Qatar 2022. This is easily the biggest story of the year, and it is the first FIFA World Cup in the Middle East. There are many stories in the news, some positive and some negative, we wanted to highlight just a few. For our first winter world cup there are eight stadiums that will be equipped with air conditioning! Statements around sustainability have been made regarding stadiums being zero waste and that parts of the stadiums will be disassembled and reused. The world cup will no doubt be exciting and with so many firsts we will have many surprises.
Digital. We touched on digital communities in our 2021 recap. It’s imperative that soccer clubs continue to evolve. That will mean using new business models such as subscriptions, digital communities, Blockchain, and NFT’s. Rather than trying to dazzle you with tech terms that are meaningless to the lay person, each of these can be used to connect with fans in new ways putting them at the center of the soccer experience.
Sustainable. This is a macrotrend and you’re seeing everyone jump on the sustainable bandwagon. For good reason – it’s the right thing to do. We are going to see sustainability permeate the game more and more. One story that we really love is about Forest Green Rovers FC. They are a team in the EFL League 2 as well as being officially deemed “The greenest soccer club in the world” by FIFA. From their kit being made from coffee bean waste to the club being fully powered by renewables they are truly blazing a new trail. Another club that made headlines is Brentford FC. In a plan to keep their jerseys affordable and sustainable they have decided to keep their jerseys for 2 years instead of creating new ones. It’s fantastic to see clubs thinking about the environment and we hope to see more innovative ideas to help the planet.
GOAT(s). This is a tough one for us to write. We have had the privilege of experiencing two of the greatest players the game has ever seen for the last 15 years. They have produced some amazing and unforgettable moments. With Cristiano Ronaldo 37 in February 2022 and Lionel Messi 35 in June 2022, how many more seasons do they have left? How many more season do they have at the top of their craft? We had so many questions (and arguments) with this one and we are already seeing changes in both of their games. Ronaldo’s productivity doesn’t seem to be falling off, but Messi is struggling at PSG. We predict both to struggle in 2022.
Young guns. Lastly, the next generation. We will see some of the best young players like Haaland and Mbappe move to the biggest clubs in the world. Beyond those there is an exciting wave of new players breaking through. Who will the next superstar be and who will breakthrough in Qatar?