Mark Burns asked for trends and hot topics to follow in the sports industry as well as for predictions about the different niches within sports for 2016 in Forbes. One hundred-plus professionals weighed in with their thoughts across 13 categories, including mobile/technology, legal, business, media, virtual reality, social/digital and others. Participants were asked to give five to 10 sentences, in “100+ Sports Business Professionals Discuss Hot Topics, Bold Predictions For 2016.”

“There are two major trends I expect to see in 2016 — fantasy consumption shifting to be mobile-first and a surge in sports emoji-use. Surprisingly, the computer was still the most used device by fantasy players in 2015 at 44%, however, that is quickly changing year-over-year. SportsManias is positioning itself to be the main fantasy app for diehards, where they can get real-time, personalized content on their fantasy team to help them make smarter fantasy decisions. Phones are where people are increasingly spending their time and with the information obsession fantasy players have, we see this as a great opportunity.”

“In terms of mobile messaging, several teams and leagues released emoji apps this year. At SportsManias, we consider ourselves one of the leaders in this space. We launched the world’s first animated sports emoji keyboard in October, for diehards and fantasy players to be able to trash talk with. And we’ve seen tremendous usage numbers ever since, doubling as a messaging platform for diehards, as well as their personalized news source. As emojis are more readily available to fans and more fans learn about them, it may be hard to go a fantasy week without receiving a sports emoji from a trash-talking friend.”

— Vicente Fernandez, Co-Founder/Chief Executive Officer, SportsManias

“The entire fantasy industry is more popular than ever. While daily fantasy (DFS) had been all the talk in 2015, season-long fantasy remains the overwhelming choice for the majority of fantasy players. While no one exactly knows how the DFS drama will play out in 2016, season-long fantasy is not going anywhere and the growth in players continues to reach new heights. Considering daily fantasy’s greatest legal defense is an unfriendly marketing message (1.3% win 91% of the profits), I expect many fantasy players who may have left for the excitement of DFS will return to the season-long format, enter more season-long leagues and raise the stakes with their friends.”

— Adam Wexler, Chief Executive Officer, SidePrize

“2016 will be the year for daily fantasy sports. While current analysts are split between feast or famine, I think with the level of investment from leagues, brands and broadcasters, and the room for growth from fan engagement, we will see daily fantasy win against state regulators, albeit with more regulation and oversight than before and an increase in transparency from operators to their customers.”

— Scott Gimpel, Founder/Chief Executive Officer, FantasyData.com

No doubt, fantasy sports will be a hot topic. You might break some ice with marketers by knowing some stats on Fantasy Sports Players. Let AudienceSCAN be your bookie. Did you imagine that 17.5% of players are female? Players have the money to lay on the line: 21.4% earn $100,000-$149,999 annually. 37% of Fantasy Sports Players usually try to support companies that sponsor their favorite sports teams or athletes. Fantasy players are 205% more likely than average to enjoy watching poker! 29.6% are planning trips to out-of-town professional/college sporting events. And 25% are going to buy video game systems this year.

AudienceSCAN data is available as part of a subscription to AdMall for Agencies. Media companies can access AudienceSCAN data through the Audience Intelligence Reports in AdMall.