5 Trends that will Shape European Football in 2020 and beyond

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Football had its fair share of developments in 2019. Clubs and fans invested more resources and time in promoting women football. Streaming apps exploded in popularity, and betting companies took over sponsorships.

In 2020, you can expect some of last year’s trends to dominate. However, there will be new developments that could transform the beautiful game tremendously. Here are some of them.

Europe’s Big Clubs to Stay Rich

Motivated by the rising revenue from TV and sponsorships, the traditionally big clubs will continue to invest big in their teams. Evidently, EPL teams have already spent $1.83 billion in transfers this season. Across Europe, hundreds of millions of Euros is being splashed on elite players.

Read Madrid were the biggest spenders last summer after splashing £274.5 million. In return, they acquired Eden Hazard from Chelsea. They added; Ferland Mendy, Luka Jokovic, Rodrygo and loaned Areola from PSG.

Barcelona spent £229.5 million, Atletico Madrid £218.9 million while Juventus £174 million. Inter Milan and Arsenal also spent big. But the transfers have so far worked out better for the Serie A club than for the Premier League side.

If the big clubs continue to splash money, it will become increasingly difficult for teams outside of the Big Five leagues to triumph in the UCL. It's already happening as all the last 16 teams in the UCL come from Laliga, the EPL, League One, Serie A and Bundesliga.

New Revenue Sources

If you follow football news keenly, you might have heard of talks to form a Super League for top European teams. Yes, some clubs are not satisfied by the level of revenues earned in the UCL. Maybe they want more money or the idea of continually competing together.

Regardless, fans, domestic leagues and sports commentators don’t like the idea. People want things to remain in their current state. But the top clubs are adamant a Super League is necessary to solidify their interests.

While at it, the clubs have also been hunting for sponsors left, right and centre. The gaming industry is one of their favourite partners. If you want proof, look no further than the EPL and Laliga. In both leagues, more than half of clubs have betting partners.

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The Rise of Streaming Football

Last year, Amazon struck a deal to broadcast 19 football matches to Prime members around Christmas. Millions of fans signed up for the program and Amazon says it will consider investing more money in the next broadcasting rights’ auction.

A review of Amazon Prime’s experience by the BBC shows football fans throughout the UK want more of the action. Unlike TV, Amazon gave fans the option to listen to commentaries or the stadium atmosphere. People also love the network’s Goals Center Show and highlight features.

Amazon isn’t alone in broadcasting European football online. A slew of TV networks with rights to air matches now have apps where their fans can watch games through their phones. A few betting companies also stream games to their customers while there are dozens of apps that do it illegally.

Although cable TV networks aren’t likely to go anywhere, all signs show streaming with the future of watching football. And if streaming companies will feature some of Amazon’s innovation, the experience will be impeccable.

More Dominance from English Teams

In 2019, English teams had a wild year that culminated with Liverpool defeating EPL rivals Tottenham to win the UCL and Chelsea blowing out Arsenal for the Europa League title.   For many people, the best game last year was the reds coming back from a 3-0 deficit to knock out Barcelona out of the UCL in the semi-finals.

English teams are back in European football. And so far, all five of UCL participants are through to the next level. Man United, Wolves and Arsenal have also qualified for the knockout stages of the Europa League.

Although a repeat of last year’s finals is unlikely, chances are a few English teams will make it to the semis or finals of both European football competitions. Liverpool looks as clinical and determined as they did when they lifted the trophy last year. Man City will push to go past their semi-final curse while Arteta will want to give fans something in his first year as Arsenal’s manager.

More Attention to Big Data

Football is often accused of overlooking big data and its benefits in sports. But that’s bound to change, at least for teams that want to rival Liverpool’s current success. Speaking of the reds, they adopted a technological way of doing things several years ago and things haven’t been the same.

For starters, they are the current UCL Champions. They also reached the finals in 2018 and almost won the Premier League last year. In the ongoing season, Liverpool looks invincible. They are on course to winning their first EPL title. And who knows, they could retain the UCL also.

Big data allows teams to make decisions by analyzing thousands of Giga bites worth of information. From players’ in-game stats to their health, evaluating prospects to hiring coaches, teams can reap a lot of the right information.

Besides big data, European football will continue to tap on innovations like VAR to help officials and teams make smart decisions.

To Conclude

Similar to all sports, football must always welcome change to develop. Last year, VAR was the biggest change to the beautiful game. Some like it. Others don’t. The same goes from streaming networks and gambling businesses invading the game. All in all, the trends mentioned above will have an impact on how football operates in 2020 or the years to come.