Politically, socially and technologically, the world is in the midst of one of the most disruptive periods in living memory – this disruption is impacting where investment in sports is coming from, how sports content is created and distributed, and is changing the dynamics of relationships between rights holders, sponsors and fans.

With global sponsorship spend forecast to reach over $62 billion in 2017 and global media rights spend expected to hit $45 billion, the top-line metrics remain positive. But this is a period of rapid change for sports – from China’s remarkable investments at home and abroad to new technologies such as virtual reality, the explosion in direct-to-consumer content to shifts in audience habits and consumption.

Nielsen Sports has analyzed the changes happening across the worlds of sports, media and technology by listening to the industry, examining the relevant data and carefully considering the impact of these changes. With the help of our experts around the world, the following pages detail what we regard as the 10 MAJOR COMMERCIAL TRENDS IN SPORTS.

Managing Directors, Nielsen Sports