In 2017, the global sports industry had an annual output value of nearly 2 trillion U.S. dollars and a huge market with a wide range of coverage. The cornerstone of the sports industry is the fan economy. The value of the superstars and super clubs comes from the huge attention of their fans. In recent years, with the increasing number of fans focusing on sports events, sports clubs, and sports stars, the IP exposure of the sports industry has rapidly increased, which has also brought the outbreak of IP value in the sports industry.
The professional player’s income and value can best reflect this growth。 For instance, The basketball players in the NBA have been setting new records of their salary constantly. The transfer price of professional football players has hit new record highs in the past year. Neymar left from Barcelona to join Paris Saint Germaine with the price of 222 million euros, setting a new world transfer fee record. There were several of 100-million-euros transfers in the same season: Mbappe (180 million euros, Monaco—Paris Saint Germaine) ， Philippe Coutinho (168 million euros, Liverpool — Barcelona), Dembélé (105 million euros, Dortmund—Barcelona).
The attention of fans led to an explosive growth of the industry. In the traditional sports industry ecosystem, there is still an insurmountable gap between fans and sports IP, especially the top IP. There is a vast distance between fans and players. The star players are superior to the fans, the operations of clubs are governed mostly by individual investors and managers. Even members of the clubs like Real Madrid and Barcelona only have the opportunity to speak concerning the election of the president. The club management makes decisions, while the contributions of the members in making decisions are very limited. Elected management teams are also prone to corruption during the management process due to the highly centralized organization. Even to that effect, Former Barcelona club president Russell was arrested for corruption and money laundering.