The Worldwide Sports Industry

Sports is a moneymaker and this is being optimized through the usage of new technologies. In this article you will learn about what new tech is used for by professional teams and how this is changing the worldwide sports industry. Next to that you will also discover that China is being serious about becoming football world champion in 2050. Let’s take a look!

How much money?


Let’s start with some numbers. According to Statista, In 2018, the global sports market was valued at around 471 billion U.S. dollars. In contrast, the market was valued at 324 billion U.S. dollars in 2011.

The largest market is North America. They are contributing to 30.5% of the global market. The global recreation market reached a value of 1,435.4 billion US in 2018 and is expected to grow to 1,809.8 billion US in 2022.  Source.

The growth is a result of globalization. New emerging markets and urbanization are the factors helping this growth. But whereas climate change and shortage of sports professionals negatively impacted the growth, increasing sports sponsorship, the rise of E-sports, increase of internet access and compatible devices are making sure this negative impact is being countered.

It seems to me that sports won’t be going anywhere. Growth is remaining and this provides a lot of new opportunities. 

China’s big plans.


China is one of the emerging markets as mentioned previously. You can read more about their sports industry here. I can tell you that it’s pretty impressive. Their eventual goal is to become football world champion in 2050. This effort to reach this goal is seen in the rise football academies throughout China. The best example is worlds biggest football academy, which is also located in China. This academy has a statue of the world cup trophy at their main entrance. If you don’t think that’s a sign of their seriousness, read the following statistics.

Guangzhou Evergrande Youth Academy has over 50 football pitches for its 2,500 students. In this academy the students train 6 days a week under the guidance of 24 Spanish coaches. Not just any coaches of course, Evergrande has a partnership with Real Madrid so the students will be getting top quality guidance. Check out this video below to get an impression of the daily life as a student at Evergrande.

Technology trends


As read in how corona affect the sports industry, technology is becoming an essential part of the sports industry. Next to that, there are also multiple applications as described in Tools & Equipment for sports coaches.

Professional teams are using machine learning experts more often for optimizing the marketing, ticket sales and fan engagement. Next to that, this knowledge is also being used for draft selection, player evaluation and game-day decision making. Because big teams are investing more into sports analytics, technology companies such a Adobe have seen this as an opportunity to step in. They created an AI-powered insights tool to help NFL fans with building their fantasy football teams.

Showing a man wearing a VR set on a tennis court.

Another pretty cool thing which is rising, is the usage of Virtual Reality. The sports entertainment industry uses VR to create events which submerses fans in their experience. A good example is the company NextVR, they are working with NBA Digital to create VR experiences in which users can see live NBA games.

As you can see, technology is taking over in the sports and entertainment industry. Although it is primarily focused on marketing and increasing revenue, better user experiences and engagement is making it more fun for the fans.

Technology and Injury Prevention


Injured players cost money as it is even estimated that the cost for 4 major football leagues came at around 100 million euro in 2015. The teams realized this and despite the effort to increase sports safety, technology is now used to help understand why athletes are picking up specific injuries. This data will also be used to understand how the injury could be prevented. Want to have deep insight into the sports science and technology trends? Check out this link and this one.

Maybe it’s time to become a data scientist because it seems that data is the new gold. I am curious to what extend technology will be used over the coming years. The sure thing is that a new age of entertainment is coming upon us. What do you think? Let me know by sending me a message on LinkedIn.

Cheers – Max de Klerk

The co-founder, Max de Klerk, standing in front of a wall

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