Last year we asked a group of futurists to help us look into the future of the sports industry, and to make bold predictions for the next 25 years. We hoped to start a conversation about the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead. We were surprised and gratified by the intense interest, commentary and debate the report generated from our friends and colleagues in the business. We obviously weren’t alone in the desire to start defining the questions that will shape sports in the years to come.
We published the first iteration of The Future of Sports and quickly realized that we had more questions than answers. That’s the inspiration for this second edition.
Technological change is accelerating at an astonishing rate, and in just one year we’ve seen some great strides that are captured in this publication. It’s increasingly clear that teams and leagues can no longer be reactive to today’s technology—we have to be at the forefront of developing tomorrow’s. We are positioned to become not just early adopters, but partners and investors as well. I hope this publication will spark both your interest and creativity in shaping what’s next.
My contemporaries may initially approach this subject matter with skepticism and a feeling that it’s not applicable to our demographic. I certainly did. But I’d argue that exploring the themes laid out in The Future of Sports will prove relevant to the most pressing questions we face as owners and league executives. At the very least, the exploration will be quite enjoyable.
And what’s good for business can also have a larger impact. In a world that feels ever more divided, sports’ ability to unite people across borders is both increasingly important and increasingly possible. Fellow sports fans, no matter where they are from or what language they speak, are never strangers for long. These are critical years, as franchises and leagues compete for international attention and seek to build ties with fans who live thousands of miles away. It is time to start thinking of the entire globe as our hometown market.
As the stewards of sports, we must simultaneously keep true to their essential character and ensure they remain relevant through ongoing cultural and technological changes. Our job is to connect the past to the present and to lay the groundwork for future generations of athletes and fans. I can think of no more challenging, or rewarding, a task.
JEREMY M. JACOBS
Chairman of Delaware North
Owner of the Boston Bruins