The sports industry faces a long road to recovery. Of the issues facing the industry, the most notable is how to ensure fan safety and ensure the successful return of live events. This report looks at various strategies across sports, and the role that partnerships will have in rebuilding fan confidence.
In the short term, all major professional sports properties will look to understand what constitutes the “new normal” for the industry. Commercial partners and sponsors face challenges across the various industries in which they operate, and reduced marketing budgets and sponsorships will become par for the course. In order to get sports moving again in the right direction, sports properties will look to recover and advertise their pre-pandemic USPs in order to show existing and prospective partners that the value in professional sports remains intact.
In the wake of the pandemic, consumers have been forced to alter their routines, habits and behaviour, and, despite being deprived of live sporting action, will be in no rush to return to arenas and stadiums in the same manner as before. Since business as usual is off the table, teams and leagues will need to develop new strategies which can be shown to put fans first.
Pre-pandemic, creating a “seamless experience” for fans was the goal for venue operators. Venue innovation will be adjusted from focusing purely on delivering seamlessness to delivering safety as paramount. Across the entire fan journey, various touchpoints need to be addressed in order to meet the needs of fans who are anxious to continue to adhere to social distancing measures, which at the time of writing are only slowly being eased.
Partnerships that can be utilised to help cope with the challenges of live events are worth considering. Real time data from technology companies or ride-sharing partnerships, among others, will continue to help sports reach a new normal that includes attending events.
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