The New Rules

Sport is at its best when it is inspiring us, and we found plenty to be inspired by in our Future Of Sport Survey. We wanted to find out how sports has the power to challenge attitudes around the major forces of Inclusion, Equity & Diversity, Sustainability, Performance & Success, Game Play and Fandom. We used these cultural shifts as a roadmap to what sports might look like for tomorrow’s players and fans.  

For the full survey on The Future Of Sport, contact hello@crowdDNA.com 


In this survey, we got to interesting provocations around:  

Inclusion, Equity & Diversity 

Traditional barriers are being challenged (such as improved equity in sports, whether financial, gender or physical access), and questions about inclusion (especially for non-binary or trans people in sport) and the relationship between sports and politics are under scrutiny. 

We found that…  

96% of Americans agree it’s important to make everyone feel welcome within the sports community 

50% of Americans agree that sportswashing is a problem 

96% of Americans agree it’s important to make sports accessible to everyone


Sustainability  

New solutions are being found to create more climate positive events, for example FIFA has committed to net-zero emission by 2040; and Formula 1 has a strategy to become a net zero carbon sport by 2030. 

We found that… 

87% of Americans feel it is important to reduce the carbon footprint of sporting events and experiences  

37%  of Americans feel the transparency from sporting organisations and events around global issues such as their sustainable impact will improve in the next five years  


Performance & Success 

As athletes like Simone Biles and Naomi Osaka withdraw from events to prioritise their mental health, it’s no longer success at any cost.  

We found that…

68% of Americans agree that the mental wellbeing of athletes is more important than their performance 

72% of Americans agree that athletes achievements are rooted in their story off the field, not just what they do on the field

96% of Americans agree it’s important that new technology is developed to protect the physical wellbeing of athletes 


Game Play  

With eSports eventing firmly established, other challengers to traditional sports play includes the rise of player-driven organisations, and a bigger spotlight on player welfare. 

We found that…

20% of sports fans would consider watching eSports in the future 

51% of Americans agree that biohacking will become more prevalent in sports 

64% of Americans feel the use of technology while watching live sporting events will improve over the next five years 


Fandom 

People are changing how they watch sports, turning to creators and technology that builds the personality and profile of players online, while teams are meeting fans where they are most vocal: in Twitch streams, Roblox arenas, TikTok, and Twitter threads.

We found that…

69% of American females identify as sports fan, compared to 81% of American males 

56% of Americans (61% of sports fans) have engaged with athletes or teams outside of the sport, eg on social media, live streams, or listening to a podcast 


For the full survey on The Future Of Sport, contact hello@crowdDNA.com 

Download Crowd Signals: Sports Fandom & Activewear here

We’ve used our Crowd Signals Platform to track real-time signals within sports conversations around fandom and activewear, and this report is what we found to be uppermost in the minds and behaviour of people who are engaging in sports right now. 

The Crowd Signals Platform has advanced NLP, AI and machine learning capabilities (powered by strat7.ai) to search social posts, forums, search engines, review sites, client sales and behavioural sets – and ultimately uncover meaningful stories of culture.

Read previous Crowd Signals: Psychedelic Heath here and Crowd Signals: Wellbeing Recharge here.

For this latest report, we looked at the data within the culture shifts of Finding Your Fandom and Fluid Expression – two of the nine macro subjects we track in real-time on the Crowd Signals Platform – and how the trends in these cultures linked to fan identity and activewear.

The big issues that are writ large are conversations about activism and women in sport, and how well-being and performance can work together.

The full report features what the 2023 data can reveal about: 

_ Playful dressing of sports brands, and the pairing of wellbeing and activewear

_ Activewear trends on TikTok 

_Female fandom’s impact on inclusivity and body positivity 

_What e-sports players most care about

_Brands who are staying relevant as fandom conventions change rapidly

So on your marks, get set, and go read Crowd Signals: Sports Fandom & Activewear.

Download Crowd Signals: Sports Fandom & Activewear here

Get in touch to find out more about how our Crowd Signals platform can help client challenges. Our AI powered and bespoke offering can be tailored to uncover culture shifts, trends and future opportunities from unstructured data.

Crowd Tracks: Sports Fandom

Our Crowd Tracks report is back. This time we’re turning our attention to the global goings-on of sports fandom...

Download the new report here.


Crowd Tracks is our social data series, where we use our Culture At Scale method to highlight and analyse trends at the intersection of brands and culture. At what feels like a watershed moment for supporters of all types of sport, we’re bringing you the latest in fan experience, values and culture. 

In this edition we uncover how fan protests have mobilised on social platforms across the world, analyse Instagram data to track emergent fandom, and explore the rise of new, immersive experiences for fans, featuring 5G stadiums and VR.

So what’s happening in sports fandom around the world?

Sports experience is diversifying globally and fan culture is becoming more complex and inclusive. In the UK we saw a diverse team GB bring home a historic win of golds, silvers and bronzes, providing a balm for a divided nation; while in India eSports has boomed, with fantasy cricket leagues becoming nice little earners for some. Japan’s Naomi Osaka became a style icon on the cover of Vogue after pulling out of the French Open due to mental health concerns. And in rugby: global following of the sport continues to rise, with World Rugby publishing a report stating plans to attract 10% more followers by 2025.

But that’s not to say things can’t get tense out there…

2020-21 saw sport become increasingly embedded within the thorny issues of global politics. Racism and ongoing BLM protests have seen conversation spikes in the US, Europe and around the world. America has been divided by opinions on NFL players taking the knee, as has the UK where racist abuse of black players during the Euros saw widespread condemnation. 

Mental health concerns have been firmly thrust into the foreground in most recent sporting events, with athletes such as Simone Biles speaking out. Indian cricket became highly politicised, getting entwined with farmers’ protests. 

The ethics of sports partnerships have also come under the spotlight, with many calling for a boycott of the T-20 league after what were seen as unethical sponsorships from the Chinese company Vivo. 

What trends are on the rise? 

People want more muscles. While gym culture is a mainstay of IG culture, images of muscular bodies have increased by 45% in the last nine months. Wrestling is up by 70% and Boxing has seen a 55% rise. TikTok has caused dance to quite simply soar. Dancing has risen by a whopping 215% and cheerleading too is up by a similarly impressive 163%. And more young women are skating, the sport’s searches rising by 98%.   

Which brand really pushed the boat out?  

The last year saw the NBA get seriously phygital. They tapped into the emergent interest in NFTs (Non-Fungible Tokens) with Top Shot, a platform that allows fans to buy special, unique digital souvenirs. But it doesn’t just stay in the ether. The NBA are looking at ways of making this physical as well, bringing the digital collectables into the IRL sport experiences.  

What’s the future of fan experience? 

In short – TechnologyTechnology is set to offer new revenue streams for clubs and preserve the stadium experience for decades to come. 69% of fans report the use of emerging technologies has enhanced their viewing experience both inside and outside the stadium. Sports brands need to act fast on this or risk losing out to the ever-dominant tech industry.

And finally: how have fan values changed? 

Fan communities used to be defined by one thing: their shared support. Now, sports fandom – and fandom in general – is built around cultural values beyond the sport itself. Whether it’s a desire for accountability, transparency, or greater representation, fans are now banding together around shared causes, calling on clubs and athletes to use their power for good.

Thanks to social media, fans can share information and mobilise, take issues into their own hands and vocalise what matters. Sporting institutions need to prioritise the voice of the fans, and make smart appointments – such as heads of diversity or culture – to ensure their businesses are run fairly and in line with their fans’ values.


You can download the full Crowd Tracks: Sports Fandom report here

Culture At Scale is a powerful new addition to how Crowd DNA pinpoints and tracks trends. Supported by the advanced NLP, AI and machine learning capabilities of strat7.ai, we tap into the sheer size and incredible pace of the online conversation, presenting future scenarios and defining credible opportunities.

 

They say absence makes the heart grow fonder, but a lack of human connection has forced us to completely rethink our love lives. Our new edition of Crowd Tracks opens up...

The fifth edition of Crowd Tracks is now live and available to download here. Crowd Tracks is our regular exploration of unstructured social data, uncovering emerging trends using our Culture At Scale method. This time round, we’re covering the fascinating world of sex and relationships, analysing relevant conversation and interactions over the last four months.

After a year quite unlike any other, the way we discuss and approach dating, sex and relationships is in flux. Following a Covid-staggered start of ‘can we, can’t we?’, many of us have succumbed to yet another lockdown of minimal romancing. While dating culture has stalled and the novelty of Zoom dates has fizzled out, people have been experimenting with new ways to find fulfilment. Whether that’s looking inward and practicing self care or navigating the burgeoning worlds of sex tech and science, pleasure will always prevail. 

The full report features:

Viral stories from around the world – from Jojo Siwa’s announcement on TikTok, to a new, openly-gay Indian podcast and the Japanese government’s investment in AI matchmaking

A language tracker highlighting the shifting discourse and tone when it comes to love, relationships and online dating culture

– An Instagram-based image analysis unpacking over 450,000 images relating to romance, revealing the most popular backdrops and colour choices

– A closer look at Lora DiCarlo – the brand on a mission to destigmatize sex tech with help from Cara Delevingne, with discussion around the pitfalls of inclusivity in this area

Trends analysis of the increasing presence of data and science in our bedrooms, as well as the rise of singledom as an act of self care.

Download the full copy of Crowd Tracks: Sex & Relationships here.

Culture At Scale at Crowd DNA

At Crowd DNA, we’re constantly tracking conversations online across a range of categories. We deploy social media and other unstructured data sources in a number of ways; either as a stand-alone method (including producing one-off and periodical reports for our clients) or integrated alongside semiotic, ethnographic and quantitative approaches. If you’d like to find out more about how we can use Culture At Scale to meet your business challenges, get in touch.

Crowd Tracks: Gaming

No longer reserved just for those locked in bedrooms, gaming has become democratised and more diverse. Our latest edition of Crowd Tracks loads up...

The fourth edition of our regular social data report, Crowd Tracks, is here. This time, it’s all about gaming as we explore unstructured data surrounding the category using our Culture At Scale method.

Gaming has triumphed as one of the saviours of 2020. In a year of uncertainty and confinement, it provides us a tool to escape on the one hand, but remain connected and plugged in on the other. Narratives within gaming culture are also shifting. No longer seen as (entirely) harmful to mental health, games are being presented as a space for self-care. And, while it may be long overdue, the industry is now taking steps toward greater representation and inclusion. 

The full report features:

– Viral stories around the world – from BTS launching their latest single in Fornite, to the UK government calling for a public enquiry into paid-for loot boxes

– A brand leaderboard ranking the social juggernauts of the gaming world and continued dominance of MMOGs (massive multiplayer online games)

– A global hashtag analysis of Instagram, unpacking the conversation and importance of community, humour and creativity in gaming

– A spotlight on Dontnod’s latest game Tell Me Why – a brave and complex adventure confronting issues of sexuality and mental health

Trends analysis of the evolution of games into entertainment ecosystems and the ongoing issues of diversity in gaming.

Download the full copy of Crowd Tracks: Gaming here.

Culture At Scale at Crowd DNA

At Crowd DNA, we’re constantly tracking conversations online across a range of categories. We deploy social media and other unstructured data sources in a number of ways; either as a stand-alone method (including producing one-off and periodical reports for our clients) or integrated alongside semiotic, ethnographic and quantitative approaches. If you’d like to find out more about how we can use Culture At Scale to meet your business challenges, get in touch.

In the run up to the US Election, Crowd DNA New York will track the conversation online, turning emergent trends into valuable learnings. First up in the Click State series, a fresh look at localization...

Elections have been playing out digitally for years, but 2020’s presidential race – with its virtual conventions, TikTok meddling, basement broadcasts, corporate activism and Twitter declarations – is like no other. As we hit the final stretch, Crowd DNA New York’s Click State series will track the conversation online, using our Culture At Scale social media data method to identify emergent trends.

Our first post is below. By analyzing conversations coming out of swing states, we can see how a polarizing election is fast accelerating the shift from a collective American identity to a more local one.


Challenging the idea of a blanket ‘American identity’

In a year where governor mandates took precedence over presidential guidance on the pandemic, we’ve seen an accelerated shift from nationalism to a locally focused mindset. The events of 2020 have fuelled a drive away from a collective American character. Now, pride and trust in states and counties, even individual cities, resonates more strongly with American’s sense of self than the country as a whole. This, crossed with the nation’s individualistic nature, has been challenging the idea of a blanket ‘American identity.’

Then came the election. With polls neck and neck, especially in swing states, causes that hold local significance have come to the fore. We’re witnessing demand for attention to local issues and representatives who support each state’s unique needs. Candidates always pander to swing states, but this year, with a reinvigorated sense of local self, these states are armed with demands for their locales. By analyzing online conversations in three swing states, we can see how disparate voices are replacing one American narrative. Listening (socially) to these divided voices helps us learn how to speak to a fragmented, local leaning country.

Wisconsin:

With Covid-19 already making voting in the US precarious, Wisconsin reduced polling stations from 182 to five, disproportionately impacting low-income Black and brown communities. After months of Black Lives Matter protests and strong demonstrations in Kenosha, Wisconsinites feel empowered, rallying behind these communities. Rather than sitting out the election, they’re activating and driving change online, teaching us the value demonstrations can have on a location’s spirit.

Florida:

Climate change is a very real threat in states like Florida, which have been ripped apart by coastal flooding. Cross this with Gen Z, a generation of first time voters who have continually ranked climate change as a top issue. As climate change continues to harm Florida, the state’s voters seek candidates who prioritize the cause. Using social, Florida politicians rally the state by speaking to local climate initiatives. By referencing impacted locations and drawing from local experiences, politicians can relate to voters as fellow Floridians.

Arizona:

If Arizona’s votes go to Biden, as polling suggests, it would be the first time the state favored a Democrat in 24 years. This shift is thanks to the state’s growing Latinx population. And as more US-born Latinx Arizonans turn voting age, they will add up to a significant voting bloc. Social outcries appeal directly to these voters through the use of language and cultural references. In speaking to Latinx Americans, authentically addressing the cultural nuances in their culture is crucial.

Looking at these states, and understanding their fragmented identities, presents implications for speaking to American consumers. Messaging will feel more relatable if brands consider local identities first.

The sentiment ‘we’re all in this together’ is tone deaf to America’s transitioning sense of self. Americans don’t feel a sense of camaraderie with states whose needs differ from their own. They want brands to speak to an identity that exists beyond the singular American character.


Source: Brandwatch, tracking data from Jul 1, 2020-Sept 28, 2020

Wisconsin: Jul 1, 2020-Sept 28, 2020, Wisconsin, United States: ((election OR election2020 OR “election 2020” OR presidentialelection OR “presidential election” OR 2020election OR “2020 election”) AND (votersuppression OR “voter suppression”) AND (wisconsin))

Florida: Jul 1, 2020-Sept 28, 2020, Florida, United States: ((election OR election2020 OR “election 2020” OR presidentialelection OR “presidential election” OR 2020election OR “2020 election”) AND (“climate change” OR climatechange) AND (florida))

Arizona: Jul 1, 2020-Sept 28, 2020, Arizona, United States: ((election OR election2020 OR “election 2020” OR presidentialelection OR “presidential election” OR 2020election OR “2020 election”) AND (latin*) AND (arizona))

Future-Proofing Quant

Our Crowd Numbers team are on a mission to revamp quantitative research. Download this PDF report to find out where they think things are heading...

Following their breakfast event way back pre-pandemic, our Crowd Numbers team have been building further on ideas for how to future-proof quantitative research; and to ensure it sits as a vital element in our method toolbox.

In this report, they’ve broken this down into three areas:

1. Transcending Demographics

2. Bringing In Culture

3. Telling Real Stories

Check out the full report to find out more: Crowd DNA, More Than A Number, June 2020

From celebrating Black voices to understanding regional conversation, this special installment of Crowd Tracks explores conversations of the Black Lives Matter movement...

Download the full copy of Black Lives Matter: Behind The Hashtag here.

Crowd Tracks is our social data dispatch, highlighting emerging trends using our Culture At Scale method. As people in all 50 US states, and around the globe, march together, demanding equality for Black people, this special issue spotlights conversation around the Black Lives Matter movement.

The full report features:

– BLM growth – mapping the trajectory of conversation around Black Lives Matter

– Viral stories from across the US organizing protests, battling voter suppression, holding brands accountable

– Buying Black – uncovering how through the exposure of the racially unequal practices of big brands, emerges a celebration of Black businesses

– The role of brands – examining how brands are participating in discussion and what effective brand allyship looks like

– Amplifying Black voices – exploring how the internet is celebrating and making space for Black voices

– Deep dives delving into how the movement is reviving community and shifting from cancel culture to accountability

Download the full copy of Black Lives Matter: Behind The Hashtag here.

Listening to and amplifying the voices of the Black Lives Matter movement
Listening to and amplifying the voices of the Black Lives Matter movement

Culture At Scale at Crowd DNA
At Crowd DNA, we’re constantly tracking conversations online across a range of categories. We deploy social media and other unstructured data sources in a number of ways; either as a stand-alone method (including producing one-off and periodical reports for our clients) or integrated alongside semiotic, ethnographic and quantitative approaches. If you’d like to find out more about how we can use Culture At Scale to meet your business challenges, get in touch.