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Disconnect With Fans And Venues For Live Sport Attendance

W
ith live sport continuing to return around the world as the sporting world tries to recover from the financial effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, the gradual reintroduction of fans in attendance has been met with mixed responses.

A poll conducted by the Washington Post and University of Maryland revealed only 42% of Americans are comfortable attending a live ticketed sporting event.

The poll recorded responses from over 1,500 people and found the risks associated with COVID-19 meant 40% of those polled were not comfortable attending live sport and 18% were unsure.

The limited capacity option proved more comforting for respondents however, with 69% indicating they would be comfortable attending an event with a 20% capacity limit, and 50% comfortable attending an event with a 50% capacity limit.

A survey conducted by Untold Insights on behalf of Oracle Food and Beverage from January examined the thoughts of 1,000 Australian consumers, with 53% indicating they plan to return to live sport immediately and 25% within the first four months of live sport returning.

Oracle Food and Beverage senior vice president and general manager, Simon de Montfort Walker, said sports will not return as normal for a long time.

“From season ticket holders to casual fans, consumers are looking forward to the return of in-person events, but like so many industries, sports and entertainment won’t return to the status quo for some time, if ever,” walker said.

“Operators have worked hard during the shutdown to create better, safer experiences that customers not only want, but have come to expect.

“Technology will play a key role in the evolution of the 360-degree fan experience,” he said.

Despite the apparent hesitance of some sports fans to return in full capacity to live sport, a new survey by the International Association of Event Hosts (IAEH) has revealed 66% of host organisations have already held or are planning to stage stadium events with fans in attendance.

The survey included 24 IAEH members across Australia, New Zealand, Asia, North America, Europe, and the Middle East, and found operational certainty is improving across event hosts.

The survey suggested 25% of IAEH members intend to host events without spectator number restrictions as early as late 2021, despite increased COVID-19 lockdown measures across a number of key areas involved including Europe.

The disconnect between event host stadiums and sports fans will likely only be revealed in full capacity when stadiums make the decision to return to full capacity events, without relevant social distancing and biosecurity rules protecting fans.