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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Facing shrinking stadium attendance and cord-cutting at home, sports leagues and networks are clamoring to get ahead of new revenue-rich opportunities.

What to watch: Esports, despite still being in its infancy, is exploding in terms of both revenue and audience. The legalization of sports betting could cause the sports market to balloon by tens of billions of dollars, driving an entirely new content industry.

During tomorrow's Super Bowl, more than 100 million of us will do something that's becoming rarer in the era of streaming and smartphones: We'll watch a live event — together — with friends and family.

  • In an on-demand world, live sports like this weekend's Super Bowl 53 are unique in commanding eyeballs and ad dollars.

But there's already a certain nostalgia to the day.

  • Despite rising rights revenues, almost every sport except professional football (for now) is experiencing viewership declines.
  • Even live sport event attendance has leveled off. Despite league expansion and the new facilities, weaker demand has driven down ticket prices, per PwC's 2018 Sports Market Outlook.
  • And sports leagues are cutting back on game time to meet young sports fans' demands for faster entertainment experiences on TV and online.

The big picture: The global esports economy was estimated to reach nearly $1 billion in 2018 and is expected to nearly double by 2021, thanks in part to the incredible success of games like Overwatch and Fortnite.

  • Traditional teams are striking partnerships with esports teams.
  • Brands are scrambling to sponsor esports competitions and content that's being evangelized by young athletes.
  • Media companies are also launching gambling shows and platforms.
  • And sports betting companies are leveraging data and partnering with leagues to integrate more live and on-demand media content into their betting experiences.

The bottom line: The sports industry is booming. But the ways people experience, consume and engage with the game are changing faster than ever.

Go deeper: Read the full special report

Go deeper

Australia joins U.S. in diplomatic boycott of Beijing Winter Olympics

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison. Photo: Darrian Traynor/Getty Images

Australia is joining the U.S. in a diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympic Games in protest of human rights abuses committed by China's government, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Wednesday.

Driving the news: After the Biden administration's announcement that U.S. officials won't attend the Games due to the ongoing genocide of Uighurs and other Muslim minorities in the Xinjiang region of China, Morrison said at a Sydney briefing that Australia would follow suit as "it's the right thing to do."

Progressives to file resolution to strip Boebert's committee seats

Rep. Lauren Boebert walking through the Senate side of the U.S. Capitol earlier this month. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

House progressives are planning to introduce a resolution on Wednesday to strip Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) of her committee assignments, according to a Democratic aide familiar with the matter.

Why it matters: The move, which was first reported by the Washington Post, comes as progressives — anxious to see the right-wing firebrand face retribution for her recent comments — have grown frustrated by Democratic leadership's inaction on the issue.

Roger Stone won't cooperate with Jan. 6 panel

Longtime Trump confidante Roger Stone speaking in front of the Supreme Court on Jan. 5 in Washington, D.C. Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

Longtime Trump confidante Roger Stone won't cooperate with the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol riot and will invoke the Fifth Amendment right not to testify, his attorney said Tuesday evening.

Why it matters: The announcement, first reported by ABC News, came hours after former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows said he wouldn't cooperate with the probe.