The sports revenue triangle: Attendance, sponsorship, media – Sports Business Journal

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How attendance, sponsorship and media have evolved over 20 years
As the CAA World Congress of Sports kicks off on April 18, Sports Business Journal turns back the clock to review how the fan-facing revenue triumvirate of attendance, sponsorship and at-home viewing has changed over the past 20 years.
Although the foundation of these three revenue sectors remains, fans’ spending habits and the roster and strategies of the brands investing in sports are much different in 2023 than they were a generation ago.
“Sponsorship categories have evolved from being endemic brands to the sport to endemic brands to the everyday life of consumers and fan experience,” said Jessi Sanchez, Playfly Premier Partnerships’ senior vice president of consulting and valuation. He said that league marketing lineups reflect consumer trends, such as the “hyper need for convenience” that spawned rideshare and food and alcohol delivery sponsorships.
Where fans are attending sporting events in person also has evolved. For example, Austin, Brooklyn, Las Vegas, Louisville and Oklahoma City each became a major league market; the NBA’s minor league system has grown from eight to 28 teams; and the eight-team WUSA in 2003 completed its third and final season, whereas its successor, the NWSL, is now in its 11th season with 12 teams, two expansion clubs, and plans for more.
Live sports continues to be a magnet for viewers. It made up 94 of the 100 most-watched programs on U.S. television last year, up from 88 in 2016.
Despite the changes in these three sectors over the past 20 years, the revenue triangle they form continues to underpin sports.
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The 2023 CAA World Congress of Sports is about making connections and learning out how to position your business for massive changes ahead, said SBJ’s Abe Madkour and CAA’s Mike Levine. In this video, the two industry executives talk about some of the issues they expect to be top of mind when this year’s conference starts today in Los Angeles, including women’s sports, the continued rise in team valuations, and where leaders such as Adam Silver, Steve Ballmer, Ryan Smith and others believe the industry is headed. Madkour and Levine also give their advice on how to make the most of your World Congress experience.
SBJ I Factor presented by Allied Sports features an interview with Navigate founder A.J. Maestas, a member of Sports Business Journal’s Forty Under 40 class of 2015. Maestas talks with SBJ’s Abe Madkour about the early days of Navigate, which he said he founded “with too little knowledge,” though “good fortune as far as timing made up for my mistakes.” Maestas traces his career path and personal development, and highlights the attributes and practices that he believes help make a successful business person and human being. SBJ I Factor is a monthly podcast offering interviews with sports executives who have been recipients of one of the magazine’s awards, such as Forty Under 40, Game Changers and others.

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