Sign up for myFT Daily Digest and be the first to learn about sports news.
Sports break tradition by shifting to shorter forms as they seek modernization to attract younger and more diverse audiences.
In recent weeks, Formula One has hosted the first Sprint event, and the Women’s 100s has opened, a new short format British cricket competition.
Shorter events followed recent similar experiments in tennis, sailing, and basketball, when sports are trying to attract new fans—and boost revenues that have been hit hard by the pandemic.
But the organizers insist that they are not complacent. “You can’t just shorten and expect people to participate,” said Sanjay Patel, the 38-year-old managing director of the Club of 100. “From the very beginning, we have been keen to ensure that everything we do is relevant to young audiences.”
Baccarat is specially designed to cater to young fans. Each round only lasts 100 balls, the game lasts hours instead of days, and the rules are intended to be easier to understand.
The England and Wales Cricket Committee, the national governing body for cricket in England and Wales, will spend £180 million on matches, aiming to follow suit The success of the Indian Super League, Play a short format “Twenty20” game with 120 balls.
Since its launch in 2008, IPL has grown into a US$7 billion entertainment giant, attracted the world’s greatest players, and received billions of US dollars worth of media copyright deals.
In the year ended January 31, the European Central Bank’s pre-tax loss fell from 6.5 million pounds in 2020 to 16 million pounds. cricket Due to the pandemic, the whole of England missed out 100 million pounds in revenue. The Centurion, whose launch has been postponed for one year, is expected to bring in revenues of between 49 million pounds and 52 million pounds in the first year. After deducting costs, there will be about 10 million pounds left to invest in games.
This The European Central Bank hopes Its even shorter format than IPL will attract more audiences. It said that more than 10.5 million people followed “hundred people” on TV.
The coronavirus lockdown not only suspended games and kept fans away from games, but also accelerated the transition to streaming and e-sports. The Internet allows fans to choose their entertainment more freely, and according to market research company Nielsen, people aged 16 to 24 want “snack” content and tend to avoid watching full games.
Earlier this year, supporters of the controversial UEFA Super League noticed these changes in behavior. “Young people are no longer interested in football,” Real Madrid President Florentino Perez said. His proposal includes shortening the game time, while Juventus Executive Chairman Andrea Agnelli pointed out that video games are for the next generation. The competition of fans.
AOL giant Amazon is keen to be at the forefront of the shift in sports viewing, buying sports streaming rights from Premier League football to tennis and the National Football League. F1, which is affiliated with Liberty Media in the United States, has discussed with Amazon and will broadcast a grand prix for free on YouTube in certain European markets in 2020.
In addition to adapting to digital viewing trends, sports are also catching up to equality.
“I’m a ten-year-old kid who is crazy about cricket. I’m lucky. The local cricket club is very helpful, but I’m the only girl there.” Beth Barrett Wilder, 34, Beth Barrett-Wild) is the person in charge of the women’s 100s race. “We attach great importance to putting women first and center.”
Since the Italian Lella Lombardi (Lella Lombardi) in the 1970s, no woman has participated in the F1 championship, but this season will host the all-female racing W series. The British Grand Prix last month attracted an average of more than 500,000 live TV viewers in the UK.
W Series CEO Catherine Bond Muir said: “There is no doubt that our race with Formula One has significantly improved our image, but I also think it’s a quality to the outside world. Imprint.”
In addition to women’s competitions, F1 has also expanded to the field of e-sports. It also persuaded skeptical teams and drivers to participate in the critically acclaimed Netflix series, which is said to have won a new group of fans.
Last month, it played a 17-lap short “sprint” race, which lasted about 30 minutes, while the Grand Prix usually takes 90 minutes to two hours. Designed to simplify and shorten the competition to attract a wider audience, it also attracted a new sponsor partner, crypto.com, a digital wallet provider.
This collaboration highlights the shift in priorities. Former F1 head Bernie Ecclestone (Bernie Ecclestone) notoriously insisted on focusing his marketing efforts on “70-year-olds with a lot of cash” and buying watches from F1’s big sponsor, Rolex.
The head of F1 motorsport, Ross Brawn, was cautious about delaying existing fans, but realized the need to adapt.
“We don’t want to alienate anyone,” he said, but emphasized that although F1 respects its past, it “must not be hindered by its history.”