2018 FIFA World Cup 2018 Football International Olympic Committee Olympics Premier League Pyeongchang 2018 Soccer

2018 – The year ahead in sport as Russia and Pyeongchang prepare to take centre stage

By Rupert Pratt | January 15, 2018

There is no doubt that the 2018 agenda will be dominated by two main events: the FIFA World Cup in Russia and the PyeongChang Winter Olympics.

Two of the world’s most powerful governing bodies – and biggest events – will try to put controversial pasts behind them with events hosted in controversial regions. Interestingly, a major event is a global economic, marketing and political platform for any host nation, stimulating culture, commerce and tourism, so it will be interesting to see how these two play out.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) are off to a good start and will be delighted with South Korea’s diplomatic peace offering to the North as this demonstrates ‘the power of The Olympics’.

But much has been said about both these events and the one thing that never fails to deliver is the actual sport itself. I doubt many watching the World Cup will be debating the political infrastructure of Russia (but who knows what might unfold?).

READ MORE: Historic Korean Olympic talks set stage for Games of hope in nation divided by history and nuclear missile range

However, there is plenty going on, as Austen Donnellan of Bray Leino points out: “Will 2018 finally become the year when the tipping point is reached on women’s sport, be it coverage, sponsorship investment, viewing figures or attendances?”

The Women’s Hockey World Cup in London in July and the Women’s World Twenty20 in the West Indies in November are but two highlights where UK success will raise the profile even further.

The Women’s sport debate is a good one, as it has many agendas. Fantastically positive on the pitch, but more complex commercially.

Hopefully this will be the year that commercial support for the women’s game continues and more brands buy into the power of sport and its ability to engage fans into loyal consumers (it’s not about eyeballs – it’s about who you’re talking to, their influence and purchasing power).

Also, will this be the year that the FANGs (Facebook, Amazon, Netflix and Google) get their teeth into Premier League rights?

With the Premier League ‘Audio and Visual’ – that’s what we used to call ‘content’ – rights up for tender the big question is will the FANGs make a major play?

Again, much has been said about this – any commercial tender needs competitive tension so regardless of their intentions just their presence is enough to keep prices increasing. They’ve been around for a while and are now in a position to do whatever they want.

Will Amazon – my front runner – pay out big and disrupt the sport like Sky did? I don’t think so, but I’m pretty sure they will do something. Therefore, the football bubble continues to get bigger and 2018 will be the start of a new era of sport as we know it.

About the contributor

Rupert Pratt is Co-Founder of Snack-Gaming.com and consultant to Snack-Media

2018 FIFA World Cup 2018 Football International Olympic Committee Olympics Premier League Pyeongchang 2018 Soccer