Over the course of a century, sports has changed to a point that each generation may not recognize what they are seeing on the turf or on the court.
Physically, socially, and technically, the way our favorite football or basketball game is run is different.
A statista study shows that around one-third of the global sports audiences are people aged 35 and younger. That would be the millennials and Gen Zers, the “young” people who are reshaping how sports will be in the future.
Whether it’s the United States or sportsbooks at Canada Sports Betting scene exploding or the continued calls for social advocacy and mental health, be prepared to see the landscape change as early as today.
More focus on mental health
Naomi Osaka, Simone Biles, and David Cox are just three prominent examples of athletes who have made headlines for putting their mental health in the forefront. They all received equal parts of harsh criticism and sympathy.
The trend of athletes speaking out and making mental health a priority will continue to grow. Association football and its fans remain divided about this but mostly on the negative side.
Cox identified that he had been mocked by both fans and players for speaking out about mental health. The sport has a long way to go, but as more renowned athletes and respected individuals continue coming forward, the more
Social responsibility and accountability will keep growing
On par with mental health, more athletes are using their platforms to speak out on important social issues. Footballers and athletes from different sports have begun kneeling or raising fists to address racial injustices.
Fans have been divided on this even more than mental stigma with the younger group being more supportive for footballers kneeling during anthems or protesting for change.
But it goes beyond social injustices but also how management treats its players and employees. We’re beginning to see owners and powerful executives being held accountable as more and more reports expose the unsavory business practices of sports clubs. Which brings us to the next point...
Transparency reaches new heights
Several news reports have turned sports leagues like the NHL and NBA upside down. Kyle Beach, a former NHL player detailed his sexual abuse at the hands of a video coach while Phoenix Suns’ owner Robert Sarver is under a lot of fire for his toxic management of his team.
These stunning revelations will force both the associations and its fans to question the integrity of the culture they’ve helped create. Is there too much of a “toxic masculine” culture running through sport? And how will it change?
These are questions that will be more frequently brought up as there will, unfortunately, be more unflattering reports breaking moving forward. And the younger generations will be at the forefront calling for systematic changes in organizations.
Sports analysis are dominated from a betting angle
Online sports betting keeps growing thanks to the younger demographic who make up nearly two-fifths of the legal market. This has pushed the media to cover their respective sports with more of a sports betting angle.
It will not only be ex-footballers or journalists doing the covering now but also professional sports gamblers. On the technical side, there is a bigger focus on advanced analytics as bettors and fantasy players look for every edge they can get.
Sportsbooks have been a part of association football for many years. But the advent of legal sports gambling in North America can only increase the impact of sports betting on how clubs and associations manage themselves.
More sports and more sports fans
“Do young people even watch sports?” Why, yes they watch sports. It may just not be the “traditional” sports of football, tennis, and boxing that the older generation is accustomed to.
Instead, look at esports, ultimate frisbee, and women’s sports. With so many ways to watch sports and engage with athletes, the “niche” sports can have an easier time reaching and building audiences.
Also tied in part to a push in diversity and equality, there is more of a public push to make women’s sports more available. Larger sports networks have started carrying American women’s college basketball and even hockey as sports fans have a wider variety too choose from.
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