1. If the NBA or NFL have lockouts they will be very short.
Too much is at stake and both players and owners know that. If it takes missing a couple games to exert pressure on the players, so be it. But I'm confident that the NFL will be playing games by late September and the NBA will be up and running by late November—if they miss that time at all.
2. 3D TV still won't make a dent.
So far, it has been a whole lot of hurrying up and waiting. For the most part, 2010 told us that people won't spend the extra money to watch events in 3D and although Walt Disney's ESPN is committed to broadcasting more events in the coming year, it's not clear that 3D is a dramatic upgrade from HD. Throw in the cumbersome glasses—which vary from TV to TV—and 2011 will be another year of very little traction in this space.
3. Lack of Tiger victories will slow PGA tour TV negotiations.
Tiger Woods will win a total of two tournaments, including one major. With the PGA Tour set to commence television negotiations at the end of the year (the deals expire at the end of the 2012 season), the organization will have to delay them to allow for a greater chance of a Tiger recovery. Any deal will be worth about 70 percent less if Woods doesn't return to form.
4. The next great job in sports is social-media coordinator.
Hey kids, want to be an announcer, columnist or agents? How about being a social media coordinator? You can start now if you know how to deftly navigate this space. The sports world, behind much of the business world in reaching out creatively to its consumers, will have to catch up in 2011. Teams will find that having a social-media point person is as important as anything in this environment. The more teams engage with fans, the closer fans will feel, the better they'll think of the relationship.
5. Improving the TV experience in stands is essential.
The most talked about piece of technology in 2011 will be devices that allow fans to watch the game on a device while being in the stands. Fans feel disconnected when they are at the game and this provides what is now a necessary middle ground. The race will be fierce in this area. Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross' FanVision is the leader because of his power in the sports and business world. But there are others, including Yintzcamand I expect more entrants into this marketplace that will allow fans to watch in-stadium content on their smart phones.
So, how did I dolast year with my predictions? Well, I made three and I'm proud to say none were completely off. Luxury-suite downsizing continued, as I predicted, as many teams converted luxury boxes into party rooms. Foreign ownership in sports did in fact rise. My questionable pick was that broadcasters would invest big in 3D. That didn't really happen as it's more accurate to say that they dabbled in the space.