Despite there being 250 times more media available at our fingertips now compared to 1985, live sport continues to cut through like nothing else.
But in a world of on-demand TV and e-sports, why have live sports experiences become such a major contributor to the UK leisure industry? How have they managed to grow at such pace?
When it comes to owning physical possessions, this appears to be having the impact you would expect. A third of Millennials, for instance, will never own a house. But when it comes to experiences – and in particular live sport – the poorer financial position of ‘Generation Rent’ is proving less significant. The data bears this out: analysis from Two Circles shows the proportion of ticket-buyers for UK sport aged 16 to 24 has increased from 15% in 2012 to 23% in 2018.
Growth for sports attendances in the UK shows no sign of waning. Two Circles attendance-modelling predicts attendances will exceed 77m in 2019 alone. The Golden Decade will become a Golden Era.
On the demand side of the market, innovative rights-holders who host regular events are creating a market of sports-hungry, live-experiencing-hunting UK citizens from various backgrounds. Major one-off events – showcasing different types of sports, teams and stars than UK sports fans are used to – are topping that up. Though they might not realise it, a rising tide is lifting all boats.
Two Circles predict sport will also benefit from changes in the experience economy. Having your weekly supermarket shop automatically re-order according to your purchase history and what’s in your fridge, and then deliver to your doorstep at a time that’s convenient, could free up a family of two hours a week. When the rising middle-classes have a world where robots and automation do all the menial tasks they’ve traditionally spent significant time doing, they will have more time to seek out new experiences.