as what the world has experienced over the past two years. For the sports industry, the return of fans at live events midway through 2021 was cheered by all, yet life has evolved too much during the pandemic for the sports industry to simply snap back to a mirror image of its pre-COVID self.
The tried and tested model of fandom has been challenged. As a result, fans have developed digital communities to drive connection with each other, their favorite athletes and their favorite teams. Fandom has shifted from large audiences physically together to more remote yet more engaged behavior. While ticket sales dipped, fans found new ways to build community: chatting, sharing, betting, and co-watching.
This report examines the global consumer shifts over the last two years and their impact on sports sponsorship models and content distribution.