eSports Leagues Will Start Becoming More Mainstream

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 the article: 100+ Sports Business Professionals Discuss Hot Topics, Bold Predictions For 2016.

My predictions for 2016: (a) eSports will continue to be the fastest-​growing new sport globally, (b) eSports leagues will start becoming more mainstream, with major broadcast channels airing more and more content and © software, merchandising and team valuations will grow faster within eSports than the category itself. At Vulcun, we’re committed to making eSports more interactive and fun and believe that eSports has decades of growth ahead of it.”

— Ali Moiz, Chief Executive Officer, Vulcun

Basketball could be the best sport for these esport fans. According to AudienceSCAN, 29% of Augmented Reality Users enjoy playing basketball for sport or exercise.

There are two key trends that I will keep an eye on this season. 2016 will be all about virtual reality, but the technology behind VR is just the beginning. Content is always king, and how brands utilize VR content will be critical to success. This is a huge opportunity for teams and venues, and I think this opens a huge avenue for those looking to break into the video production industry. I also think platforms such as The Players’ Tribune and Uninterrupted will continue to change the game, providing fans with more access to athletes and athletes with an even stronger voice. For teams, this is a huge trend to keep an eye on as our focus is bringing fans closer to our athletes, and building stories around our athletes.”

— Bryan Srabian, Director, Digital Media, San Francisco Giants

Augmented Reality Users are glued to the screen for soccer. AudienceSCAN research showed 23% of users watch Soccer: Premier League in person or on TV.

I would bet big money that we are going to see a major shift in how sports organizations approach social video content in the next 1–3 years. If you think back to 2008, companies either had an intern running the Facebook/​Twitter pages, or they were paying outside firms to run some occasional campaigns. But by 2012, almost every major company in the world realized that social merited an in-​house position, and we saw the rise of full-​time social media staff (and now those positions are some of the most important posts in a marketing/​PR structure)."

Don't be afraid to use and incorporate video! 56% of Augmented Reality Users are using YouTube, according to AudienceSCAN. 58.5% of this audience reads a blog EVERY day.

"I see the exact same thing happening for social video. Currently, brands with extra marketing budgets are hiring outside “influencers” to produce Vine, Instagram and Snapchat content but mainly just for gamedays or major events. But this approach has drawbacks, plus teams are realizing that short-​form video is just going to get bigger, and it needs to be consistent (read: daily). I predict that we’re going to see some tech-​savvy teams start to hire full-​time producers who will focus strictly on content creation for social media video sites. I would not be surprised, come next season, if we already see some teams making a major leap forward in terms of the quality and content of the viral video content they are producing in-house.”

— Ian Padgham, Vine Artist

Asking your sports marketers to place ads incorporating their sports sponsorships could be a great revenue stream for you. AudienceSCAN data revealed that 55.3% of Augmented Reality Users usually try to support companies that sponsor their favorite sports teams or athletes. Try tying in with fantasy leagues too. 18.5% of Augmented Reality Users enjoy playing fantasy sports.

Courtney Huckabay
Courtney is the Editor for SalesFuel Today. She analyzes secondary customer research and our primary AudienceSCAN research. Courtney is a graduate of Middle Tennessee State University.