Some takeaway from the day I spent speaking, and listening, at the Sports Business Journal's Media and Technology Conference last week:
Hearing some of the industry's power players ruminating on the essence of sports and sports deal-making, I realized how crucial Surprise is in this industry. Without it, there are no leagues, teams or stars--imagine what sports would be like if you knew the outcome of every game and/or play.
Going one step further (I had a lot of time to think at this event, trust me), I realized that there are three factors at the root of sports:
...as in "My God, did you see that? What a play!!!" It's the aesthetic and athletic beauty of the player confrontations that make up the highlight reels.
...as in being part of the team, wearing the colors, shouting out the chant and theme song, connecting with brilliant like-minded fans like yourself...and turning on those stupid enough to do the same for the other side.
...in essence, the Surprise element as discussed before, without which there would be no sports.
The future of sports as I see it? Find ways to integrate #3 into numbers 1 and 2. And given the proliferation of fantasy sports, the play-along factor of the game is only going to get bigger. The more people are given the chance to participate rather than just spectate, the greater this industry is going to grow.