Some weeks ago, Boris Johnson spoke to the Nation saying that in the next 6 months the government will impose new restrictions in order to attempt to minimize the spread of Covid-19. Some of these restrictions will affect the opening and closing times of restaurants, bars and pubs- furthermore, there will be a limit on the number of people that can meet at home and that can meet up for practising indoor sport activities (not more than 6). We will still work from home when possible and sport events will be still played behind closed doors.
The expected day spectators will be allowed to be back in stadiums/arenas/circuits to watch a game live has been delayed by at least 6 months.
A common scenario
Therefore, if we thought that the summer would have magically made the virus disappear, or at least decrease, we were clearly wrong and now we have to face a quite different reality. Unfortunately, the virus does not care about the economic priorities and needs, it does not wait for the governments to make the right decisions or for people to go or be back from vacation. The virus does not follow our rules. We are the ones that have to adapt, and sport is not an exception.
We will be allowed to eat outside until very early at night, but no theatres, no live concerts, no dinner or appetizers with friends, no events, no Christmas parties, and no matches in stadiums for the sport fans.
Survival manual for the next months: wash your hands for at least 20 seconds, wear a face mask, keep social distance, sneeze in the pocket of your elbow and, if you are a company, invest in sports for gifting a few moments of joy.
The importance of sport in social life is very high, even more so during times like these. In a recent research, Nielsen states that sport remains a substantial opportunity for the companies that are keen to interact with the audience at home.
We will spend more time at home and it is foreseeable that a big part of this time will be spent in front of a screen watching sport and entertaining channels. The big difference is that now sport is being played live, and it is a great advantage; in fact, if the championships will still be played we will have live sport to entertain ourselves. So at least, let’s enjoy the positive side of the situation
The new football season, the F1 until December, MotoGP and tennis until November, basketball, rugby etc etc…Something that until last year was taken for granted, it has now become a real privilege; being able to follow live sport on TV, from home, and not historic races or old documentaries.
Still talking about sport, it’s important to underline that gifting a moment of entertainment and relax to all of us stuck at home, forced to limit our social life, is highly recommended for those who’d like to build a strong relationship with their customers.
Going back in time, already in 2006, the Hamburg University was talking about the feel good effect: “The Feel-Good Effect at Mega Sport Events – Recommendations for Public and Private Administration Informed by the Experience of the FIFA World Cup 2006”.
The value of live events, let’s look at alternative engagement possibilities
Heading to stadiums or racetracks to support our team is a unique experience, but for the time being we are happy with the TV screen and we are thankful for having it. We will not be able to engage the audience if not in a virtual way, we will not have guests to entertain and we will not be able to create the relationship between business managers, but we can still do a lot using technologies such as the augmented reality.
Clubs and series that will embrace the new technologies will succeed, and we are waiting for new standards.
Getting free from social media slavery and building a proprietary Database
In order to improve the commercial opportunities of the teams it is imperative to build a fans database. This should be, now more than ever, subject of interest of every sports organizations’ and players.
The next step is to stop intermediating the relationship with the fan/passionate person and go from the TEAM/SPORT -> SOCIAL -> FAN model to the TEAM/SPORT -> FAN one. This will allow teams to get to know their “customers” and to connect with them in a much more specific and efficient way.
This model will definitely increase the interest of sponsors about properties that have a potential direct access to millions of supporters.