Sunday, January 31, 2021

The Internet's Impact on Sports/Fitness Industry Influencers

Although I have been a writer in the pro-wrestling industry since the 1990's, it still amazes me how much of an impact the Internet has had on influencers and bloggers in the sports industry. I lived in New York most of my life, but thanks to the Internet I have been able to connect with and subsequently write for pro-wrestling companies across the United States and around the world. I went from contributing to The Official Website of the NWO and in the 1990's and early-2000s to writing columns for many independent promotions that were based in various states. In 2004, I started working for the Michigan-based Ultimate Championship Wrestling as a publicist/columnist, and they were the biggest independent promotion in the state at that time. That next year, I started doing a column for 3PW, a Philadelphia-based promotion that had DVDs available for sale in stores nationwide. Working for 3PW put me in connection with the UK-based 1PW, who I worked as a columnist for. In 2007 I started working as a columnist for XCW, a Texas-based promotion that was seen nationally on MAVTV, had a national DVD deal, and also had PPV events.

Two years later I began working for Big Japan Pro-Wrestling as a columnist, six years before I moved to Japan. I am currently writing for Michinoku Pro Wrestling. Since the time that I began writing for them, Michinoku Pro had a sellout, standing room only event on December 13, 2019 at the Korakuen Hall. The Korakuen Hall is known as a place where many historical moments in the Japanese pro-wrestling scene have occurred. It's to Japan what Madison Square Garden is to the pro-wrestling scene in the United States. The event had an attendance of 1,890. That was the highest reported attendance at the Korakuen Hall to date for a pro-wrestling event since April 2015.

Many of these opportunities in the pro-wrestling industry became available to me as a result of the growth of social media, and the growth is going to continue. According to market and consumer data provider, "In 2020, over 3.6 billion people were using social media worldwide, a number projected to increase to almost 4.41 billion in 2025."

Looking at social media growth at specifically the sports industry in general, market research company GlobalWebIndex states that going on social media as a result of watching or following sports events had increased by 47% in 2016, and 22% of consumers now look for sports content on social media.

Influencers & bloggers in the fitness industry have experienced recent growth as well due to the coronavirus pandemic. News reporter Melissa Howell of Washington’s Top News (WTOP) recently covered this topic, looking at the fitness trends to watch this year. She notes that the top trend for 2021 is online training.

One of the influencers that this is positive news for is Heather Matthews, owner of HLM Fitness, an online company that focuses on helping women build their confidence enough to make good health decisions. Matthews is a very qualified fitness influencer- she is a National Academy of Sports Medicine Certified Personal Trainer, a NASM fitness nutrition Specialist, and a National Exercise and Sports Trainers Association Lifestyle and Weight Mgmt Specialist. In an interview, she discussed her background and role in the industry.

With sports/fitness influencers & bloggers continuing to grow in 2021, it will be interesting to see how the landscape looks a year from now.