• Charlie Beall

Seven Trends to Define Digital Sport in 2021

Download the full Seven League Digital Trends in Sport report for 2021, here.

Following a year like no other in the sports industry, leading global digital sports consultancy Seven League has revealed seven key trends that are set to define the digital sports landscape in 2021.

Now in its third year of publication, the “Seven Digital Trends in Sport 2021” is drawn from insights taken from a number of leading Seven League consultants, pausing for thought after an extraordinary 12 months for the digital sports industry.

The report scrutinises a number of topics within digital and wider sports marketing, touching on areas such as social commerce, broadcast re-versioning, and clubs going D2C. It also dissects the anticipated rise of audio, as well as the flattening of social channels as it becomes about the network of users, more than product features.

The exclusive report identifies seven digital trends, and explores the possible impact on the sports industry in 2021.

A taste of Seven League’s Seven Digital Trends in Sport 2021:

  1. WE ALL WATCH TOGETHER A look at a year where we discover if fans actually want to watch sports videos socially, or if they prefer to keep this behaviour to the second screen. Think: Does the tech and usability work? Is the content worth co-watching? Are my friends using the service?

  2. SPORT ADOPTS SOCIAL COMMERCE Ecommerce will be part of a wider digital transformation journey. It requires a different set of skills to those within most sports organisations – product ideation, creative campaign planning, timely production and fulfilment, even managing product returns and refunds. It will be critical to curate a set of product offerings that fans genuinely want.

  3. BROADCAST RE-VERSIONING We will see more watch-along formats that users will turn to as the new second screen in place of the official presenting voice of a sport. We will see versioning of live events as rights holders try to make their products more relevant to key demographics.

  4. CLUBS GO D2C Clubs will seek to carve out new forms of value, distinct from existing ticketing or membership models. They will experiment with different price tiers that appeal more to international fans.

  5. THE RISE OF AUDIO There has been an explosion of technology that supports live interactive events, group chat and simply ‘hanging out’ together. With consumers shifting to more audio listening rather than text reading, we expect sports organisations to adopt text-to-speech as part of their wider efforts in audio.

  6. THE GREAT FLATTENING We will continue to see the established platforms looking more and more like one another and this will shift why and how sports organisations use them. For the first time we may see sports organisations choosing to leave particular platforms after evaluating the returns they are getting for the investment in each.

  7. THE ERA OF THE MODERATOR To make fan communities a success, skilled moderators will need both to encourage communication and engagement as well as ensuring that all communications and content in the community are appropriate. They will employ distributed moderation teams, where members of their communities review and vote amongst themselves to determine whether users’ content is in line with the rules and regulations. And they will deploy various tools to moderate UGC and apply community guidelines.

As a global digital sports consultancy, Seven League has worked with some of the world’s most iconic sports teams and federations to ensure that sporting excellence is matched by world-class digital performance. With a client roster including organisations such as the NBA, NHL, UEFA, Riot Games, FIFA, The FA, FC Barcelona and Juventus, the consultancy helps businesses to understand their digital opportunities, risks, strategy, tactics and capabilities.

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