The last year was a wild one for the sports industry. From the rise of eSports to the legalization of gambling, 2018 had so much to tell that’ll go down in history.
What does this year have in store? Based on the events of the past year, we’re guessing it has its own surprises up its sleeves as well.
Ready to check out the top 2019 trends that are rocking the sports industry? Knock yourself out and read on.
Athletes Becoming Content Creators
The year 2019 is the year of influencers. Almost everyone is a content creator in their own right—and that includes athletes.
Gone are the days when sports fans check the news or visit sports sites for updates on their favorite players. Today, people can simply log into their social accounts and check out these players’ pages, whether on Instagram, Twitter, or even Youtube.
For athletes, content creation is not just an avenue to communicate with their fanbase. It’s also a way to cultivate their personal brands and to encourage the next generation of athletes to do the same.
European Soccer Increases in Popularity
Soccer continues to grow its popularity in America as the World Cup fever spreads throughout the country. But it’s not just a seasonal affair; soccer will capture the hearts of Americans for the long-term.
In fact, soccer now ranks as the third most watched team sport in the US, surpassed by basketball and American football.
European nations seem to be taking notes. In 2015, the English Premier League made a deal with NBC Sports to stream its games to US households for a billion dollars.
This year, you can expect European clubs looking to welcome young American athletes to fill their rosters as well.
eSports Grows More than Ever
It may come as a shock, but the first eSports event happened way back in October of 1972. Students at Stanford University competed on the video game Spacewar.
Fast forward to 2019, the biggest prize pool from a single tournament hit a whopping $34.3 million for the game Defense of the Ancients 2. You can only imagine the amount of eSports players and enthusiasts investing their time and effort to constantly step up their game.
eSports leagues continue to build and expand their fanbase all over the world. It will be no surprise when these leagues are integrated into the existing sports experience. We’re talking about Topgolf facilities having eSports lounges and the new Real Madrid stadium hosting an eSports arena.
Emerging Sports Take Over
Other nontraditional sports are also making their way into the industry this 2019. Aside from colleges offering eSports scholarships, USA Pickleball has grown in number over the past five years. BMX racing is considered the fastest growing sport in the US. Drone racing is also a thing—it even has its own national league system.
In other news, Aussie Rules Football and cricket are two international sports that are also looking to establish in America.
2019 has paved way for these nonconventional sports to flourish. We always wonder what to expect next.
Athlete Safety Improves
Athlete safety is always a serious consideration in the sports industry. In fact, it has spawned the launch of Safe Sport, an independent sports organization that aims to protect athletes and those involved in the Olympics.
Many sports organizations in the country have mandated Safe Sport and background checks. These don’t apply only to coaches but also to board members, officials, and event volunteers. The aim is to make the games safer for everyone.
Women Take Over Shooting Sports
Women are starting to break into one of the most male-dominated sports competitions: shooting. Survey shows that 98 percent of women participants engaged in target shooting and half of them have hunted.
Here’s another surprising result: more than 42 percent of these women have a concealed carry permit from their state.
This goes to show that women are becoming more and more confident in owning a gun and even using them, whether for recreational or safety purposes.
What a Year It Has Been
The world sure is a more exciting place to be in with sports around. And with 2019 coming to a close, we’re giddy to know what’s in store for athletes and enthusiasts alike in the upcoming year.