What is your off-the-wall sports social media prediction for 2018?

What is your off-the-wall sports social media prediction for 2018?

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So it's officially 2018 and it is blogging law that you have to produce a predictions piece. I canvassed the opinions of colleagues across the sports digital and business sector.

They were asked to answer one question. By the way, let me know your own predictions in the comments.

What is your off-the-wall sports social media prediction for 2018? (Just a small, specific or quirky thing that might happen)

Simon Chadwick (Professor of Sports Enterprise & Co-Director of Centre for Sports Business, Salford University Manchester)

I think 2018 will be the year when the trolls kill the ambushers. Over the last couple of decades, ambushing has become ubiquitous around major sporting events. With two of the world’s biggest mega-events (the World Cup and the Winter Olympics) taking place, one would normally expect the likes of Paddy Power to be prominent in ambushing them. However, as supermarket chain Iceland showed us during Euro 2016, trolling on social media can be hugely effective in associating brands with an event, even though they may not have an official association with that event. Expect trolling to become the new ambushing.

David Fowler (Head of Business Intelligence at FIFA)

Since we're entering a World Cup year, it would be apt to make a World Cup-prediction. Many in the sports industry and beyond are questioning whether VR can achieve widespread adoption. I expect the World Cup will be a sink or swim moment for VR in sport. 

If VR puts in a tournament-winning performance in June and July then it has a chance. If it goes out at the group stages with the likes of England (my second prediction), then it may well struggle to gain significant traction as a live sport proposition. Can a technology which, in its current form, is fundamentally anti-social, thrive in the current age of attention where engagement is key to everything we do on social and beyond?

Brian Costello (Director, Digital Media / Editor-In-Chief, Portland Timbers)

I’m often loathe to make predictions but how’s this: Twitch will move beyond esports into becoming a true social content juggernaut.

Neil Horowitz (Host, Digital and Social Media Sports podcast)

I could go a lot of directions here. Let's say we're gonna see an explosion of UGC-based AR. Fans and individuals from all over building AR filters and objects and animations for Facebook, IG, Snapchat - a catalogue driven by users.

Michael Broughton (Co-founder, Sports Investment Partners)

I hope to see blockchain deployed in sport in 2018.  It has so many practical uses for the industry and if sport can embrace it early we may see step changes in transparency and security.

Luca Massaro ( Founder and CEO of Digital Sports Agency, WePlay)

Rights holders will hire in-house media planning and buying teams in 2018, with a view to acting more like retail/media companies and less like event organisations. They’ll start with Facebook and having a dedicated person/team managing their Facebook Business Manager across all departments. That will then evolve to other channels.

Don’t be surprised to see Premier League football teams recruiting paid media or even programmatic advertising and data science roles in 2018.

Mario Leo (Founder/CEO, Result Sports)

Among the major football clubs, there will be more differentiation in their social media. Cultural marketing will be more relevant in 2018 because fans in, for example, Indonesia want different content to those in Brazil or North America. We will see this distribution be separated. A football fan in Europe will be looking forward to the next game as the highlight. In the US it is not necessarily the highlight, it is just part of the entertainment. European football clubs understanding this will, of course, affect the content creation. It will be more optimised in those areas.

Sponsorship will be optimised as well. Right now they might say I want to meet this many people in this particular territory where my product is sold. So the club’s digital analyst will be much more relevant in this area.

Anthony Caponiti (Founder, Hashtag Sports)

It’s a matter of time before immersive technology is going to bring your living room (or coffee shop or on-the-go viewing location of choice) to life, and there’s no shortage of players aiming to turns sports into virtual gold. With Apple demoing augmented reality on the iPhone X or Microsoft’s HoloLens coming to 29 new European markets in 2018, more than half billion headsets are expected to be sold by 2025. I predict the NBA will announce a head-turning, case study experience around VR/AR and 360 degree video beyond what the league is already doing with NextVR. The NFL’s current technology partnership with the Microsoft gives the league an opportunity to take a pole position in mixed reality given Microsoft’s aggressive market push around mixed reality.

* What is your answer to the question? Write your prediction below

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