The pace of digitalization has accelerated but the diversification of the offer remains limited
The Covid-19 crisis has accelerated the process whereby entities active in the sports industry have developed a digital presence insofar as these tools proved necessary to ensure, for most of them, their ability to continue their activities. More than one half of the sports companies had digitized their services by the end of 2020 and many sports associations, not particularly committed to digital solutions before the crisis, have developed remote coaching services or online course platforms since the onset of the epidemic. As a result, the implementation and increased use of digital tools have been one of the prerequisites for the ability of the majority of sports sector entities to survive the crisis.
At the end of 2020, only 40% of companies had launched a process enabling them to diversify their offer and where they have, the decision was more in order to accompany changes in demand than to respond to the crisis itself. The pace of their diversification is expected to accelerate as the crisis draws to an end.
A different attitude towards sport
When asked about future changes in how people practice sport, entities active in the sports sector anticipate an acceleration of what are already observable trends (notably the fact that physical activity is now practiced more to improve the quality of one’s life or health than for the sake of enhanced personal performance). Sports associations, in particular, expect an increase in à la carte sports practices and the organization of individual classes in line with practitioners’ demand for flexibility and autonomy. Although not all companies have adapted to these changes, they are nevertheless aware that they need seriously to reappraise their offer. For everyone involved in sport, these new trends will inevitably involve an increased use of digital tools whether for the organization of sporting events, with the help of digital applications, or for the very practice of sport with online coaching and the increased use of connected objects.
Continued massive popular support for Paris 2024
82% of sports associations and 89% of companies consider the organization of the Paris 2024 Olympic & Paralympic Games to be a good thing or even, for half of them, a “very good thing.” The event is also overwhelmingly perceived as a turning point or the start of a new cycle in the sports industry. 70% of the companies included in the survey are confident in “the ability of the Olympic & Paralympic Games to give a fresh boost to the sports industry” after the crisis, and 42% of the associations questioned think that the Games represent “an opportunity to mitigate the impact of the health crisis.”
Back to normal in 2022?
74% of sports entrepreneurs feel confident about the future of their own businesses and 66% believe that the sector as a whole will be able to enjoy new growth in the medium term. However, the degree of business confidence in the future increases with the size of the company and depends on how severely the company has suffered from the shock of economic recession. Despite these disparities, nearly 80% of sports companies expect business to return to normal by the end of 2022 at the latest. As far as associations are concerned, more of these entities anticipate a decline in their main sources of funding (public subsidies, membership fees, revenues from sporting events, and private sponsorship) rather than an increase in the 2022/2023 season.