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Business of Sports

How Sports Became Big Business and Its’ Implications for All Stakeholders

Nowadays, sports mean big bucks for all stakeholders. Whether they are sportspersons, corporates, advertisers, or the sports bodies tasked with administering the game, all of them stand to gain from the infusion of Million Dollar deals that have become the norm rather than the exception.

Indeed, the move to make even the least commercialized sports into money-spinning ones is indicative of the huge and tremendous interest in such disciplines for all stakeholders. It was not always like this and there was a time before the 1970s and 1980s when sports to be played for sport’s sake and not for the money’s sake.

Of course, when spectators are willing to pay to watch or lap up the ads on TV, and when advertisers see big monies to be made in promoting their brands around the time of major sporting events, and when the players themselves benefit from these aspects, there is nothing inherently wrong in professionalizing and commercializing sports.

It is also the case that excessive commercialization tends to take the focus of the sports away from the action and instead, make the sideshows more relevant and essential.

What next for sport? Facing the leadership challenges in sport 2021 and beyond

Loughborough University London hosted a virtual panel event to explore the future for sport leadership in a time of numerous challenges and opportunities in the sports arena.

This invigorating event covered an array of factors for those transitioning from sport to academia and the professional world and vice versa, and also covered topical discussions around Paralympians, athletes, social change and the driving passions behind the sporting industries.

The event was hosted by Dr Andrea Guerin, Director of the Institute for Sport Business, and Jennie Wong, Project Development Manager for the Para Sport Against Stigma project.

The panel consisted of Dr Mike Peters (CEO of the International Paralympic Committee), Will Roberts (COO of the Youth Sport Trust), Vladyslava Kravchenko (Paralympian, part of establishing Malta’s Paralympic Committee, and current student at Loughborough University) and Bobby Kasanga (Founder of Hackney Wick FC).

The panellists individually explained where their passion for sport derives from and how they demonstrate it by implementing changes and creating new opportunities. The conversation also touched on broader topics inclusive recruitment processes, athlete activism and diversity. The panel addressed the wider societal issues surrounding the sporting world such as how race, gender and age is included in diversity and disability is generally not included as a diverse factor as of yet. They touched on the leading figures in sport and their involvement to publicly campaign for social activism, such as Marcus Rashford who is a young footballer in the UK leading a government campaign for free school meals during the pandemic.

The fascinating discussion covered the complexities and influences the sporting world has on society as a whole. A must watch for those with a passion for sport, activism or just a general insight to this impactful industry. Watch the proceedings

Sportswashing’: unethical but sadly here to stay by By Mary Atkinson

With growing accusations across the world stage of genocide in the Uighur minority population in Xinjang Province, China, the question of whether the 2022 Winter Olympics should be boycotted has raised, though many nations such as the UK have ruled out the move, with Boris Johnson recently stating that the government is usually “not in favour of sporting boycotts” and such stance was a “long-term position”.

The games are being considered by many as an act of ‘sportswashing’, a term created by the 2015 Sports or Rights Campaign, which was an attempt to call out Azerbaijan’s hosting of prestigious sporting events to “distract from its human rights record”. The term has grown in use with discussions around the ethics of holding sporting events in countries with questionable human rights records. The Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics, the Qatar 2022 World Cup and the 2021 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix are frequently questioned examples.

World Sport Ranking

The World Sport Rankings by The Sportspedia are the first collection of reports that assess and compare sporting excellence across over 150 sports.

Sportspedia 100

What does it measure?

How is it measured?


How much work was this?

Frequently Asked Questions

Sportspedia 100

The 100 Best Sportspeople in the World for the year 2020

The Class of 2020 of the 100 best sportspeople in the world competed in 39 sports and hail from 34 countries, from every permanently inhabited continent.

Some sports and groups of sports were totally absent due to a total or partial shutdown during the pandemic, and some sportspeople did not compete at all due to travel limits.

Nevertheless, the Class of 2020 saw several historical milestones being achieved and extended. Feel free to click on each photo to know more about these individuals. You can also consult the full list as a table here.

Most popular sports in the world

People take their sports heroes as their role models and often have an emotional attachment with their sports and sports teams. Ranking makes it particularly difficult and difficult to obtain reliable and accurate information. The authors have used 15 criteria to ascertain the most popular sport.

10 new trends in sports marketing

What are the new trends in sports marketing? We’ve selected 10 of the most interesting ones: from changing audiences, to sustainability, to personalization, and the frontiers of virtual reality.

The sports industry is a huge sector that borders on fitness, health, pure entertainment, as well as the areas that are on the frontier of digital in all its forms. It has a vast and very diversified audience, in terms of age, geography, and society. And – above all – it is a hyper-dynamic sector, one that is in constant change.

All of this can only be reflected in the marketing of this sector: a playing field where you need to know how to operate in a way that is current and up to date, but also well in advance of other players.

In this post on our blog, we tracked all the major changes in marketing and communication in the sports and fitness industry. Changes that, for the most part, have to do with digital, and therefore with the advent of Digital Transformation, which has revolutionized all industries, and continues to do so: it is a constant and continuous transformation.

10 important future trends in sports sponsorship

Sports sponsorship is considered as an ideal way to raise brand awareness. Going forward, we expect considerable change in sports sponsorships due to generational shifts, Corona and technology. We discuss 10 different trends.

Table of Contents

Technology in Sports: Which Innovations Will Be Trending In 2021?

Symbolically, a new year is always a time of incoming changes. What should we expect when it comes to trending technologies in the sports industry in 2021? Check it out in this article!


COVID-19 pandemic has changed the perspective of many sports clubs on their everyday operations. Sponsors became more demanding, fans no longer attended the games, Match Days still were crucial in fan engagement, but the communication had to become fully digital.

All these unexpected changes made the sports clubs look for new ways to reshape revenue models, create original monetisation opportunities and use innovative methods to build modern relationships with their fans.

What technologies will have the biggest impact on the sports industry in 2021 then? Check our nine [9!] suggestions!

Exploring the size and growth potential of the Sport Industry in Australia Office for Sport – Department of Health | KPMG Sports Advisory

Sport is a pillar of the Australian way of life. Every weekend, millions of Australians participate in, consume or discuss sport. It can be a source of enjoyment, frustration, friendship, rivalry and pride. Sport generates strong beneficial outcomes for society through health, social, economic, cultural and environmental impacts, and the sports industry is the economic representation of this, providing the inputs and coordination required for the sport and recreation we all enjoy. In 2018, the Commonwealth Government released Australia’s first national sport plan, Sport 2030. The plan details four priorities for the sector; to build a more active Australia, achieve sporting excellence, safeguard the integrity of sport, and strengthen Australia’s Sport Industry. In order to deliver against this last priority, funding was committed in the 2019-20 Commonwealth Budget to explore the development of a Sports Industry Growth Plan. This Sports Industry Economic Analysis report represents the first step towards the Growth Plan, with the objective of defining, measuring and analysing the Australian Sports Industry to provide the foundational evidence for the potential development of the Plan

The impact of social and digital media on sport

Social media is changing the way sports stars, clubs and fans are interacting with each other. From live-tweeting games, creating snarky memes and cheerleading from the webosphere, spectators are no longer simply watching sport, and fans can often get news, insights and commentary straight from the source.


It is time to consider significant reforms to the way the Olympics are pursued, prepared for, and hosted

Of course, the solution that likely makes the most sense economically it to simply establish a permanent site for the Olympics. (Given the history of the games, Athens is often suggested for the Summer Games.) Such a move would allow one-time construction of permanent venues instead of Olympic hosts trying to rebuild Shangri-la in a new city every four years (Matheson and Zimbalist 2021). Aside from eliminating white elephants, a permanent location would also allow the Olympic host site to retain the human infrastructure of skilled event managers with the knowledge and experience to keep costs down

What we can learn about economics from professional sport during Covid-19 by Carl Singleton, Alex Bryson, Peter Dolton, James Reade, Dominik Schreyer

Professional sport has experienced severe shocks from Covid-19, creating natural experiments. These have provided partial answers to a number of questions, including how airborne viruses may spread in crowds; how crowds respond to the risks and news of infection; how the absence of crowds may affect social pressure and decisions; and how quickly betting markets respond to new information. This column reviews the evidence and advises how research in the economics of sport could continue to be most valuable to policymakers.

Do the Peculiar Economics of Professional Team Sports Apply to Esports? Sequential Snowballing Literature Reviews and Implications Nicolas Scelles* , Qi Peng and Maurizio Valenti

Esports refers to competitive video gaming, often in the form of professional events (league competitions, tournaments, championships or battles/matches) and typically between sponsored gamers or teams (University of Melbourne 2020). It is a growing phenomenon, enjoying a rapid economic development worldwide, with revenue moving from USD 130m in 2012 to USD 1.6b forecasted in 2023 (Gough 2019, 2020). Esports has attracted attention inside and outside academia, opening debates on its definition and on whether it should be considered as a sport (see e.g., Cunningham et al. 2018; Jalonen 2019; Summerley 2020), as well as its future evolution (Kim et al. 2020; Peng et al. 2020; Scholz 2019). Additionally, with the increasing number of well-established professional sports (e.g., football) clubs sponsoring esports (Bertschy et al. 2020), actual links between sports and esports have started to emerge. Consistent with the idea that new technologies transform some peculiar economics of professional sports (Feuillet 2019), it is therefore arguable that links between sports and esports can contribute to form a new economic peculiarity of professional sports. Reciprocally, an attempt to apply the peculiar economics of professional team sports (see e.g., Neale 1964) to esports contributes to a better understanding of the similarities and differences between sports and esports, thus expanding the debate about whether esports should be considered as a sport. This is in line with recent research attempting to conceptualise esports based on a sport-like model (see e.g., Qian et al. 2020). Such attempts may help scholars improve their understanding of the theoretical economic propositions at the foundation of esports as a business, and practitioners in both sport and esports fields (e.g., managers and league organisers) better inform their strategies.

Strategy Implementation in the Turbulent WorldBy Dr. Tomi Wahlström |

Strategic management is always difficult. Even in the most stable environments and industries, formulating, implementing, and evaluating strategies is challenging. In the current environment, the sports industry is very unstable and unpredictable. Planning is almost impossible because it is very hard to predict the future. Nobody knows when, if ever, fans will return to stadiums and arenas. The pandemic and many other related and even unrelated changes have impacted the industry in a possibly permanent manner. The pandemic is the black swan event for sports that will have long term consequences in ways that we are not yet capable of understanding.

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