What Will the Future of Professional Sports Look Like?

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A little over a century ago, professional sports were practically non-existent. Even players that were paid for their time and effort mostly did so alongside other work. Fast forward a little, and the players of 50 and 60 years ago were paid a full-time wage, but nothing like the eye-watering figures we see today. 

In fact, the first MLB collective bargaining agreement included a minimum salary of just $10,000. Even when adjusted for inflation ($81,000 today), that’s still a very small sum compared to the $925,258 new players are guaranteed in 2021/22. 

Stadiums were also much more modest, thanks in part to less-advanced construction technologies and team owners having smaller budgets. That, of course, is very different today, with most major teams having their own giant temples of sport made from steel and glass. 

It’s clear that most professional sports have become almost unrecognizable compared to what they were in decades gone by, but it is unlikely that they will stop developing. Instead, we’re going to see even more changes in the coming years. 

Goodbye Television

TV is almost single-handedly responsible for the commercialization and professionalization of sport since the mid-20th century. After consumers began hooking up television sets in their living rooms, broadcasters needed to find ways to attract larger audiences. 

They quickly realized that live sports were very effective at this, so they began to snap up the rights to games. As this practice evolved, the prices that were paid to sports leagues increased significantly. Today, most major leagues sell broadcasting rights deals for several billion dollars, which then finds its way into the accounts of teams and players, creating hugely successful franchises and wealthy athletes

So as IPTV technology changes our watching habits, you might find it difficult to believe that sports leagues would want to upset the status quo by looking for ways to replace television. But that is exactly what they are doing. 

Professional Sports

All major US sports leagues, Formula 1, and the English Football League have developed their own private streaming services to sell packages directly to fans. By cutting out the middle-man, leagues have calculated that they can make more money and, in theory, charge fans less. 

Right now, these streaming services sit alongside traditional television, but expect the latter to be phased out as the years progress. This will cause quite a headache for major broadcasters as they often rely on sports to attract customers to their other services. This is why you can’t usually buy just a sports package, rather than the typical bundles that are offered. 

With the future of their businesses at stake, there might be just as much competitive wrangling off the pitch as there is on it.

More Data

Data is already an important part of professional sports. In American leagues like the NFL, stats are used for just about everything, from comparing the performance of individual players on TV to helping coaches make playing decisions. Data is also used by bookies. You can learn how to be a bookie quickly and easily.

In more recent years, sports right across the world have begun to collect more data on their players and matches, and find new and exciting ways to use it. In many major leagues, including the NFL, NBA, NHL, and EPL, as well as tennis and golf tournaments, data is fed back to services like Betway betting to give their customers more insight into how the game is going and what their experts expect the outcome to be.

As with just about every other area of life, this data collection will only continue to increase. 

In Formula 1, the sport has been finding new types of data to collect and new ways to harness it. In the interests of safety, all drivers now wear a “bionic glove” that collects information about their vital statistics so that, in the event of a crash, the sport’s doctors can monitor their condition before they even arrive on the scene. It has also been experimenting with displaying more information to viewers through its on-screen graphics.

Other sports have begun to follow suit, so we’re likely to see even more of this in the coming years.