As we close out 2021 and look forward to what’s to come in the world of fan marketing in 2022, we’re revisiting the predictions that we made for 2021 and how the outlook for where fan marketing is headed has changed.

What we thought 2021 would look like

Predicting what fan marketing would hold in a post-pandemic world was a challenge, but we’ve never been ones to walk away from a challenge! And we think we hit some of the right notes. From the continued popularity of digital events to sports betting, the strides taken to engage fans do largely correlate with trends we predicted:

  • Gated Digital Events: The pandemic accelerated the use of digital mediums for everything, from concerts to our favourite teams’ games - monetizing those events through gated platforms provided brands that were vying to make a comeback in 2021 an avenue to continue generating revenue despite repeated interruptions and restrictions to live events.

  • Increased Emphasis on CSR: It was clear that consumers were here for brands that resonated with their values, and didn’t just adopt the shiniest new product. Finding brands that truly displayed what they believe in, showcasing social responsibility and giving back to the community were some indicators of what consumers saw important when selecting a brand to support.

  • Data Transparency: 2021 showed continued growth of consumer awareness regarding data protection & privacy as brands extended their data protection structures. Apple, for example, released iOS 14.5 and 15 that accelerated the arrival of a cookie-less future and drastically changed the advertising and marketing landscape with its impact on event tracking.

  • Sports Betting: With the introduction of Bill C-13 in Canada and the acceptance of betting partners in various leagues - betting took centre stage with increased sponsorship deals and activations within the North American and European sports markets in 2021.

While a lot of our 2021 predictions rang true, we’re excited to see what 2022 holds in store for us as marketers, brands and organizations. Here are our predictions for the coming year to watch out for:

Our Predictions for 2022:

The Creator Economy will help brands build better communities:

The Creator Economy saw a continued rise in the last quarter of 2021 as platforms like Facebook, Tiktok and Instagram continued to invest in tools for content creation and monetization. This is something to look out for in 2022 as brands will be eyeing to collaborate with digital creators (no matter the size) to access new audiences, authentic communities and increase brand awareness. This will be accelerated by the movement towards the metaverse with the power of community becoming stronger than ever today.

Long-form content will reign king for Sports Media:

While short-form content platforms like TikTok can keep you staring at your screen for hours on end, sports media will see more merit in long-form content as we go into 2022. With documentaries and behind-the-scenes content attracting fans from all over the world, platforms like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video are racking in high viewership numbers on shows such as “All or Nothing” and “Formula 1: Drive to Survive”. The impact on Formula 1 globally especially post the launch of the Netflix documentary shows the economic benefit of creating IPs that tap into a larger audience. This is something that we predict more sports brands will tap into in the new year, as a way to reach a younger, international audience and could be a way for sports that are typically classified to be for an older demographic to take on a brand new persona.

Sports betting and sports gamification will continue to rise:

With 2021 seeing major strides taken for the legalization of sports betting around the world, 2022 will ride on this momentum and see a rise in the level of integration amongst different sports, media, and mobile gaming. Sports betting gaining popularity among fans who are wanting to actively participate through “second-screen” experiences while keeping that authentic connection shows the viability of sports gamification in the future. Having betting brands and platforms sponsoring sports teams is just the tip of this iceberg!

Focus on non-endemic and luxury brand integration within sports and esports:

Catering to the new generation of audiences, who aren’t as engaged in old-traditional forms of media, will see Non-endemic partnerships come out on top as an avenue to bridge luxury brands and sectors of sports which do appeal to younger audiences. Use cases can be seen from Fortnite collaborating with Balenciaga in the gaming metaverse to signing million-dollar deals with the UFC & Formula 1. We expect to see more growth in the esports and sports space through non-endemic partnerships in 2022.

2021 pushed the boundaries of fan marketing with innovative initiatives and unique ways to engage fans. As we look forward to 2022, we’re hoping to see this trend continue and are excited to see the unique new ways in which sports teams and entertainment brands engage their fans.

Ready to tackle your fan marketing strategy for 2022? We’re here for you! Contact Tradable Bits to discuss how we can future-proof your marketing plan, and keep you ahead of the curve.

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