As the imminent retirement of football geniuses – Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo – looms, one thing is for sure—a football-age, perhaps the sport’s golden era, is fast drawing to an end. A period that experienced the sheer art and genius of the likes of Angel Di Maria, Eden Hazard and Luis Suarez, among others, will be phased out.
Also, given the rapid rise of technology, minute-notice modifications to governmental legislations and upstart reports of civil unrest, there’s no gainsaying that a considerable lot is going on at the same time.
In the midst of all these, one thing is for sure: many are concerned about what the future of soccer holds. For some, this concern might be demonstrated by curiosity. While for others, it could surface as worry. Regardless of which group you fall into, this article aims to allay your fears (or satisfy your curiosity) by making the most learned predictions of what you should expect to see in upcoming football seasons.
We’ll Be Seeing More of Tech
Given that a significant percentage of football viewers, right now, are members of the GenZ and GenAlpha, any sport that wants to remain relevant must integrate technological innovations into its very fabric. Truly, bodies such as FIFA have begun incorporating systems such as the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) and Electronic Performance and Tracking Systems (EPTS) into the game.
However, this trend is sure to accelerate in the coming years. As we see it, the future of football is one that will rely heavily on technologies such as chips, drones, sensors, on-pitch microphones and tiny HD cameras.
Such changes will benefit the coaches as they will get immediate feedback; serve as a tool for referees, provide different camera angles for the media and also drastically improve viewer experience through technologies that incorporate Augmented Reality (AR).
We’ll Be Seeing More of Women
This prediction is a no-brainer! The days of discrimination on the grounds of gender, sexual orientation, skin colour and religion are far behind now. The stigma attached to women who engage in sports has since fallen off.
Given the massive growth potential the sport presents, we are inching closer to a time when female footballers are household names, on the tongues of die-hard fans all over the globe.
Over the last decade, we have seen it happen. In the future, we will experience it even more. This particular trend could prove advantageous for sponsors and club owners who need to pull new fans and generate extra revenue to cover their investments.
We’ll Be Seeing More of Entertainment
According to research, our attention span has shrunk by about 25% in the last 15 years. As of the time of writing this article, the average attention span is about 8.25 seconds—shorter than even the goldfish, which can focus on an object/task for 9!
If football wants to keep pace with the changing demands of its young viewers, it must make provisions for much more entertainment than it presently offers. Soccer alone won’t float the boat. We predict the future of football to include more memorable, interactive and personalized experiences for viewers.
Think of e-Sports played on e-platforms by football fans. Think of holograms of football stars in the stadiums. Think of live betting on the best payout casinos on the planet based on data analyzed accurately by AI while experiencing the events of the game from every possible angle. The boundless possibilities the future of soccer holds are simply breathtaking!
We’ll Be Seeing Greater Globalization of the Game
Ever since the world recovered from the COVID-19 pandemic, learning several lessons along the way, one thing is for sure: just about anything can be done remotely. Individuals’ dreams and aspirations are no longer limited to their territorial boundaries.
In fact, the orientation of many has shifted from being locally focused to being internationally focused. With technology, anyone can work from anywhere. In the same vein, anyone can stream and participate in sports events from anywhere in the world. The rise of tournaments such as the UEFA Champions League and the World Cup have further proven that the game of soccer can be made a global phenomenon. As more technological tools that facilitate virtual work are developed, this trend cannot but experience a spike.
The future of football is such that more countries join the league of the game’s elite; hosting major tournaments. Another implication of this trend is that more revenue will be generated through and from football.
We’ll Be Seeing An Asian/Middle-Eastern Take-Over
Everyone is quite aware of how involved Asia (and the Middle East) are in recent technology trends (such as AI). Factor in the fact that football is gaining immense popularity in these regions and you have a recipe for a takeover. Countries such as Japan, Korea, China and India, among others, are very likely to become key players in the world of soccer, given the growing enthusiasm of players and fans, as well as the increasing investment in football in these regions.
Surely, you are free to agree or disagree. However, it cannot be denied that the future of soccer is a bright one. The greater involvement of tech might grow so much that it lets viewers feel the emotions of players. The game also holds a future where gender equality is practically illustrated.
Football is also en route to greater globalization and, if care is not taken, might be financially dominated by Asian and Middle-Eastern countries. The future of football is replete with promise and potential!