top of page
  • Writer's pictureRebecca Derrick

The sports on the rise

Just as brands were told to get behind women's sport a few years ago, there are a bunch of new sports racing up the ladder to super-stardom. Brands are right to think ahead with their planning and in doing so, can make incredibly cheap sponsorship deals that will take them right through the sports growth, benefiting not only the sport and its players but the brand too.

Here are the sports to watch out for:


Electric scootering

- Whilst the jury is out on electric scooters in the public space, the competitive side of these speedy contraptions is taking off worldwide, helped especially by the launch of the eSkootr Competition. With incredible camera tracking and fan engagement, the eSkootr Competition is growing at a rapid rate. I can't help but think it looks like a bunch of Power Rangers scooting around, not a bad thing in any right!

- Opportunity for brands: electric scooters are incredibly popular with Gen-Z right now. The notoriously hard-to-reach audience so working with electric scooter manufacturers, partnering with the ever-increasing professional riders or sponsorship competitions and events enables brands to reach this audience authentically and direct.

Skateboarding / roller blading

- Thanks to young skaters like Sky Brown, Paige Tobin, Cocona Hiraki and Momiji Nishiya, incredible performances at the 2020 Olympics and world-class skateparks like Folkstone appearing over the last two years, it's really no surprise we are seeing skateboarding participation sky rocket. Skateboarding is an accessible and very inclusive sport, encouraging community rallying and forming friendships across all age groups. Community skateparks across the UK are increasingly holding lessons and have just seen a £1.83 million investment to grow the sport over the next five years.

- Opportunity for brands: skateboarding allows brands to partner with individual athletes - picking those that work for their brands rather than having to sign up for a full team as well as work in brand experience as more-and-more brands lend themselves to the skatepark environment. Given its roots remain in the community, it's a predominantly outdoor sport and requires little investment, it allows brands to work towards their sustainability goals too.


- You read that right, Pickleball is the fastest growing sport in the world right now and if you believe the rumours, could soon be an Olympic sport. Once only played by the elderly given its low impact and ease of play, thanks to Covid the Pickleball obsession is officially in full swing. . If you haven't already, expect your local community tennis courts to be adapted to allow for Pickleball play. Even Leo Dicaprio is a convert, playing everyday in his converted tennis court.

- Opportunity for brands: other than jumping in whilst sponsorship is relatively new and therefore cheap, brands have an opportunity to reach an incredibly broad audience that is actually participating in the game rather than purely spectators. This results in better conversion for you.



- The second most played sport in the country and yet funding is less than some the 10th most played. After senior bodies decided to priortise other sports over basketball for the 2012 Olympics, it is no surprise that basketball has paid the price and initiatives like NBA tours have failed to take off. But with NBA Europe now gaining traction, NBA games more accessible to watch through NBA TV and most importantly, more basketball courts being erected across communities, basketball seems to finally be getting the stage it deserves.

- Opportunities for brands: as mentioned, basketball is the second most played sport in the UK with numbers especially high in the BAME community. Even more so, the growth of women's basketball is through-the-roof. Brands would be stupid not to get involved now, building long-term partnerships so they are seen as the brand that brought basketball to the UK ala Vitality x Women's sport or Guinness x Rugby .

American Football

- This isn't necessarily a new one but one that has seen slow growth over the years, taking a big hit during the Covid-19 pandemic. But with numbers soaring (four million UK fans tuned in to watch the 2022 Superbowl) and with the most popular teams being those that don't even play in the UK (Dolphins, Green Bay Packers and Buccaneers), NFL is set for an epic comeback. A big reason is the entertainment value it brings. Players are celebrities in their own right - take Tom Brady and Patrick Mahomes for example - plus things like the half-time entertainment, celebrity attendances, cheerleaders and all things quintessentially Hollywood, we're all enjoying that level of escapism.

- Opportunities for brands: most of the traditional partnerships for the London games have been swept up (for now) but the pre-show entertainment and experience is wide open with it feeling relatively untapped. More so, there is SO much to do from a social media, content and fan growth perspective to increase teams and the sports following from the UK.

Women's football/soccer

- Stay with me. Believe-it-or-not, we've not even started to scratch the surface with women's football here in the UK. Whilst we have seen incredible growth in fan numbers, sponsorship deals and rewards for the players themselves, we are still fighting battles around equality, acceptance and grassroots play. Still, girls aren't being given the same opportunities to play the nations sport at school and at their local club.

- Opportunities for brands: time to unbundle. Stop tagging your sponsorship of the women's game to the men's. Tailor your partnerships to be for women, to grow the game for women and to build foundations that ensure longevity. Things like, sponsorship of a stadium for the professional women's team to play at so they're not having to share with 10 other clubs. Provide kits, made for women, to all teams. From grassroots up.

To be decided: baseball

- The success of the MLB London Series has pricked ears as to whether we're going to see a surge in baseball interest. However, it's now been three years since the Series so jury's out whether or not we'll see this.



- An active America seems front-of-mind right now with a huge range of sports increasing in followers and interest. Whilst cricket is HUGE globally, it's never quite hit big time in the USA, until now! With a billion dollar investment, the launch of the new T20 League and the hope to officially launch Major League Cricket (MLC), America hopes to be hosts of the T20 World Cup within the next decade. More so, ESPN+ and Disney have already put their names forward as potential streamers, having seen incredible success through the IPL and EPL broadcast.

- Opportunity for brands: as a popular and relatively affluent sport, brands can get in front of an active audience with money to spare. Again, this is a sport that if brands get involved in now, whilst deals are cheap, they can be part of building the sport with a high return for relatively small levels of investment. We're talking ground up. Kits, stadiums, merchandise, grassroots, food & beverage. The lot. The time is now.


- If there are any Friends fans watching this, when you hear rugby and America, you probably think of Ross shimmying around in a striped tee. Looking gumpy as ever. And yet rugby is now one of the fastest growing sports in America (behind Pickleball) as it signs up for the exclusive double-whammy world cup's in 2031 and 2033. With 45 million American's now interested in the sport, rugby is set to catapult.

- Opportunities for brands: well, 45 million is a pretty good opportunity especially when access to other sports with large audiences (think American Football and Basketball) are totally saturated.

Formula 1

- Austin, Miami and soon we'll have Vegas. F1 has finally got the US break it has so desperately wanted, in large part thanks to Netflix's Drive to Survive. The US broadcasters are at logger heads for rights and brands are trying to navigate how to best get involved in the speedy sport.

- Opportunities for brands: F1 has long been associated to sponsorship by morally questionable industry's but with such an increase and broadening of its audience, more 'acceptable' brands are now wanting a piece of the pie. More so, the drivers are becoming superstars in themselves. Where before it was limited to one-or-two drivers, now the whole suite of drivers are signing deals and promoting their own side hustles. Get in quick!

It's an exciting time for so many sports right now, so get involved whether you're a brand, a fan or a potential fan.

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page