More Empty Stadium Seats To Be Expected
A growing number of NFL and college football teams are hosting fans at their outdoor stadiums, most of which are capping attendance at less than 25 percent of total capacity. The MLB sold 11,500 seats per game for the World Series, which represents nearly 30 percent capacity at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas. Fans are generally allowed to to sit in small groups called “pods,” which are spread out across the full seating area.
Hosting fans has allowed teams and schools to salvage a fraction of the income typically derived from selling tickets, concessions, merchandise, parking and other on-site revenue streams but challenges introduced by Covid-19 restrictions will likely keep stadium attendance at a standstill for months to come. Teams and leagues face the delicate affair of phased reopenings of venues; during which time the primary concern are the steps required towards making fans feel safe. Considerable venue safety investments are expected to shrink stadium-related profits.
The NHL and NBA both sacrificed gate-related revenue by holding their respective postseasons without fans in attendance and face the prospect of playing large swaths of their next seasons without spectators as well. This year that about 40 percent of the NBA’s revenue is attributable to having fans in the stands, a number that is believed to be higher for the NHL because it generates less revenue from its current media rights deals.
Bleak outlooks on attendance and broadcasting revenues are a wake-up call for franchises to take active measures in expanding their business models beyond traditional sources of income.
Expanding Sport Franchise Revenue Streams
Although fan enthusiasm generally subsides overtime following the end of a season, it never disappears -unlike stadium attendance. According to a Deloitte survey 65 percent of “casual” fans said they want some form of content or information at least monthly during the off-season. The more compelling part of the survey is the breakdown of spending per fan group, followed by how much each sub-group engages with team content off-season. (shown below)
Throughout the season, live content is king and everything else revolves around it. Off-season content needs to be more creative and intimate. Examples can include fan contests, decision-making polls, podcast interviews of new recruits, video highlights, new merchandise and raffles. Maintaining year around continuity is essential to generating value with 60% of fans agreeing that a positive off-season experience would likely push them to engage more in the coming season -and 55% of which would likely purchase a ticket to a game.
In such a fragmented landscape the biggest challenge for teams in executing fan engagement ideas is identifying the channel. Sports news websites, team websites, social media, television, podcasts, radio and print leaves fans with more options than needed.
Tingit is a dynamically branded app for content aggregation. Host all of your digital content in one place (video highlights, podcasts, news updates, merchandise) and fuse it with next-gen engagement tools for second screen augmentation and value-added incentives. The sports season might be over, but teams and leagues still have some plays and audibles to keep fans engaged.
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