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5 Sports Trends in 2016 That Businesses Need to Know

If you’re in the sports industry, you need to be aware of its trends to innovate and find new competitive edges. As technology evolves, what once worked in sports marketing won’t continue to work. Expectations from fans are changing alongside technological advancements. A few decades ago, you would rarely see anyone on his/her mobile phone at a live game. Today, you’ll have no trouble spotting people who check their cell phones at the game. Although they’re usually just checking their social media feeds for what others are saying about the game, it’s still an important change in the sports industry. Here are the top five sports trends in 2016 to keep up with:

Virtual Reality

Virtual reality is estimated to bring in billions of dollars around the world, and sports companies have already stuck their foot in the door. The NBA broadcasted their 2015-2016 kickoff live with VR options enabled. Anyone who owned a virtual reality headset was able to watch the kickoff in 360 degrees. VR is not only being used for fans but the athletes too. Football teams, including those at the college level, have started using virtual reality tools to train while not on the field. College programs use VR as a recruiting tool to give tours of the campus without requiring the applicant to travel.

Fan Engagement

Fan engagement has always been a crucial aspect of sports. Without excited fans, there’s no business. This factor, however, has evolved this year in alignment with technological advancements. Fans want to stay connected with their favorite teams in real time. They crave to be as close to their athletes as possible. Social media opened the way for increased engagement between athletes and fans in real time. Sports teams host live Google Hangouts and broadcast on other live streaming sites like Periscope to further connect with fans in real time.

Fan engagement continues to deepen in 2016. NASCAR, for instance, offers a “digital cockpit” for fans to interact with their favorite drivers during the race. Another example is Foxtel’s Alert Shirt, which creates the sensations athletes experience during games for fans. Fans can now literally feel the impact of a tackle.


Esportsearnings.com reported that more than $64 million in prize money was awarded in 2015. ESports is a viable career choice and college major. Some colleges even offer scholarships to the top players in eSports. Examples of two universities that give eSports scholarships are Robert Morris University in Chicago and University of Pikeville in Kentucky. Several television networks cover eSports as well, such as TBS and Disney.

Sports Gambling

Betting real money on sports outcomes is another major trend that businesses need to know. If you plan on getting involved in sports betting, check your state laws first. Some states allow sports betting, whereas others have strict regulations around it. Sports gambling isn’t a new concept, but it’s increased in popularity thanks to the creation of sports betting sites. These online platforms make it easy and convenient for gamblers to place bets on which team they think will win.

Female Target Market

Last, but not least, females are making a larger impact in sports as well. The female audience for sports has grown and more female athletes are being recognized for their talent and performance. Serena Williams won the Sportsperson of the Year, an award previously titled Sportsman of the Year, from Sports Illustrated this year. Yahoo’s list of most searched athletes for 2015 consisted mostly of women. In addition, the Woman’s World Cup Soccer took the #1 spot for most watched soccer event on television in the United States. Females are finding their place in a traditionally male-dominated industry.

Virtual reality, fan engagement, eSports, sports gambling, and female target markets are five of the biggest sports trends in 2016 that businesses need to know. Contemplate and brainstorm on these trends to develop innovative ideas for your sports brand. Remember to not only incorporate what’s popular and rising in popularity right now, but predict what’s next based on these trends.

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How Professional Teams Benefit the Economy of Cities They Play In

There is much made about how much teams ask of taxpayers in the cities that they are in. While the owners are millionaires or billionaires, they still ask the city where they play to put up money to help build a stadium or ask to split revenues from the stadium others have paid for. However, professional teams are still in high demand because of what they do for the local economy. What are some of the specific impacts?

The City Gets a Boost in Prestige

In general, a city that has a professional team is thought higher of then cities that don’t have sports teams. In some cases, the sports teams may be one of the few attractions of the area. For instance, without the Sabres or the Bills, Buffalo is just another city in upstate New York. Without the Packers, Green Bay is just another small city in the middle of the country.

Stadiums Can Often Be Used for Many Purposes

While a stadium may be built specifically for a baseball team or a basketball team, those stadiums aren’t used throughout the year. If a team plays in the NFL, it may only be used for 10 dates the entire year when you include preseason and regular season games. When the stadiums aren’t be used by their main tenants, they can be used to host conventions, concerts and other large events. They may also be used to lure major events such as the Olympics or other national or regional competitions.

Bars and Restaurants Near the Stadium Make Money on Game Day

In more urban areas, it may not be possible to tailgate in the stadium parking lot before the game. This means that people have to grab a beer or dinner before the game at a bar or restaurant near the stadium or arena. After the game, those same people may decide to stick around for another drink or to kill time before they are good enough to drive home. For those who work at these establishments, they may see more tips while the business owners will see increased revenues. The city benefits because they see more tax revenue from the businesses that make that money.

The Team May Create Hundreds of Jobs

When a team comes to town, they will have a wide variety of positions that need to be filled. For example, someone will be needed to take tickets, sell hot dogs or park cars in a proper manner. There will also be a need for people in the sales and marketing departments as well as security personnel to keep people safe during the game or during any other event at the stadium or arena.

The Team May Spur Employment in Other Ways as Well

Before a new team can start play, it will need a new stadium or upgrades to a current stadium. That means construction jobs that pay well and will last for several months or years. Employers around the stadium will also need to hire more workers during the season as more people come to shop, eat or otherwise spend money in town. If a town has a casino or is otherwise known as a gambling town, people may decide to spend money as an alternate to sports betting sites or in addition to bets made online.

If your city is about to get a new professional sports team, it may be something to celebrate whether you are a fan or not. In a worst case scenario, you may be able to find a job, benefit from increased public services or feel better about living in a city that is known on a national level thanks to money derived from that team.

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How Fantasy Sports are Changing the Face of the Economy

What are Fantasy Sports Anyway?

Fantasy sports used to be a simple betting game among sports fans and friends to see who had the most insight into the art and science of the games. A group of guys would get together, watch their favorite teams, and then make good natured bets on the outcomes of not just specific teams but individual players. However, with the introduction of the internet, the game of fantasy sports has changed drastically. Basic strategies include following sports teams and their players carefully in order to increase the odds of picking the best players. If an online fantasy sports fan wants to play fantasy basketball, he would probably spend a little time researching the NBA odds of certain players doing well in upcoming games and make his fantasy team picks accordingly. 

Online, Offline – Is There a Difference?

Online fantasy sports participants combine real players into a virtual fantasy team. These teams are then ranked based on their performances, and the performances of the players within them. The statistics of each game are compiled into points which are then calculated into real cash earnings. The difference between fantasy sports at home and those online is that players can compete against anyone else who is using the same site.

So Who Exactly Plays Fantasy Sports?

Online fantasy sports have fans from all walks of life. Whereas traditional games were typically played by a group of guy friends, the individual nature of the internet presents opportunities for anyone with a computer to participate. Statistics of the top fantasy sports sites indicate that although the majority of users are middle aged men, an increasing number of women, and elderly users have begun to not only just play, but win!

This Can’t Really Affect the Economy, Can it?

Online fantasy sports were one of the fastest rising industries of 2015 with more than 50 million active players using the sites. The most popular sites of the year, FanDuel and DraftKings both saw increases of over 40% of their revenue with the use of successful marketing campaigns which included both online and television commercials using real player testimonials.
Even someone who has no interest in fantasy sports has the opportunity to get in on the action. Many online fantasy sports companies are public, which means anyone can buy and sell their stocks for a profit. This means that anyone who participates in the stock market, regardless of their ability to play fantasy sports can benefit from this booming business.

The Real Stats

The Fantasy Sports Trade Association estimates that 56.8 million people in the U.S. and Canada played fantasy sports in 2015. This number is expected to increase by at least 15% in the next year as emerging companies begin to attract more fans.
Eilers Research is a self-described boutique research firm focused on servicing the gaming equipment, technology, and interactive gaming sectors within the global gaming industry. In 2015 they rocked leading economists worlds by projecting that daily fantasy games would be generating around $2.6 billion in entry fees this year, a statistic that later proved accurate. This is nothing compared to their projected increase of 41% annually, which indicates that online fantasy sports companies will earn around $14.4 billion in the year 2020. That’s the equivalent of earning $2 dollars for every human being currently living on earth.

So What Does This All Mean?

What was once a novelty designated to water cooler conversations or a night in with the guys has become a veritable cash cow. New formats are being invented daily to keep fans guessing and to improve the chances of winning big. With existing companies exceeding all the experts’ financial projections and new companies on the rise with intent to go even further, online fantasy sports are proving to be not only a big business, but one that is booming! Fantasy sports are here to stay.

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College Football Playoffs Have Mixed Results

Ever since the NCAA decided to add a playoff system to college football in 2014, there has been countless debate as to whether the new system is working. In some ways, the new playoff format is an unprecedented success. It allows two additional teams a chance at championship immortality.

On the other hand, some dislike the new committee that has such a large hand in determining the playoff participants. Here are some of the pros and cons of the new college football playoff system.

Great For the Fans

Nobody can deny that a college football playoff is a great idea from a fan perspective. The new system has turned games such as the Rose Bowl and Cotton Bowlinto must watch television. While these games have always held a special place in the hearts of college football fans from a nostalgic point of view, they have never been proving grounds in which the victor earns a trip to the national championship game. At least not until now.

Turning nostalgic bowl games into something much bigger is a win win for college football and its dedicated legions of die hard fans. The new playoff system definitely provides a solid platform for can’t miss games, which should make fans across the country hungry with anticipation.

Selection Committees

Before the new system’s introduction in 2014, college football had always operated with a ranking system comprising the votes of coaches and writers specializing in the college game. Since that time however, a selection committee comprised of a mash-up of coaches, writers, ex-players, politicians, and athletic directors has decided the fates of top college teams.

Vegas and Fantasy Sports

It’s no secret that people across the country love to gamble on sports, especially when that sport is football. Bonus points if that sport is college football. In recent years, major media outlets such as ESPN have started incorporating information relevant to those in gambling circles. This information ranges from point spreads to daily fantasy statistics. It can be argued that at least some of these changes have been influenced by the popularity of the new system. When compared with NBA odds predictions, college football comes out way ahead.

The playoff has also served as a commercial for daily fantasy players. Sites like FanDuel and DraftKings have tons of tournaments dedicated to playoff weekend each year.With millions of dollars changing hands in these tournaments, the playoff’s impact on the gambling front can definitely be seen and felt.


While the idea of multiple college playoff games on the same day seems enticing, people seemed to have other things to do on New Years Eve this year. The Orange Bowl, the first game of the day featuring Clemson and Oklahoma, received ratings 38.5 percent lower than the previous season’s Rose Bowl. The second game, a clash between Michigan State and Alabama in the Cotton Bowl, resulted in a ratings drop of 36.8 percent.

The previous season’s playoff games were held on New Years Day instead of New Years Eve , which resulted in much higher ratings. The playoff system may have generally been a big step in the right direction for college football, but the selection committee’s decision to feature the games on this date was most definitely not in the best interest of the sport or its fans.

The new playoff format implemented by the NCAA has had a massive impact on college football. It has created a refreshing new wrinkle by giving two extra teams a chance at a nation championship. It has also enhanced NCAA odds betting interest and provided even more excitement to millions of fans.

Unfortunately, a controversial selection committee making controversial decisions has kept the new system from being a slam dunk success. Only time will tell if the new playoff system will endure.

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Is Fantasy Sports Like Investing in Stock Market

Is the world of professional sports becoming a “stock-like” investment for the common man? If you are talking about actually investing in a pro team, then probably not; if the table conversation centers on fantasy sports, then you might be onto something. In fact, fantasy sports mimics stock investing in several ways. There is some big money being made both by the participants and the start-ups in this new industry.

How is Fantasy Sports like Legitimate Investing?

First, there are many people who believe fantasy sports is legitimate. There is also a case to be made that it is just glorified legal online betting. It is legal, partly because it is termed a “game of skill.” As an investment, however, there are many similarities to stock market speculation. Money Ganda says that fantasy sports success depends upon diversification and depth. Teams have different players at different positions to “cover all the monetary bases.” It also relies on proven performers and adds some “wild card” players that can be traded. Most people build their stock portfolios on the same principle. Fantasy Sport success depends upon knowing your players and their histories. The same is true of choosing stocks.

Fantasy Sports Start-ups are Scoring Big

Another similarity is in the amounts of money that are floating through the two systems. The two big names are FanDuel and DraftKing. In a fast pitch of venture funding, FanDuel raised $275 million. In after-money value, which is the value of the company after the investment, that translates to $1.275 billion. DraftKing raised $126 million in their own gambit. The company is now raising “series D” funding. That is the fifth round of funding after the initial investments, and indicated investors have no qualms about taking the risk.

How Do the Startups make Money?

If that is your question, you evidently are not a “player.” One in three males over the age of 15 is, according to the Wall Street Journal. Some games are free to enter, and others may cost upwards of $5,000 to play. The average, however, is $7. Players build their teams based on pro sports organizations like the NFL odds of individual players’ success. The companies pay out winnings and still make tidy profits. In 2014 FanDuel had $57 in net profit. This year’s profit is expected to top that in spite of the company awarding an expected $2 billion in winnings. Fan Fuel’s investors include Google, Time Warner and several individual pro sports owners, among others. Through these investors the company raised $363 million. That translates to a lot of after-funding value. The pro sports organizations are interested in alliances; the number of participants in fantasy sports games points to building an ever-more-loyal fan base for the real teams, and revenues from ticket and merchandise sales. ESPN struck a deal with DraftKings to allow it exclusive advertising on the network in 2016; the company recently spent $20 million on advertising in just one week. The advertising evidently works; last year DraftKings said they added hundreds of new players every day after the regular NFL season started. The two biggest players in the fantasy sports industries are “dueling” to get those station exclusive ad contracts and endorsements. However, the fantasy sports corporations are becoming such big business that now networks are looking into advertising on the fantasy sites.

Fantasy sport startups are sprouting everywhere. The industry has grown 60 percent just since 2007. From inception to this point fantasy sports has made a whopping $4.5 billion impact on the American economy. That is more than NASCAR. Investment and business gurus are encouraging new businesses to jump into the water. The climate is right for new sports. It doesn’t take much to get a start-up running; you must have a good website and a thorough knowledge of your sport. With those things, and a little luck, fantasy sports entrepreneurs may put a few more fish into the deep investment waters where the big ones, like DraftKings & FanDuel already swim.


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