Ready? If you work in or around the global sports industry, 2023 promises to be quite the year. Here’s a handy guide, in A-Z form, of what to expect and what to keep your eye on. #sportsbiz
A - Australia/New Zealand: It’ll be another record-smasher of a @FIFAWWC in July, despite a tricky timezone for Europe. Key issues for women’s football: how much should it replicate the men’s game and how to close the gap between clubs/nations investing heavily and the rest.
B - Break Point: Tennis is about to get the Netflix treatment with a behind-the-scenes series, from @BoxToBoxFilms. It’s become a must-have piece of the sports content toolkit. But it’s a saturated market. So keep an eye out for leagues/teams turning to scripted original content.
C - Climate change: Rising temperatures are set to increasingly impact the global sports calendar over the coming years (see in particular the IOC considering its Winter #Olympics options as potential hosts dwindle). Venues/travel/athlete safety will also be under the microscope.
D - Disposable income: Less of it for many at the very moment when sport is trying to sell more than ever before to fans. Pressures in all parts of the system. Anyone below the very top level complacent about regularly selling out their venue may be in for an unpleasant surprise.
E - Eligibility: Russian athletes, transgender athletes, national team selection criteria - it’s a time of crafting policies that will hold up in the long-term and taking rapid-fire decisions as situations change & events loom. Who competes in what is often not straightforward.
F - France: Host of the @rugbyworldcup, which, despite having outsize importance in the sports agency world, could be one of the events of the year, and entering the final straight ahead of @Paris2024. The NBA back in Paris in January too. Ample soft power opportunity for Macron.
G - Governing bodies: Under pressure to find money to fund sport, whilst also digitalising, professionalising, regulating and increasing participation. Their fitness for purpose will be tested more than ever - does the structure still work? Breakways and carve-ups are possible.
H - Hangzhou: Already delayed by a year, the #AsianGames (@19thAGofficial) will be the first big multi-nation event in China since its Covid policy changes. It may begin a wave of returning events. But is sport still interested in going to China? And is China still keen to host?
I - @INEOS Sport (& other multi-sport, multi-club models): Football clubs, T20 franchises, combinations of teams from different sports - new, large ownership webs are being woven across sport, with the aim of pooling resources, driving efficiencies & sharing know-how and talent.
J - Jay Monahan: All eyes on the @PGATOUR Commissioner as golf learns to live with @LIVGolfInv. A potentially weakened Ryder Cup in Italy will be a litmus test of fan appetite for a fractured sport. As Tiger and Rory plot @TMRWSports, the LIV/Saudi project seems set to solidify.
K - @KSI (and friends): We’re deep in the influencer era, and online empires are being built. They fight, they launch brands, they’re high-end media houses, they do events, they have big loyal audiences and they make money. The next team or league owners/sponsors/rights buyers?
L - Las Vegas: #F1 hits the Strip in November - a race the series is promoting itself - and the Super Bowl is coming in 2024. But as the city seeks tourism dollars beyond gambling, look out too for the @NBA, @MLB and @MLS continuing to consider how & when to put franchises there.
M - Making sense of tech hype: Metaverses, DAOs, Web3 in general, NFTs, anything crypto, AI, AR and anything in between - all emerging, in some cases potentially game-changing tech. Sport is the ideal platform to help promote, showcase, educate (and legitimise). But tread warily.
N - Newcastle United and NEOM: Two Saudi power projects coming to life. @NUFC riding high and may be Champions League-bound as early as next season. Smart city @NEOM may be a future shirt sponsor (as might new Saudi airline RIA) as well as host of all manner of big events. #NUFC
O - One stop shops: Like big tech/media, rights holders are seeking an all-in experience. @fifa, @FIBA & @NBA are hoovering up leagues/games/programming from elsewhere to build out their own digi-offerings. @WorldRugby’s acquisition of @RugbyPass is a case study worth monitoring.
P - Padel and Pickleball: Two new sports making a racket. Qatar-backed @premierpadel and @WorldPadelTour, plus @MajorLeaguePB are spawning new events, stirring celebrity investment and interest. But is there a fanbase? And how involved does tennis get in governing the upstarts?
Q - Quantifying purpose: The best research/data minds in the business are busy working out how to put a number on it, as ‘purpose’ - in all its many forms - becomes a key element of every major sponsorship. How to package, sell, measure and justify it will only become important.
R - Raine Group: Fresh from delivering Todd Boehly to Chelsea, Raine has been tasked with selling some or all of @ManUtd this year. @LFC’s owners exploring a sale too. Buyers? Private equity? Another NFL billionaire? A nation state? A tech/media owner? Or a mix of them all? #MUFC
S - Super Leagues: The European Super League project is dead - for now. But don’t ignore football politics. New @ChampionsLeague format set for 2024. @FIFAcom plots a 32-team Club World Cup in 2025. And Africa’s FIFA-backed @CAF_Online Super League may be the test case to watch.
T - Triple captain: Fantasy leagues are a tried & tested fan engager - and in the US in particular now firmly part of the ramp up to betting. The impact of @OfficialFPL is undeniable. Surely it’s time for a @BarclaysWSL version to give women’s football a further boost. #FPL
U - United Cup: The @atptour and @WTA coming together for a mixed team tournament, as part of the build-up to the Australian Open. Like with golf, more of these mixed events feel vital to the future of tennis. They’re the type of formats which should be part of the Olympics too.
V - Voumard (Anne-Sophie): Promoted to replace the retiring Timo Lumme as the @Olympics’ top commercial operator - responsible for delivering the next wave of TOP partner and broadcast contracts as the summer Games head through Paris, LA, Brisbane towards a TBC in 2036. Big job.
W - WIPL: The first Women’s Indian Premier League, featuring an initial 5 franchises, is set to be played in March. It could be a game-changer for women’s cricket, in terms of talent pools and interest, and the latest @BCCI cash cow. Expect major interest from owners and brands.
X - XFL (again) - @TheRock @DanyGarciaCo and RedBird Capital have teamed up to give the @XFL2023 another crack. Kick-off in February when it goes toe to toe with @USFL as an @NFL alternative. But is it a brand with enough resonance to be resurrected for a third time? #XFL
Y - YouTube (and TikTok & the rest): Longer form platforms trying short form, short form going longer - a blending of copycat features. Throw in UGC, memes, audio, GIFs, filters, plus commercial deliverables. Social sites becoming media production suites - for admins and fans.
Z - Zaslav (and Zuckerberg, Bezos, Cook, Sarandos, Iger, Musk). The super media/tech/social CEOs don’t think about sport that often - but when they do it has impact and influence, for better or worse. Listen up in 2023.

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More from @DavidCushnan

Dec 30, 2020
After the most unpredictable year of all, get set for another one. Here, in handy A-Z form, are a few pointers and things to keep an eye on across the global sports industry in 2021. #sportsbiz.
A - Action: With global movements gaining real momentum, this has to be the year for more tangible organisational action - staff training, recruitment practices, coaching, mentoring schemes and leadership education - across the industry to make sport a more inclusive place.
B - Bundesliga and the big 5: Across European football, getting fans back into stadiums remains the top priority, but there are challenges everywhere as clubs flex their muscles, the @Bundesliga_EN searches for its new CEO and Ligue 1 tries to sort out its TV and financial mess.
Read 27 tweets
Dec 30, 2019
2020 in the business of sport? Consider this A to Z thread of things to keep an eye on as your cheat sheet for a new year. #sportsbiz
A - ATP Cup: Men’s #tennis has yet another team event joining its cluttered calendar to sit alongside the Davis Cup and Laver Cup, as the politics of the sport play out in public. The ATP’s new management have lots to do - hopefully it includes developing a mixed team tournament.
B - Budapest: Quietly and confidently emerging as Europe’s latest major events host, with a trio of @EURO2020 games, the expanded @FedCup finals in April and the start of May’s @giroditalia making this a big year. An Olympic host in the 2030s?
Read 27 tweets

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