Weekly Column: The Popularity of Sports Continues to Rise

In his capacity as a Columnist for California Sports Lawyer®, Founder Jeremy Evans has written a column about the growth of sports in 2022-2023 with an eye on what the future of the entertainment and media industry might provide.

You can read the full column below.


As the year 2022 comes to a close, sports and entertainment enthusiasts and industry professionals continue to bet on sports as one of the better investments. Some trends at the end of 2022 that will lead into 2023 include pickleball team ownership, the reawakening of Formula 1 racing in popularity, the growth of college football in NIL deals and playoffs, with the reintroduction of the XFL, and the continuance of the USFL in season two.

What is yet to be seen is whether crypto currency venue and uniform sponsorships will continue their fall. FTX has folded and with it sponsorship of the Miami Heat’s arena as well as the Major League Baseball Umpires patch. What will happen with the Los Angeles Lakers and Crypto.com?

Netflix is continuing its push into sports documentaries and has introduced an ad-based option. Is the ad-based option an introduction to live sports for Netflix? If the price of purchasing sports rights comes down, Netflix might jump into the proverbial fight for live sports television rights. Or if the competition from Amazon, Apple, and others becomes so great for content and subscribers that Netflix has to engage in a fight, the streamer may do so.

Sports have become so popular that two phenomenon occurred in 2022. First, major entertainment agencies like WME are shifting a majority part of their business to the business of sports. Second, college sports are now taking over movie theaters as viewing locations. Both phenomenon were inconceivable only a few years ago.

The NCAA will also welcome a new President in 2023. NCAA President Charlie Baker, former governor of Massachusetts, will lead the NCAA into its next chapter. President Baker will have to address and contend with the wild west NIL system, transfer portal concerns, conference expansion, unionization of athletes, paying of athletes, and continued unwanted oversight by the United States Congress. There is also the issue of the independence of the Power 5 conferences and the potential effects of expansion of the College Football Playoff. Lastly, the question of whether March Madness will be expanded to more college basketball teams in the annual tournament is in the air.

Apple and Amazon continue their flirtation and purchasing of live sports rights. With live sports rights expected to exceed $60 billion for the first time in history in 2024, there are likely to be many streaming platforms and networks looking for content. Amazon may also have to make a decision on whether it is a content buyer or seller in at least one setting. Meanwhile, the Securities and Exchange Commission will continue its monitoring of mergers and acquisitions with keen eye on competition.

Sports betting will grow as applications and states grow in use and acceptance. ESPN will also expand its race car coverage, but will recently installed CEO Bob Iger look to make another major content purchase or sell-off? Disney is looking for a jolt in business and it could be a move that shakes up the industry. Buckle your seatbelts or put your head out the window, either way 2023 will be an exciting year indeed.


About Jeremy M. Evans:

Jeremy M. Evans is the Chief Entrepreneur Officer, Founder & Managing Attorney at California Sports Lawyer®, representing entertainment, media, and sports clients in contractual, intellectual property, and dealmaking matters. Evans is an award-winning attorney and industry leader based in Los Angeles and Newport Beach, California. He can be reached at Jeremy@CSLlegal.com. www.CSLlegal.com.   

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Jeremy M. Evans is the CEO, Founder & Managing Attorney of California Sports Lawyer® representing entertainment, media, and sports clients and is licensed to practice law in California.