Forty Under 40: Looking Ahead
As SportsBusiness Journal honors its 2014 class of Forty Under 40 this week at a ceremony in California, we asked them the following question:
What is the biggest challenge facing the sports industry in 2014?
The definition of amateurism.
With the increasing number of platforms and sources of entertainment, the competition for fans’ attention has never been greater. The sports industry will continue to be challenged to draw audiences in.
Harnessing technology in the right ways to enhance the fan experience.
Leagues, teams, properties, content-distribution partners, agencies, investors and clients all have to be careful about the management of and cost of content.
Utilizing mobile technology to enhance and individualize the game-day experience for fans. Additionally, looking for more efficient ways to capture customer data and apply it to our business strategies and services.
Figuring out the secondary market of ticketing.
Developing an accepted common currency for measuring sports viewing across all screens.
Getting people to authenticate TV Everywhere. There’s no unity around that.
TVE and the digital rights struggle between leagues, broadcasters, MVPDs and local affiliates. The linear TV strategy can’t be shoehorned into a digital strategy; it needs to be approached differently.
The shift to programmatic media buys. I’m also interested to see if fans start to cut the cord and embrace over-the-top digital video services.
Starting to better understand and embrace how younger audiences are consuming content. The world is changing very quickly.
Improving the fan experience and enhancing customer engagement. We want to identify every person attending an event in our building and create more meaningful relationships with them throughout the year.
Competition with other consumer entertainment options.
Lots of transformative change is in the air (e.g., status of amateurism in college sports, continually evolving public views on sexuality and the legalization of marijuana, and the previously unfathomable but now common household debate about whether kids should be allowed to play football). It will be fascinating to see how sports and the sports leagues change with the times.
Emerging markets hosting large-scale sporting events.
Fan engagement. With so many other options out there, keeping people engaged and interested will determine how sports teams and leagues will do moving forward.
Fan attendance at live events.
Connecting with new generations and making them fervent sports fans like previous generations. The entire sports fandom experience has changed from the way it’s introduced and cultivated in children and ultimately nurtured through adulthood. Maintaining and growing that avidity is crucial to the future of every facet of this business.
Adapting to the ever-changing media landscape.
Figuring out the best ways to monetize the changing technology and new ways to interact with fans.
Getting butts in seats.
Growing relevance and fan engagement in an ever-changing digital world.
Selling tickets to live events.
Keeping pace with new forms of technology/entertainment and making sure kids are both actively and passively consuming sports.
Figuring how to keep fans engaged and valued.
Being very open and accepting to the lifestyles of the athletes that grace our back pages.
The fear and controversy surrounding the concussion issue.
Determining the role sponsors play in broadcasting content.
PEDs. As a parent, if you can’t feel good about transferring your passion for a sport from your generation to the next, that’s a bigger issue than anything else facing the industry.
The same that faced it for the last couple of years: the secondary market. Getting our arms around the secondary market in a way that’s healthy and accretive and controllable for fans still is the No. 1 challenge; no question in my mind.
Commoditization and a lack of innovation.
Fragmentation of viewership across platforms. It also happens to be the industry’s biggest opportunity.
How social media is going to change how sports endorsement deals are constructed and valued.
The ability for sports and sports media businesses to create great experiences for fans in-stadium and on all viewing platforms amidst a complex technology and rights landscape.
Embracing diversity in race, gender and sexual orientation.