Viewpoint: Six trends to look out for in live events in 2022

For EngageRM and all stakeholders in the sports, entertainment and events industry as a whole, 2021 marked a momentous year. However, with major challenges and opportunities emerging against a backdrop of continued uncertainty due to the pandemic, what will be the major trends and developments that shape the sector in the year ahead? EngageRM founder Brett Yorgey offers his perspective on what to expect in 2022 with the following six predictions:

Emerging technologies will be more important than ever

“I think there is little doubt that the events industry is going to have to work harder than ever to bring the live experience to people in an even more engaging way. In order to remain competitive, operators will need to embrace new and emerging technologies. There is already the prospect being discussed of concerts and sporting events being delivered in the metaverse, but there are also innovations that will continue to bring attendees closer to the stars at in-person events as well.”

There will be a greater emphasis on virtual experiences

“The consumer experience pre, during and post-event is going to change significantly. The way people engage with these occasions will evolve considerably, and they may not need to be in the same venue as others to share experiences from the same event. The technology is developing really impressively, and although events will continue to be experienced by many people in person, there will be a greater focus on virtual technology in the future.”

The move from Web 2.0 to Web 3.0 will be simplified

“Over the next 12 months to two years, I think there is going to be a real push for improving and simplifying the shift from Web 2.0 to Web 3.0. One of the big challenges facing broader adoption of the innovations and digital technologies that will underpin the move is that it is too complicated for many people to understand – from the NFTs supported by smart contracts to blockchains – so things need to change in that regard.”

Untapped revenue streams will open up

“The income streams of event operators and venues have faced an uphill struggle due to COVID-19. However, on the flipside, changing consumer experiences will also lead to new, untapped revenue streams as well. We are no longer just talking about purchasing a ticket or a seat for a live event any more. There are going to be significant interactions with the world of NFTs, for example, and everything that comes with an evolution of engagement.”

Finding the right communication techniques will be key

“Venues, promoters and event organisers will need to figure out the best way to interact with their broader fan base and followers, and not just their core supporters. Some sports clubs may have a few thousand people coming through the turnstiles, but more than a million individuals on their database. How do they interact with them and make them more ‘sticky’ so they can add value? That is one of the major questions that can be answered by proactive, innovation-focused organisations.”

The importance of sustainability and the climate will grow

“The world is changing in many ways and, as we saw at COP26 last year, prioritising conservation and sustainability is no longer just a throwaway line. In fact, I feel it will be front and centre in the mission statements of all involved in the sports and entertainment industry. With Co-op Live (pictured), ‘For the Planet’ is an approach dedicated to delivering the world’s next-generation concert experience, while Intuit Dome is partnering with Aspiration to set a ‘new standard for social responsibility in sports by building the first climate-positive arena’. These are just two examples of an area of focus that will be hugely important in the months and years to come.”