The COVID-19 Pandemic puts a Worldwide suspension on Sports; but is it also forcing the industry to rethink their approach to production, attendance, or even play?
By: Sydney Alexis Phillips
Traditionally, sports are played at all levels and are scheduled by “season” (as some require specific weather conditions). Athletes train year-round to play on their designated field, and fans pack into crowded arenas or sports bars to watch their favorite teams win.
During events-major sports teams/arenas make profits on ticket sales, broadcast companies profit from selling ad slots to sponsors, and those who attend leave looking forward to attending the next home game. Seemingly a win-win scenario for consumers and profit margins alike.
However, in recent months, COVID-19 has been “touching” the globe; by shutting down all events where potential spread may occur (meaning any event where more than 100 people will be in attendance, according to the CDC). Which certainly includes sporting events.
In early March, Sports Illustrated released an photo story/article: “Coronavirus Pandemic brings Sports to a Halt” with compelling images on the aftermath of empty stadiums, upset players, and distraught fans.
Much like when marketing anything else, with Sports, if the market suddenly changes- you must be willing to adapt. In agreement with, Linda Coleman in her article: “Contemporary Sports Marketing: Issues, Challenges, and Opportunities”, to be truly “effective in sports marketing” you must “look for additional revenue beyond ticket sales”. We explore some potential options in this podcast episode.
Since attendance is not currently and option (due to the Pandemic shutdowns), major broadcast networks and teams alike should be joining forces to engage with the audience online/utilizing social networks. For example: ESPN could be conducting an interview series with NFL players/coaches via FB live about the upcoming draft.
Upon looking for more information about the NFL draft, CBS Sports has just announced: it will no longer occur in Vegas due to the Pandemic. Making this the perfect opportunity to try a new technique; and possibly make it more engaging for viewers!
In regard to Campus Nation, we will continue to conduct weekly episodes of Sports Planet hosted by Bill Hrabak (Director of College and Semi-Professional Sports) via WZAA 106.9 LPFM. In each episode we will provide updates and analysis on the most current “sports news”.