Rebuilding Confidence Among Sports Fans After Coronavirus

July 2020

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.

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Key Findings

Increased pressure on sponsors will incentivise sports properties to adjust to the “new normal”

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.

Sports and competitions vary, but building confidence with loyal fans will be essential for all stakeholders

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.

Re-imagining the fan journey

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.

Capitalising on previously overlooked partnerships

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.

Introduction

Scope
Key findings

The New Trajectory of Sports Fandom

Outlining some of the many pivotal challenges facing the sports industry
Has COVID fundamentally altered the trajectory of the sports industry?
Live attendance engrained in the fabric of entertainment globally
Protecting the loyal fan base is essential, attracting new fans is a luxury
Should I stay or should I go?
In European football, heritage and loyalty will cushion the COVID blow
Bundesliga stats: Fan-friendly pricing
How will one-off events fare in the post-COVID world?
Will one-off events rebound faster?
COVID-19 impact on travel at a glance
Atmosphere impacted by fans cautious of travelling
Outdoor events, such as golf, will endure
Golf offers more breathing room for fans
Formula 1 keeping fans engaged online
The keys to enduring and re-emerging

Partnerships to Help Re-imagine the Fan Journey

Examining the fan journey
Most expect changes in travel behaviour to be short- or mid-term
Can ride-hailing services ease public transport bottlenecks at events?
New technologies to help in-venue navigation
Tech partnerships to help solve new pain points
Beer: Concessions, pouring rights and brand exposure
Tottenham Hotspur Stadium: Hands-free pouring technology
Tech and innovation will be at the heart of sports’ re-emergence

Planning for the Future

Planning for the future
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