2018 – The year ahead in (Politics) Sport

2018 – The year ahead in (Politics) Sport
Photo by Mario Klassen on Unsplash

No doubt the 2018 agenda will be dominated by two main events The FIFA World Cup in Russia and the PyeongChang Winter Olympics. Two of the world’s most powerful governing bodies and biggest events, trying to put controversial pasts behind them with events hosted in controversial regions. Interestingly a major event is a global economic, marketing and political platform for any host nation, stimulating culture, commerce and tourism; so, it will be interesting to see how these two play out. The IOC is off to a good start and will be delighted with South Korea’s diplomatic peace offering to the North as this demonstrates ‘the power of The Olympics’. The challenge will be keeping audience engagement up. But much has been said about both these events and the one thing that never fails to deliver is the actual sport itself. I doubt many watching The World Cup will be debating the political infrastructure of Russia (but who knows what might unfold).

However, there is plenty going on as Austen Donnellan of Bray Leino points out ‘Will 2018 finally become the year when the tipping point is reached on women’s sport, be it coverage, sponsorship investment, viewing figures or attendances?’ The Women’s Hockey World Cup in London in July and the Women’s World Twenty20 in the West Indies in November are but two highlights where UK success will raise the profile even further.

The Women’s sports debate is a good one, as it has many agenda’s. Fantastically positive on the pitch but more complex commercially.

Hopefully, this will be the year that commercial support for the women’s game continues and more brands buy into the power of sport and its ability to engage fans into loyal consumers (it’s not about eyeballs – it’s about who you’re talking to, their influence and purchasing power).

Photo by Rodion Kutsaev on Unsplash

Also, will this be the year that the FANGs (Facebook, Amazon, Netflix and Google) get their teeth into Premier League Rights?  

With the Premier League ‘Audio and Visual’ (that’s what we used to call ‘content’) rights up for tender, the big question is will the FANG’s make a major play. Again, much has been said about this – any commercial tender needs competitive tension so regardless of their intentions just their presence is enough to keep price increasing. They’ve been around for a while and are now in a position to do whatever they want.

Will Amazon (my front-runner) pay out big and disrupt the sport like Sky did? I don’t think so, but I’m pretty sure they will do something. Therefore the football bubble continues to get bigger and 2018 will be the start of a new era of sport as we know it.

Rupert Pratt is Co-Founder of Snack-Gaming.com and consultant to Snack-Media

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