2020-2030 will be a key decade for professional football. It has seen the FIFA World Cup travel to the Middle East for the first time in its history, the women’s game is seeing positive commercial momentum, and the battle for the attention of Gen Z is well underway. This report looks at the trends around football and what the future holds for stakeholders ranging from fans to sponsors.
This report comes in PPT.
Demographic shifts are reshaping what fan engagement looks like, with Gen Z and millennials focusing their attention on social media platforms and an increasing number of avenues through which leagues and teams can connect with fans directly. More broadly, the fragmentation of the traditional media landscape is posing as many opportunities to football as it is challenges.
Advances in analytics around marketing and sponsorship are placing increased pressure on rightsholders to illustrate an ability to help brands reach their goals. In many cases, partnership decisions still rely heavily on market overlap, with companies frequently partnering with teams and leagues in the market in which they are based and/or strongest.
Fans want to be able to get maximum value from their matchday ticket, irrespective of whether this is general access, corporate hospitality or somewhere in between. With stadium operators facing macroeconomic headwinds, this poses a number of challenges. This has seen a departure from exclusive “white linen” hospitality experiences to informal, shared spaces designed to create a premium experience with a traditional matchday atmosphere.
The popularity of football shows no sign of dissipating, yet fan engagement will look far different in 2030. Women’s football will continue to make giant strides commercially, virtual environments for fan communities will no longer be at the fringes of broadcast, and the democratisation of media will see engagement splinter across an ever-increasing number of channels. To win, a strategic and critical approach to change will bear commercial fruit.
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