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Remember when the big college hoops tournament was cancelled last year, leaving us aimlessly adrift without the anchor of watching teams of teen strangers score mad buckets? (Leslie Jones does.)

Well the good news is: the boys and girls are back!

Just like every other industry, the world of sports has reevaluated its marketing approach. And though it’s dicey to predict the future (as our hopelessly busted brackets can attest), here are our guesses for what revamped advertising will include:

Players as influencers

Following your favorite players on social media gives an inside glimpse into the locker room, sans towel snaps. Today’s players are not only promoting their personal brands (I love you, Jack Flaherty!), they’re also infusing tons of personality into the leagues they represent. Have you seen the looks coming from the NBA tunnel?!

Expect even more crossover with athletes promoting their teams, and vice versa—just pray we avoid another #CorvetteCorvetteChallenge.

Unique fan opportunities

Last year, fans could zoom into a courtside seat or get repped by their cardboard doppelganger. Given how eager everyone was to get in on the action, it’ll be interesting to see how teams across all leagues continue to celebrate their fans, even as they’re preparing to host up to 20% capacity.

Virtual reality integration

Nothing compares to the roar of the crowd, high-fiving mascots, and walking on smashed peanut shells…except for virtual reality. It offers an in-stadium experience from the comfort of your La-Z-Boy.

This tech could make game days more accessible to out-of-town fans and provide a ton of new advertising opportunities. Like say, a hot dog cam that tracks vendors throughout the stadium, sponsored by Nathan’s Famous. 

Charles Barkley, of course

This magic isn’t going anywhere.  

While these are our #1 seeds for the future of sports advertising, we’re looking forward to what dark horse, Oral Roberts-esque elements come into play as the world slowly and ever-so-cautiously returns to normal.

Have an even-better-than-the-time-the-Steelers-blew-an-undefeated-season weekend, everybody!   

—Your always-loyal fans at Brokaw

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