Casting a look back over 2022, it’s hard not the past 12 months as representing a year of rapid growth across the sporting sector, including some niche ones that would fall under most viewers’ radars.
Having examined sports business developments day-in-day-out throughout the year, Insider Sport have picked out some of the best quotes from our interviews and features as 2023 dawns on the horizon.
Hal-Robson Kanu – women’s football is finding the back of the net
Former Wales and West Bromwich Albion footballer Hal-Robson Kanu has since taken an interest in business since retiring from the pitch, founding health drinks firm The Tumeric Co.
In a video interview with Insider Sport about the venture and the unrealised commercial benefits of women’s football, Kanu predicted that the only way is up for women’s football, speaking ahead of the hugely successful UEFA Women’s Euro 2022.
“The women’s tournament has definitely got the potential to replicate that success. The sport is certainly growing within the UK and globally and the interest is fantastic.
“The women’s game, in terms of the standards around the infrastructure of the sport, has developed particularly over the past five years. The upcoming Euros for women is a great opportunity to offer a level of commercial value which is something that the sport can continue to build on.”
David Green – finding Bellator’s place in European MMA
In his second interview with Insider Sport, Bellator MMA’s Head of Europe reflected on the MMA promotion’s partnership with the BBC, and how broadcasting via a free-to-air network has helped boost exposure and interest in both the tournament and sport.
“Any time we do a big show in the UK or Europe it increases the fanbase, and I think if you were there for the show in October when MVP fought, we had Skepta walk him on and it was a huge moment, packed arena, really loud atmosphere.”
Matthew Nielsten – finding the sweet spot with MTN DEW and basketball
As a key partner of the NBA All-Star Game via PepsiCo’s agreement with the NBA, Mountain Dew is committed to fan engagement and social responsibility, explained Senior Director of Mountain Dew Brand Marketing, Matthew Nielsten – however, basketball is not it’s only focus, as extreme sports and esports are also of interest.
“MTN DEW is on a never-ending mission to show up for DEW Nation – whether that be on the basketball court, inside the gaming universe or through action sports and the great outdoors.
“Gaming and esports fans recognise the extensive roots of MTN DEW in the gaming world – from longtime partnerships with video game franchises to creating MTN DEW Game Fuel, a beverage for gamers, by gamers, and a stalwart supporter of esports leagues and tournaments worldwide.”
Nick Bentley – painting a data picture of women’s rugby
Football was not the only women’s sport grabbing the headlines – especially in the UK – this year, as the England women’s rugby union team pulled off a dominant display to claim the SIx Nations Trophy.
Breaking down Stats Perform’s data analysis, the sportstech firm’s Head of UK and Central Data Insights pointed out some highlights from the tournament and what it means for the future of the women’s game.
“The quality of rugby in the women’s game is on a steep upwards curve, with the pace, power and skill on show always a delight for fans. As the sport moves into a more professional era the advancements will only accelerate and this can be clearly seen in the data.”
Kevin Routledge – don’t underestimate Britain’s basketball scene
Basketball might not be one of the most recognisable sports on Britain’s TV screens, but the country has a healthy appetite for the game, particularly young people, said British Basketball League (BBL) Director Kevin Routledge.
“Basketball is a sport of the inner cities – in the UK and globally. In the UK there are cities like Birmingham that have a great pedigree for producing talented young players and have excellent community clubs and, historically, have had a top professional club. We will want BBL basketball to be played in all the major UK conurbations in due course.”
Josh Katz – solving ticketing issues with blockchain
NFTs have surged popularity in 2022, and the digital assets are becoming increasingly intertwined with sports – Josh Katz, Founder and CEO of NFT platform YellowHeart, believes the technology could revolutionise how clubs’ and leagues’ ticketing processing, especially following the chaos of the 2021/22 UEFA Champions League final in Paris.
“The case for NFTs in this instance is clear. Since everything on the blockchain is transparent, this issue could have been completely avoided if they had implemented NFT ticketing instead of relying on traditional tickets.”
Nicholas Horbaczewski – taking drone racing to new heights
In a joint interview with Playground Labs CEO Sam Peurifoy, Drone Racing League (DRL) CEO and Founder Nicholas Horbaczewski explained the partnership between the two organisations and its fan engagement goals.
“Building a global sport requires a multi-faceted marketing strategy, and our broadcast and streaming partnerships have helped foster our growth as a mainstream sports league.”