It’s no secret that the COVID-19 pandemic has taken a drastic toll on the sports landscape. No events, empty stadiums, and no live telecasts seemed rather unrealistic for an industry that was once a bustling place for the world — but that was the picture last year. From fans and businesses to sportspeople, everyone could feel the brunt of the pandemic, and they couldn’t be more disappointed.
But with the cross-country vaccination drive rolled out and COVID-restrictions slowly lifting, things are going back to normal. The sports industry is resuming: events are taking place, fans are re-entering the stadiums, and players are gearing up, all ready for action.
Though the return of sports is a sigh of relief for fans around the world, it’s a problem of a different scale for sports businesses and stadium managers. How will they accommodate fans safely, especially amidst this pandemic? And how will they ensure the best experience for fans once they return?
These situations can be perplexing, but with some preparation, sports businesses can have a smooth transition — from empty stadiums to jam-packed stalls — and deliver fans the best experience possible after the pandemic.
Here are 4 tactics to optimize the Fan’s Experience
Maintain Consistency of Brand
Your brand is your identity --it’s how your fans perceive you and decide to interact with you. Building a strong brand requires consistency: consistency in delivering better sports experiences to fans, so they stay loyal to your brand and buy more tickets to your events every time.
With a strong brand identity comes brand trust, which is the driving force behind more sales. A few surveys have shown that fans attend 40% more in-person sports events and spend more on tickets when they are satisfied with a brand’s experience and familiar with its identity.
When it comes to building or maintaining your brand identity, your employees play a crucial role since they are the face of your brand. How they interact and serve fans helps deliver an in-stadium experience that builds trust and loyalty among fans. And should they overlook the importance of interaction and behavior while attending fans at the premises, you have a lot at stake.
During the pandemic, your employees will have a whole new set of behaviors and require new tools and effective strategies to ensure a risk-free fan experience. You will also need to put in place strict COVID guidelines and government advice on organizing sporting events to deliver a consistent fan experience. But most importantly, you will need to educate and equip your staff with information on how they can ensure everybody is behaving as per the new guidelines.
Get Your Employees Ready
While formal L&D initiatives are common in the sports landscape, they usually rely on face-to-face debriefings. But with COVID-19 in the picture, this old-world method might not work, especially when the pandemic has completely changed the methods of operation and employees are given a year-long break from work. They will need reskilling; it will be more like a skill shift.
When organizing sports events and welcoming fans into the premises, you will need to get large numbers of people — your employees — operational even before the season begins. But, you will also need to ensure that they perform up to your fan’s expectations and deliver a consistent experience and continue to do so for the rest of the season.
Gather Fan’s Experience
It’s one thing to ensure a safe and eventful fan experience, and it's another to know your efforts finally paid off. The best way to know if you have succeeded in delivering an exceptional experience to your customers is to collect their feedback.
Of course, gathering feedback from hundreds or thousands of people attending a single event seems impossible. But with experience management platforms like DT, it gets easier.
Getting to know what the fans have to say about their experience will help you determine if your strategy succeeded or needs improvement for the remainder of the season. No one can tell about your event and overall fan experience better than those who attended it — the crowd and guests.
Make everyone feel safe and comfortable
Building a loyal, engaged audience that attends events after events often requires a set of few things, namely, a good atmosphere, high-quality game, view, and finally, safety.
People want to feel comfortable and safe while attending a sporting event. During COVID-19, it is of the utmost importance for stadiums to make them feel safe and comfortable. They must ensure that the premises are kept spick and span, and seating arrangements are made meeting the new COVID-19 guidelines. Not adhering to these guidelines may make fans feel unsafe, forcing them to leave the event sooner.
The bottom Line
Before the pandemic, fans spent $50 billion on sporting events each year. And they were willing to spend even more for a better experience. This makes focusing on optimizing the fan’s experience more important for stadiums, especially during and after the pandemic.
If you want to know what your fan thinks of your events through feedback and opinions, feel free to get in touch with us, and let us help you.
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