The Road Ahead – Mike Panaggio, co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of DME Delivers

The Game Is Changing

As I think about the role sports and sporting events play in our society, I am reminded of what sports fulfill in us––the reason we endure long hours of training to make only incremental improvement or why we still cheer our childhood team despite their consistent ranking at the bottom of the field. Sports give us a sense of belonging. They fulfill our aspirations to get better, to fly high and dominate and more.

When I look at the business of sports, I look at three main areas which are changing on the road ahead: participation, spectating and media. They are all important pieces of the “business of sports” landscape, and it’s what I believe we will be focusing on in the future, but the big word is GLOBALIZATION.

At DME we have grown our participation opportunities from focusing solely on basketball to expanding our lens to include volleyball, beach volleyball, soccer, hockey, and in the near future we will add baseball in addition to other sports. What this tells me is the road ahead for participation is wide and ever-reaching.

And it’s not just that we are expanding the number of sports in which we are involved, we are hosting athletes from all over the world. The U.S. is poised for incredible growth in international schooling and athletic training and DME’s specific goal is to put Daytona Beach on the map in this regard.

Spectators and fans will always be an integral part of the business of sports. In many cases, sports are paid for by selling tickets, souvenirs and content. Even on the local level, parents play an important role in the business of sports and each generation wants “better” for the next generation. In many families this is measured by participation in travel sports leagues. 

The future of travel sports leagues continues to grow and drive significant economic engines in the hotel, restaurant and entertainment industries. In 2019, the $45.1 billion in sports-related travel spending means that nearly $124 million was spent EVERY DAY by sports travelers, event organizers and venues. When indirect and direct costs are added together, the economic impact reaches a staggering $103.3 billion in sales. Clearly, after the pandemic sports travel will see a robust increase and our region needs to continue investing in marketing to host these events.

Finally, the media is impacting the business of sports. Now we are seeing NCAA athletes getting paid for the use of their likeness in advertising and endorsements. (It’s the end of the amateur athlete.) This change is going to open the floodgates for marketers to create media stars out of college athletes not just on their play but also on their lifestyle. In addition, media is becoming more specialized in that there are spokespeople and channels on every sport imaginable. I even saw disc golf broadcasting their matches with cameras, commentators and Madden-like “chalk” boards. 

I read recently that there are over 134,000 hours a year in which some type of sport is being broadcast in the United States. When you break that down, we are broadcasting 14 years’ worth of 24-hour sports broadcasting in a single year. Clearly, in this global economy, sports media will be king and queen and we will see more and more options to entertain us from across the globe.