A new report has been released outlining the key sports trends in Italy to 2050. The report, titled “2050: scenari sul futuro dello sport in Italia” (“2050: Scenarios on the future of sports in Italy”), was officially presented at the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) in Rome on Jan. 13 by CONI president Giovanni Malagò. The study was conducted by Istituto Piepoli, an independent marketing research institute with offices in Milan and Rome, under the direction of the institute’s president, Nicola Piepoli.

In 2050, Italy will have a population of around 54 million, down from the current 60 million. More importantly, the average age will continue to increase progressively. Based on these key elements, the report offers ten forecasts for sports in Italy in 2050:

1) Sports media will dramatically change. Users will increasingly be able to pick not only the sporting competition they want to watch but also specific statistics, interviews and other complementary content. The study refers, in this sense, to “a sort of Netflix for sports.” Furthermore, more clubs and sports federations will produce and sell their own media productions.

2) “Sportification” and “gamification” will further increase. While new sports will emerge, some traditional sports will tend to disappear. Individual sports could grow at the expense of team sports. Outdoor sports and at-home sports will gain importance. Meanwhile, what we call “e-games” today will simply become real new sports and e-athletes real athletes. Technology will help make sports attractive to children again.

3) Sustainability in sports will become ever more important. In fact, sports will play a significant role in promoting sustainability. The new sporting facilities will have to be environment-friendly by recycling waste and reducing energy and water consumption while also being fully recyclable and having zero emissions. The actors of the sports industry will increasingly rely on new professional figures that help them comply with a green model for sports.

4) Sports venues will become social meeting places. Within ten years, sports venues will have little to do with the sports venues as we have known them so far. Virtual and augmented reality will become standard features, and robots will deliver spectators food and beverages. 5G technology will enable spectators to get results and other data in real-time while at the stadium. These new features will likely affect the spectator capacity of sporting venues, making them more flexible.

5) E-sports will further increase in importance. Currently, e-sports and e-games are played especially by Gen Z and Gen Alpha, but these age groups will become the majority in ten years. New technologies will further boost the popularity of electronic sports. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) might eventually grant Olympic status to e-sports.

6) The balance of power in sports will lean towards athletes. As Gen Z identifies more with individual athletes than teams, the athlete’s commercial power will concurrently grow. Athletes will increasingly act as influencers, brand ambassadors and role models.

7) Performance levels will significantly improve thanks to technology, biomedical science and neuroscience. Sports apparel and equipment will benefit from new technical features. New smart textiles, for example, will interact with the touch-screen technology of our smartphones. The evolving relationship between technology and sports performance will significantly enhance health prevention and the quality of life of disabled athletes. Technological developments, however, will also make ethical issues more pressing. The fight against doping, for example, will become more difficult as the red line between natural and artificial gets harder to draw.

8) The sports betting landscape will radically change. Artificial intelligence and the blockchain will modify the traditional business model completely. A cheaper peer-to-peer system will replace the bookmaker. The new technology will enable you to bet in real time within the stadium or anywhere else.

9) Fan involvement will increase. Gen Z and Gen Alpha fans like to share experiences with other fans and their favorite athletes and clubs. The 5G technology will enable enhanced interactivity both on and off the pitch. Thanks to innovative technology like the blockchain, fan involvement will also increase on the ownership side.

10) Women’s sports will further grow while gay and transgender taboos will no longer exist. Even though women’s sports have exponentially grown in popularity over the past few years, women’s participation levels in sports are still significantly lower when compared to men’s. Gender equality will be essential, also in sports marketing. The coming out of gay athletes will be “the new normal.”

Researchers also interviewed a sample of Italians for the purposes of the study to understand how they saw sports in Italy in 2050. More than half (53 percent) said they expect sports and physical activity to improve by 2050, and a similar percentage (55 percent) expect participation in sports to increase.

A 23-page summary of the study (in Italian) is available for download from the CONI’s website.