2017 Year In Review: The Biggest Moments In Sports

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Sports in 2017

It is hard to believe that 2017 is nearly over, but it has been a momentous year in sports, sports marketing and sports business. I look back at the top ten stories from the past year in #sportsbiz:

1. Women’s Football Takes Off

Despite controversies in the women’s game, like English coach Mark Sampson’s sacking recently, 2017 was really the year that women’s football finally broke into the mainstream.

The rise of women’s football can only be a positive not only for the sport, but for wider society.

If you’d like to read more about how women’s football has taken off, read my blog here.

2. Anthony Joshua Becomes A Sports Marketing God

With Joshua’s memorable win over Wladimir Klitschko, he entered the sports marketing stratosphere in 2017. His TV ad with Lucozade Sport, ahead of the fight, saw him enter into the mainstream.

  • Even before the fight, much had been made of his 13 sponsors.
  • Following his win, his value to brands skyrocketed further. He’s raked up even more sponsors now, including JD Sports.
    • For more on how important Joshua is for brands, read my interview post here with James Young, Head Of Partnerships, at Lucozade Sport.

Young said of AJ’s Lucozade Sport ad: “I’m really happy that AJ played a big role in shaping this film. The fact that his mum ended up being in it was direct input from AJ. We had a slightly different ending, not a dramatically different story, but he pointed out that it would be nice if the video came full circle to him and his mum.

3. Conor & Floyd Get Their Biggest Paydays Ever

The biggest sporting spectacle of 2017 was undoubtedly Floyd Mayweather’s “fight” against MMA superstar Conor McGregor. The fight, was a foregone conclusion. Yet much was made of the money being made by both stars.

4. #takeaknee Explodes Across The NFL & Colin Kaepernick Stays Unemployed

Despite the greatest Super Bowl in history, the NFL suffered deep, sustained ratings falls in 2017.

  • Colin Kaepernick’s #takeaknee campaign has been blamed for TV ratings plummeting, yet there’s no firm evidence this is the sole reason.
  • Yet ratings have been falling since 2016, again politics, like the Presidential Election was blamed for TV numbers being down.

5. eSports Just Gets Bigger And Bigger And Bigger

eSports generated a whopping £539 million in 2017. It just keeps getting bigger and bigger.

6. Neymar Breaks The Record Transfer Fee

The world record transfer fee tumbled this year when Brazil superstar Neymar joined Paris Saint Germain for a stunning $263 million.

Neymar’s commented after joining the French champions: “PSG’s ambition attracted me to the club, along with the passion and the energy this brings. I have played four seasons in Europe and I feel ready to take the challenge.”

7. Liberty Media Buys A Struggling Formula 1

Formula 1, much like the NFL has endured a bad year.

Bernie Ecclestone finally sold up to Liberty Media , with the company paying $8 billion for the sport.

8. Amazon, Facebook & Twitter Jump Into Broadcasting Sports

Fragmentation of sports rights accelerated hugely this year.

9. UEFA Launches The Nations League To Revive International Football

One that might have flown under the radar, but UEFA launched a new international football competition, The Nations League.

  • UEFA’s new tournament is a league format, whereby the 55 UEFA international countries will take part.
  • They’ll face off against teams ranked the same as them to then “win promotion”
  • From there, there will be a playoff system and even a final.

UEFA said of the new tournament: “The rejuvenation of national team football – and the UEFA Nations League – stems from the desire of UEFA and its 55 member associations to improve the quality and standing of national team football.”

10. BT & Sky Sports Finally Agree To Show Each Others’ Content

As per SportTechie, 82% of paywalled TV payers would get rid of paid  packages for sports if they didn’t need access to live action anymore.

Your Favourite Moments In 2017?

What were your top ten moments in 2017? Let me know in the comment section, I’d love to hear from you.

What Will Happen In 2018? Predictions For Next Year

Well, it just so happens, I’ve looked into my crystal ball for 2018 and come up with three things we’re likely to see in sport, sports marketing and sports technology next year.

Read it here.

Let me know if you agree, and again, feel free to comment.

Dave Claxton

I'm a PR professional and journalist for SportTechie. I'm blogging about how business is increasingly impacting sports in this ever connecting world.

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