Sports and Entertainment Trends Shift, Spike & Set the Stage for 2022

Niraj Sharma |
 04/21/22 |
5 min read

Sports and Entertainment Trends Shift, Spike & Set the Stage for 2022

The pandemic has changed the way consumers think about things, and what they value. Staying on top of these shifts and entertainment trends throughout 2022 using market research will be critical when attempting to keep pace with consumer mindset shifts..

We’ll take a brief look here at the world of sports and entertainment with a focus on:

  • Comparing today’s conversation versus the historical narrative
  • The rise of sports entertainment trends via streaming and in-person events
  • The future of sports entertainment trends – and the industry as a whole

And here are a few stats we uncovered that may pique your interest:.

With that, let’s dig in and see how today’s conversation compares to last year.

Sports and Entertainment: Then Vs. Now

As we head into a new normal which includes more in-person sports and entertainment events, keeping an eye on market shifts and entertainment trends will become paramount to keeping your brand in the game. More consumers are getting vaccinated or have adopted mask wearing as a part of their daily life. And this means that more people are ready to attend those in-person events. But how will the newest entertainment trends look?

To get a solid grasp of how the conversation has changed over time, it’s essential that your market research can parse the data and tell the whole story.

To get a feel for this one, we can simply look at our sports and entertainment trends industry analysis timeline, which covers from April of 2021 to Apirl 2022, to see how things have changed.


Last year, we saw the re-growth of entertainment as things began to open up again after the pandemic. Now, entertainment is a steady conversation.

Likewise, brand and partnerships are ever-present, and this makes sense from a couple of perspectives:

  • Companies can have greater brand awareness by partnering with other brands
  • Partnerships helps brands halve their financial risk – or at least reduce it significantly.

More specifically, successful collaborations can cut a brand’s logistical costs by 3-4% and manufacturing costs by 5-15%. Most notably, you can see this symbiotic relationship with sports games and streaming channels.

Sports Betting is experiencing growth after barely being a blip on the radar back in April of 2021. In fact, the number of people regularly betting on sports grew by 80% in 2021. From cards to rugby to football, betting on sports was quickly adopted by sports fans of all kinds. And expansion announcements were the norm:


Another growth area in entertainment trends – and one that we saw last year – was eSports. And it’s projected to grow even more in the next two years. And though it’s still being talked about, it seems to have integrated into other segments, becoming ‘just one of the guys,’ rather than having a segment of its own.

However, Sports News has seen an explosion since the beginning of this year – and that can of course be attributed to sports events once more taking center stage in sports fans lives. Here’s what the conversation looks like between April 5, 2021 up until December 3, 2021:


And here’s how it looks now:


Exploring the clusters, it appears that consumers and news are focusing not just on the sports, but on the players themselves. They’re celebrities in their own right, and this could perhaps play beneficially for brands, either through influencer marketing or a nudge from a KOL. In fact, it’s predicted that more brands will create content not just with athletes, but for them. Athletes have their own fan base and audience and grabbing their attention with a like or share could be a whole new influencer angle to explore.

Engaging Audiences and Live Streaming vs In-person Events

During 2021 consumers were still looking to their streaming devices to offer them movies, music and entertainment in general. And that entertainment trend has continued into 2022. And it doesn’t seem to be going anywhere, though it may be balanced with live experiences now as well

The sports industry, like many, had to pivot to keep up during the past two years. You can see just over the past year that sentiment for every sport seems to be more positive than negative a sign that consumers are ready for more.


Which begs the question, what are sports teams doing to keep the attention of their fans? And to keep things trending positively?

Simply put, they are engaging their consumers where they are – on their social media platforms. And they are doing this not just before a game or match, they are drawing consumers in before, during, and after events.


And you can see from the retweets, quotes and likes that these posts keep fans up against the ropes and focused on Wrestle Mania. It’s also a fantastic example of Celebrity Influencer Marketing.

And other sports teams are engaging in other ways. The New Orleans Saints have a found a great way to engage their consumers in-between football seasons. If a fan can guess the correct opponent lineup for 2022, they could win 20K. That’s an ad that pays!


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by New Orleans Saints (@saints)

Which brings us to streaming, the NFL’s tv partnerships all experienced an increase in viewership during 2021. And this came from more people watching more games, not because they watched longer. The NFL partnered with more streaming services that aren’t exclusively sports-focused (Peacock, Amazon) for a broader audience. So, streaming seems to be moving along fine and continues to be a part of entertainment trends as we get into the thick of things in  2022.

And in-person events are also full steam ahead, but at a slower, more cautious pace. Football games sold out around the country and the Super Bowl was packed. Other sports events are likely to follow this trend, if we continue moving forwards. But only market research can keep brands in the know, and help then pivot if things change (as they continue to).

Looking to the Future

In hindsight, the pandemic has not squashed sports and entertainment but added jet fuel to emerging trends fire. It has transformed and bolstered the affected industries and enetertainment trends are forever changed. Social justice and equality will continue to gain traction with equality-minded fans. As one example, the WNBA is continuing their push for equality for all, regularly highlighting successes:


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by WNBA (@wnba)

But for all of this, jumping on entertainment trends is only as good as your authenticity. If consumers feel that you’re just going along with a theme to drive more sales, they will call you out. Brands will need to engage with consumers in an authentic manner and show, not just tell, that they are sincere in their push for equality, diversity, the environment and social justice.


Market research that cuts to the heart of emerging trends and their requisite innovations never takes a day off. Top brands stay on the forefront of market shifts thanks to the speed of insights gained through next generation artificial intelligence (AI). Be sure to reach out for a demo to ensure your brand is always on the cutting edge!

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