Image credit:
Jeffrey F Lin/
Image credit:
Jeffrey F Lin/
Sports Business/12/21/2022

Between Wins and Fails - What Moved the Sports Industry in 2022

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Between wins and fails, good news and disappointments, losses and progress - 2022 was a turbulent year for the sports industry. We look back at the highlights and lowlights and present our personal winners, surprises, failures and successes from 2022.

Winner of the year

...are women athletes for all of us. Finally, something is visibly happening in the perception of women's sports! More sponsorship deals, more time in reporting and thus more audience for female professionals - and we celebrate that. For example, 17.89 million Germans watched the final of the European Women's Soccer Championship between England and the Dfb team! In comparison, the win against Costa Rica in the men's World Cup was watched by only 17.43 million viewers in Germany. And brands have also changed their approach and are throwing out the usual clichés.

Good News

A lot happened in 2022 - good news for us, for example, was people like Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard, who gave away his company for the sake of the environment. But the best news of all? That the community could finally meet in real life again! After a two-year break from Corona, OutDoor by ISPO and ISPO Munich 2022 were more than just trade shows - they were a great reunion, a stage for dialogues about the future, and a connector for people who want to move things forward.

Diese OutDoor by ISPO Aussteller freuen sich auf die ISPO Munich
The exhibitors at OutDoor by ISPO are already looking forward to 2023
Image credit:
OutDoor by ISPO

Fail of the Year

...clearly goes to FIFA. With its controversial decision to hold the World Cup in Qatar, the world's largest soccer association has made itself unpopular throughout Europe. No clear commitment to human rights and tolerance, no compensation for the families of the dead guest workers of the stadiums of Qatar and bought votes - this goes fundamentally past our understanding of fair and sustainable sport.

Separation of the year for us the end of the former dream team Adidas and Kanye West. Together, the brand and the rapper, who now calls himself "Ye", made billions in sales with the Yeezy brand. The collaboration started in 2012, and the first collection was launched in 2015. More recently, Ye made headlines with racist and anti-Semitic hate speech. Then, in October 2022, Adidas pulled the ripcord and parted ways with the star. Adidas' share price plummeted after that - but has since recovered.

End Yeezy Collaboration
Image credit:
David Lezcano/

Loss of the year

Four sad pieces of news shook the 2022 community - the loss of designer and brand owner Virgil Abloh, McFit founder Rainer Schaller, Red Bull founder Dietrich Mateschitz and ski mountaineer Hilaree Nelson. Four special people who have shaped the sports business in their own unique way and will not soon be forgotten.

Surprise of the year a men's soccer team for us. At the 2022 World Cup, the Moroccans first beat Croatia and Belgium, then Spain and Portugal, and fought their way to the semifinals - the first African team ever to do so. No one expected the underdogs, the "Lions of Atlas." We are happy for the representation of the African continent - only negative the riots that accompanied the spectacle.

Community of the year

The prize clearly goes to the ISPO Collaborators Club. Together we opened ISPO Munich at the Community Run, voted for the products of the year at the ISPO Award, and evaluated and tested countless products. And in 2023, we look forward to working with exciting brands to make sports and outdoor products even better.

Product of the year

Too many - from avalanche backpacks to auto-darkening ski goggles to ultra-warm jackets for extreme conditions, 2022 had innovation like no other year. The ISPO Award jury was overwhelmed by the many exciting entries and chose the Best of the Best of the sports industry.

The coveted ISPO Award was redesigned this year
Image credit:
Munich Trade Fairs Ltd.

Brands of the year

We were most impressed by brands that are not afraid to be transparent, to go innovative ways and to challenge and question themselves again and again. Our brands of the year are primarily those love brands that inspire our community: from Schöffel to Doubledeck to Sport2000.

Doubledeck develops a revolutionary board technology
Image credit:

Move of the year

Definite and undisputed for us was Yvon Chouinard's announcement to transfer his company Patagonia to two charitable foundations. What a move, which we honored with the ISPO Cup for special social commitment - and a role model for all those who want to make the sports industry even more sustainable.

Glen Morden (Vice President and Product Creation at Patagonia) accepts the ISPO Cup
Image credit:
Munich Trade Fairs Ltd.

Challenge of the year

Clearly: more sustainability for the sports industry, whether through resource-saving production, sharing sustainability knowledge, or more conscious and environmentally friendly tourism. The industry has recognized the explosive nature of the issue, and this is reflected in the products and services of the brands and the actions of athletes.

2023 will certainly be another moving year for the sports industry - and you can read all the important news at

New Perspectives on Sustainability: Sustainability was one of the major themes at ISPO Munich 2022.
Image credit:
Messe München GmbH
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