2023 promises to be a pivotal one for the world of sport, as the industry continues to innovate and optimize around developments in wider society. The evolution of sports events – how they engage with existing followers, and attract new ones – will be central this continuing progress.
Ahead of a busy period of major sports events, members of the BCW Sports team sat down to give their predictions for what the next 12 months will bring!
What do you think will be the main sports event trend for 2023?
Greg Curchod: A return of the ‘old normal’ – There have been many alarming predictions about how COVID-19 will change fan behaviour for good. Rather, I think 2023 will see sports events reclaim their role of bringing people together and creating a party atmosphere, just as pre-2020.
Tanya Heimlich-Ng Yuen: Interactive apps at sport events - The way that fans consume and engage in live events continues to evolve rapidly – the next 12 months will see new data-lead innovations that build on the success of examples such as the FIFA+ app.
Lars Haue-Pedersen: Athlete voices - The personal social media channels of athletes will become a key source of information for both media and fans - live posts with share key insider information, and personal activism will only increase.
Stefany Chatelain-Cardenas: Hybrid events – I think we will see more events looking to mix real-life and the virtual world, such as the Arena Games Triathlon. It has the ability to engage new audiences and simplify event infrastructure needs.
Cameron Angus: Community impact – Sports events will be held to a higher standard not only in terms of post-event legacy – and how that is defined - but also how they engage and benefit their local populations in the years leading up to the event.
Caroline Anderson: Athlete advocacy – The profile of athletes is higher than ever, and the expectation for them to ‘shut up and dribble’ has never been weaker. I expect to see athletes and teams using high-profile events to promote social and human rights causes more than ever.
Genevieve Favre-Savoie: Women’s sport – 2022 was the best year so far for women’s sports, and this year promises even more. Lead by the FIFA Women’s World Cup, I expect to see new breakthroughs for women’s sport in attracting viewership and investment.
Luis Abello: AI - Sports events will begin to experiment with generative AI in creative and functional ways - including new ways to create live images, stories and videos in a smart and efficient manner.
Which sports event are you most looking forward to?
Greg: The ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup – for the first time hosted entirely in India - promises to be an incredible spectacle. Some of the world’s largest stadiums, all packed with incredibly passionate fans – the ICC will put on a huge show.
Tanya: The FIFA Women’s World Cup – With the record-breaking Women’s EURO last year, this event - in a new, expanded format - has the opportunity to set new standards for women’s football and women’s sport.
Lars: The World Athletics Championships in Budapest - combining more than 100 years of strong tradition for the sport with the setting and style of the future major sporting events.
Stefany: The second edition of the Tour de France Femmes, where the cyclists will take on the famous Col du Tourmalet. The evolution of women’s cycling has been long overdue, and we are now seeing increased public interest!
Cameron: The return of team golf, with the Solheim Cup and Ryder Cup taking place in September. After a year of disruption in the sport, these events have the potential to take another step forward in generating public interest – and push each other forwards.
Caroline: I’m really looking forward to the IFSC Climbing World Championships in Bern this summer – it’ll be a great opportunity to showcase the sport again to the Olympic world, and demonstrate its innovative and engaging approach to sports events.
Genevieve: The inaugural edition of the combined UCI World Championships in Glasgow, which promises to be the biggest cycling event ever. This event will include seven cycling disciplines and 13 World Championships - an unmissable event for the growing number of cycling fans worldwide!
Luis: The Volleyball Nations League – to be held in venues across Asia, Europe, North America and South America - is sure to build on its success and wow fans across the world.
Bold sports prediction:
Greg: In 2023, cricket will become an Olympic sport once again, by being accepted into the LA28 sports programme!
Tanya: The Toronto Maple Leafs to win the Stanley Cup (it has to be our year!)
Lars: Arsenal– (lead by the great Granit Xhaka!) - will bring the Premier League title back to where it belongs.
Stefany: France will redeem their loss in the men’s FIFA World Cup by taking home the trophy in the Women’s World Cup!
Cameron: One of the big four American leagues – NBA, NFL, NHL, MLB – will announce concrete plans for their first franchise based outside North America.
Caroline: Canada will follow their gold medal at Tokyo 2020 by winning the FIFA Women’s World Cup!
Genevieve: Félix Auger Aliassime, one of Canada’s rising stars in tennis, will win his first Grand Slam!
Luis: Mark Selby to continue his return to form and win a fifth World Snooker Championship.