The FINN Five Sports Predictions for 2024
January 9, 2024
With the New Year comes resolutions (which many of us have already broken!) and of course, predictions. There is no shortage of sports predictions, but the FINN Sports team is going all in on these five predictions for the upcoming year.
1. Charlie Baker’s Plan for College Sports Begins to Take Form
In December, newly appointed NCAA president Charlie Baker sent shockwaves through the college sports world when he announced a proposal to create a new NCAA Division I subdivision – one which would allow member institutions to enter into NIL deals with their athletes and directly compensate athletes through a school-established educational trust.
Baker’s proposal marked a stark change vs. the old NCAA regime and a big step towards rectifying a NIL structure and landscape that has been in disarray.
With the NCAA Convention in Phoenix this week, expect discussions about Baker’s proposal to heat up.
We know the official creation of a new Division I subdivision will be a massive logistical undertaking, and while we believe it WILL eventually happen, it is certainly going to take some time.
In the meantime, Ross Dellenger of Yahoo! Sports reports that certain elements of Baker’s proposal could be expedited – and we’re expecting that by the end of the year, the NCAA will at the very least allow schools to enter into NIL agreements with their own athletes.
– Zach Groen, Vice President
2. Women’s Sports Surges into the Billion$
2023 was a monumental year for women’s sports, and 2024 is set to see more incredible growth – as women’s sports are expected to surpass the $1 billion mark this year, driven by commercial revenue and broadcast rights.
In fact, we’re already seeing MAJOR moves a few days into the New Year! ESPN and the NCAA announced a new $920 million media rights agreement that is leaning heavily into women’s sports with 21 of the 40 different NCAA Championships focused on women’s sports.
And the deal includes NCAA women’s college basketball valued at $65 million per year – a massive jump which represents a figure 10 times greater than the sport’s value in the current broadcast deal, which ends this year.
Not only is the money growing, but the excitement is swelling around other sports where female athletes are dominating.
While 2023 was the year of women’s soccer and basketball with the NWSL’s landmark $240 million media rights deal, new WNBA records, and the phenomenon of Caitlin Clark – women’s pro ice hockey and volleyball are poised to seize the moment this year. Just eight days in to 2024, the new Professional Women’s Hockey League (PWHL) has already set two attendance records since kicking off on 1/1; The league set an attendance record in Ottawa on Jan. 2, which drew over 8,000 fans to mark the largest crowd ever to watch a professional women’s hockey game. The PWHL shattered that record this past weekend, when the game between Minnesota and Montreal on Saturday set a new record of 13,316 fans in attendance.
And keep an eye out for professional women’s volleyball to follow suit with the Pro Volleyball Federation (PVF) – the new women’s professional volleyball league – tipping off its inaugural season on Jan. 24. You can catch all the action for yourself as the PVF has a media rights deal with CBS Sports, and a partnership with USA Volleyball to promote women’s volleyball at the highest levels.
The future couldn’t be brighter for women’s sports!
– Madelyn Flax, Sports Communications Specialist
3. AI Makes its Impact on Sports Betting
AI is all the rage as it makes its impact on every industry. Sports betting is no exception.
Already, AI is helping sportsbooks with algorithms to provide more accurate odds, along with the ability to analyze user behavior to provide a more personalized and real-time experience for bettors like never before.
In 2024, you will see more start-ups and predictive sportsbooks launch and offer sophisticated AI-led technology with claims of high percentage win rates for sports betting enthusiasts. In fact, our FINN Sports team has already been speaking with a few of these start-ups!
Should be interesting to see how both the sportsbooks and bettors try to gain the competitive advantage in the popular sports betting world.
– Manny Cedeno, Associate Vice President
4. USA Dominates the Paris 2024 Olympic Games
The Olympics is an opportunity for the best athletes on the planet to compete on the world’s biggest stage and FINN Sports is proud that the 2024 Paris Olympic Games marks the 10th Olympic Games in which we have represented athletes since 2002.
This summer we’ll be rooting for Team USA’s hoopsters, swimmers, runners, and more, but we’ll be cheering especially hard for our newest client, USA Fencing, and their incredible athletes!
And naturally, John Acunto and I – FINN Sports’ avid surfers – will be paying special attention to the surfers competing at the world-class Teahupoo surf break.
Look for Team USA to lead the medal count for the fourth consecutive Summer Games!
– Jay Cariero, Senior Account Executive
5. The New York Rangers WIN the Cup!
I remember 1994 … yes, the last time the New York Rangers won the Stanley Cup. Longtime Rangers announcer Sam Rosen said, “This one will last a lifetime,” as the Rangers closed out Game 7 against the Canucks.
That line has now haunted me for decades.
Didn’t think I would have to wait another 30 years, but here we are. The Rangers have the goaltending, defense, offensive firepower – and a new coach who has already won a Stanley Cup.
Seriously, this is the year!
– John Acunto, Senior Partner