As part of the ninth edition of PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) Sports Outlook for North America report, the organisation has outlined 10 predictions for the biggest trends facing the sports industry in 2022.
Among the 10 most influential trends and issues for sport in 2022 are ‘sports betting, streaming and rights negotiations, M&A (mergers and acquisitions), resurgence of live audiences, smart venues, NFTs and digital assets, sports documentaries and reality TV, sponsorship data, fan-created content, and mixed reality’.
As part of the Sports Outlook for North America report, PwC released three in-depth playbooks for sports administrators across the major areas of NFTs and digital assets, media rights, and smart venues.
Focusing on the NFTs and digital assets point, the report suggested there will be more ways for fans to connect with clubs and athletes than ever before in 2022 with digital assets to have a large impact on revenue opportunities for sporting organisations.
The major areas predicted to be effected by the increased revenue opportunities were identified as ticket sales, media rights, and sponsorship, with the growth of tokenized tickets, NFT media rights, and sponsorship of digital or metaverse events experiencing major growth.
Discussing the challenges in achieving revenue growth as a direct result of NFT and digital asset growth, the report said sporting organisations must purpose-build their infrastructure to allow digital assets to thrive, as well as anticipate and mitigate legal risks and tax implications as the regulatory structure evolves around blockchain technology.
Through the focus on streaming and rights negotiations, PwC said: “Content distribution rights continue to be the largest revenue driver in sports media, as streaming continues to disrupt traditional broadcast and cable models.”
On the evolution and importance of smart venues in sport through 2022 and beyond, the PwC report said: “The fan experience will become increasingly important as crowds return.”
“Teams are succeeding by enhancing services with data-driven solutions, both for fans and behind the scenes,” the report said.