With 2024 being the year where sports came to a halt because of the Coronavirus pandemic both sports teams and fans were left in a world of uncertainty as to how their relationship will continue moving forward. This virus came to put on the spot the level of compromise that can be had between professional sports organizations and their loyal fan bases. While platforms like BetUS are still holding their ground firmly offering fans options to continue with their favorite wagering sporting activities, times for change have been calling more and more. As younger and new demographics of sporting fans are starting to come up to the front of the line, new strategies to lure in these newcomers have had to be put into place. In a world where you can basically do everything on a computer or phone teams were met with a true necessity of having to upgrade or become an afterthought.
Thank the Pandemic for Teams Stepping Up Digitally
Before the Coronavirus Pandemic pooped on everyone’s parade teams and leagues from different professional sporting leagues relied heavily on fans attending their events to fuel their profits. Given this fact, teams have always made sure to make the stadium or arena going experience for fans their main priority, in par leaving behind the vast majority of people who follow their teams but don’t have the opportunity of living the in stadium game experience even more now with COVID-19 limiting everyone’s activities. Studies have shown that only about 1% of sports fans ever actually attend a game, they’d much rather stay at home. What that comes to show is that the 99% remaining fans make up a massive untapped source of revenue for teams, one that wasn’t really explored before, until now.
As reported by Forbes.com, one of the many strategies teams from leagues like the NFL or MLB are using to thrive through the pandemic and to bring more people to their side is for fans to be allowed to purchase cardboard cutouts of themselves to be placed throughout the stadium. If you’re willing to pay up to $150 you might get a chance to see your cardboard face in a seat on live tv. And while sure, the idea is cute and fun, because of the creativity some fans have donned in order to be noticed, it’s barely the tip of the iceberg moving forward, especially in a technology driven world. When the NBA decided to continue and finish their season in the Walt Disney Resort in Florida, fans were given the chance to appear on screens across the arena to cheer on their favorite teams.
Sports and Videogames, You Really Can´t Go Wrong
If there is one industry that has seen their profits skyrocket and their influence in society shoot up is the video gaming industry. While before playing video games was considered more of a younger audience hobby, with the pandemic striking down upon the world, video games and all they have to offer have truly taken their place in society’s routine and the sports industry has clearly taken notice of this. American sports leagues like the NBA and NFL have thrived with their namesake games NBA 2K and NFL Madden, with people of all ages, amateurs and even now pro gamers flocking to pass their lockdown days grinding it down on the virtual court or gridiron. Soccer giants FIFA have also stepped up to become one of the most important sporting video game options in the market, given the global popularity of the sport and the always rising acceptance of video gaming in mainstream lifestyle.
But that’s not where the phenomenon ends, the consolidation of E sports as the new up and coming sporting world giants has taken a new meaning and strength during the pandemic. The video gaming industry has soared during the pandemic allowing them to make more money than the movie and sports industry combined. With the movie and sports industry in North America making a combined $175 billion dollars and the video game industry edging them with almost $180 billion dollars in revenue one could easily argue that not all has been losses during the pandemic and video gaming as a sport is now more than ever a thing, especially if you take into account the utterly important effect that social media has had on sports and lifestyle during these times.
Mainstream Sports, Have you Met Social Media?
One of the new ways that some of the most important sports teams and leagues around are attempting to increase fan numbers and engagement is through the magical world of social media. Be it through a computer, with a phone or tablet, fans and social media are basically one unit. If you turn on any given sporting event on tv, you’ll definitely run into social media polls or contests featured during the game or event to keep fans entertained beyond just the sporting action itself. With all the digital facilities given to sports fans, including something as easy as looking for their favorite online sportsbook to wager some money on their favorite team, pro leagues and teams are in dire need of conquering this new world once and for all.
If there is one thing social media has also done for sports and will continue doing is to cement the status of professional athletes to new beacons. While before you would only read about athletes and their doings now with social media outlets like Tik Tok, Instagram and others give fans an insight into the, you could say, human life of athletes. All this helps in the hopes of closing the gap more and more as time goes by between fans and teams. For a quick example, everyone remembers OBJ’s catch against the Cowboys when he played with the Giants or Lebron’s block against Andre Iguodala in Game 7 of the 2016 NBA finals why? Mostly thanks to social media and how the repetition of videos of this play exploded online. So moving forward into the digital world might not be the dumbest idea for the sports industry.