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Volume 22 No. 3
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What sports business story are you watching most closely in the next 12 months?

The impact of legalized sports betting is top of mind for many in the sports business industry.
Photo: getty images

Portia Archer: Working in the direct-to-consumer world, the growth of cord-free consumers is a story I continue to keep my eye on. Reading opinions, stories and analysis and comparing it to experiences we’ve observed with NBC Sports and NBC Sports Gold, is a great way to understand consumer habits.

Kathy Beauregard: The impact of gambling in our collegiate sports world. 

”SportsCenter” on Snapchat is finding new ways to engage with a younger audience.

Carrie Brzezinski-Hsu: New ways to deliver sports content to fans, especially young fans. I love what “SportsCenter” is doing on Snapchat right now.

Alba Colon: The business of NASCAR and how the sport is changing with TV coverage, audience, sponsorship and the transition to younger drivers. If we continue to adapt, NASCAR will be very exciting and relevant for many, many years.

Jen Cramer: I’m interested to see where the sports industry nets out with gambling. What happens in the next 12 months can impact everything from ratings, fan engagement, revenue, compliance and even data and technology.

Mary Ellen Curran: The launch of the XFL.

Kathy Duva: The rise of the digital platforms like DAZN and ESPN+. All the over-the-tops. There will be this upheaval and then one or two organizations will emerge and roll everything up. It’s just the way it works.

Janet Evans: The progress of future Olympic/Paralympic cities, including Tokyo and Paris.

Whitney Haslam Johnson: I have such a passion for guest experience. I’m paying close attention to how fans experience games at home and how we continue to enhance the in-stadium experience.

Jessica Holtz: I’ll continue to watch the growth of the NBA. The league has such an incredible commissioner in Adam Silver and powerful female leader in Michele Roberts at the NBPA that our players are in an incredible position both on and off the court.

Lynn Holzman: How individual states address legalized sports wagering and how the different sports organizations manage maintaining the integrity of the games.

Ashlee Huffman: I’m interested to watch the growth and change of the Verizon IndyCar Series in the U.S. and internationally. Across the sports landscape I think it’s an overlooked platform for brands.

Michelle Johnson: With the expanding enthusiasm for the game of basketball in the U.S. and around the world accompanied by the attendant increase in scrutiny via television and social media, the importance of maintaining the passion while sustaining respect for the game and all its actors is absolutely paramount.

Michelle Kennedy: The impact on a state-by-state and industrywide basis of the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down federal law prohibiting sports gambling.

Diane Karle: Legalized sports gambling.

Nona Lee: Esports, AI and the evolving world of media rights.

Sandra Lopez: Sports betting.

Neera Mahajan Shetty: Laws and regulations with respect to gambling and daily fantasy.

Yvette Martinez-Rea: Other than Ronaldo going to Juventus so I have something to talk to my 14-year-old about? It’s definitely how the changes in online betting laws will be rolled out here in the U.S.

Laila Mintas: Everything around betting.

Liz Moulton: The much-needed evolution of the USOC — including long overdue transparency. I am thrilled they chose Sarah Hirshland to lead the charge. She is a good model for ethical and compassionate leadership.

Joanne Pasternack: How professional and amateur athletes will continue to share messages around social justice through their highly visible platform and how that will impact the world outside of sports — politics, schools, business development.

Lara Pitaro Wisch: Where will digital disruption and technological innovation take the distribution, consumption and monetization of sports content? Will any of FAANG’s [Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix and Google] potential acquisition of sports rights, rising mobile and social media consumption, and/or more mainstream proliferation of AR/VR/other interactivity dramatically alter the production and distribution of sports media as we currently know it?

Hania Poole: The trends we are seeing with a decline in youth interest and viewership of live sports.

Jennifer Pope: TV cable vs. streaming. My husband and I were just talking about how we don’t watch TV really anymore (just Netflix, etc.) but need to be able to watch live sports.

Lara Price: Sports betting.

Marianne Rotole: How the NCAA and NBA address the matters pertaining to basketball player eligibility, particularly the one-and-done rule and the ability for college players to profit from their own image/likeness.

Kristen Salvatore: The growth of interest in esports sponsorships among companies nonendemic to the space. There’s such massive opportunity for organizations with the vision (and stomach) willing to become a part of that ecosystem right now … even though it’s changing daily.

Morgan Shaw Parker: Two stories I’m looking forward to watching: 1. Arthur Blank has truly changed the game through his food and beverage program at Mercedes-Benz Stadium (street pricing for every event). The NFL, MLS, NHL, NBA and AMC Theatres have all taken note and started to follow suit. 2. Seeing reports of more women in leadership roles across all levels of sports business.

Sara Toussaint: Two are top of mind for me: 1) How does U.S. Soccer rebuild after missing the 2018 FIFA World Cup; and 2) how do athletes, teams, leagues and the industry respond to societal issues because inequality and discrimination will not be eradicated any time soon.

Cyndie Wang: The sports story most top of mind is about Tiger Woods and whether he will be a captain’s pick for the 2018 USA Ryder Cup team. When Ryder Cup fever subsides, I will be closely watching the progress on the Chase Center construction project.

Nichol Whiteman: The NFL players’ protest will shape not just the industry but the entire world. We have a chance for an honest dialogue.

Chie Chie Yard: I am eager to see how the Vegas Golden Knights follow up their inaugural Cinderella season.