With a universal popularity and timeless durability, sport is ubiquitous in our everyday lives. Whether it’s flicking through the morning papers or playing in a Sunday League game on the weekend, it plays a role across society in a multitude of ways.
Another example of how sport can intersect with everyday life is through business. Golf, as an example, has long been the archetypal sport in which business discussions take place, with the famous ‘19th hole’ providing the perfect opportunity for the conclusion of deals. To this point an estimated 90% of Fortune 500 CEOs play golf and in the US executives who play earn an estimated 17% more on average than those who don’t.
But, as the business world evolves with a heightened focus on fitness and awareness of people being ‘time poor’, sports’ relationship with this world is changing. It’s being condensed into more sociable, consumer friendly experiences that subvert the previous time and space constrictions that the traditional formats of sport require.
In its place social experience venues such as Flight Club (darts), Junk Yard Golf Club (golf) and Mac & Wild (shooting) have emerged as the modern alternative. Marketed as a combination of fun and sociable entertainment, the availability of food and drink and their proximity to urban hubs negate the need to sacrifice time and travel that traditional sports require.
Continued technological advancements in this area have also contributed vastly to the growth in popularity of such social experiences. Impressively accurate ball tracking in golf, score tracking in darts and immediate replays of yourself and fellow participants celebrating or commiserating (Flight Club) greatly enhances the experience. Furthermore, as virtual reality continues to advance and gain a greater foothold in the mainstream, such events will cease to even require the equipment, relying solely on hand gestures and a headset.
This is not to say that sports’ traditional formats are dying, more that they’re evolving. Take football. Traditionally 11 vs. 11, in order to adapt to fast paced modern life and for greater ease around space requirements, ‘Small Sided Football’ was developed, ranging from 4 vs. 4 to 7 vs. 7. Bolstered by the likes of Powerplay and Go Mammoth, over 1.5 million adults play weekly using this concept, covering over 30,000 teams in thousands of leagues.
Sport occupies, and probably always will continue to occupy, a significant role in social and business life. But, as virtual reality and innovative technologies continue to advance, so will the ‘consumer friendly’ shorter variations of sport. Reduced barriers to entry mean that a day’s stalking or a round on the course no longer requires a day set aside, significant travel or wet weather gear. These new experiential platforms are appealing to new audiences who may have otherwise never been exposed to the sport but are now intrigued by its social relevance and accessibility. As these audiences grow and perhaps seek out the sport at its more traditional level, they provide a significant new market in which brands can engage.
You can have a look at our recent company trip to Flight Club by following the link here
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