So, you're surprised that sports fans aren't going to games anymore?
Not all of them....but more and more continue to opt for the couch and Uber Eats on gameday over a lawn chair and portable grille.
And you mean to tell me that after years of massive media rights deals and focus on creating social media content that you're remotely surprised fans aren't coming to stadiums as often as they used to?
Don't get me wrong, attending a live sporting event is one of the most glorious experiences life has to offer. Watching professional athletes on television can desensitize you to the fact that you are watching the most advanced human specimens on the planet during their peak performance.
And you can only truly appreciate that when you attend a game or match in person.
Hearing Mike Trout's bat crack during a home run. Seeing Odell Beckham Jr.'s speed in the open field. And holding your breath as LeBron James takes flight over a defender.
In-person, those events are perspective-altering. And lead to stories that get passed down from generation to generation.
It's difficult to capture that same essence when you've created a new lifestyle for your fanbases. Allowing them to view any game at any time on their phone, tablet, desktop, laptop, and television. Oh, not only one game, but multiple games at the same time. All in one place.
And then you have to factor in the endless highlights and analysis of these games. From the team's content to media outlets like Bleacher Report, Barstool Sports, the 24/7 networks of ESPN. Like New York, professional sports ceases to sleep.
I could jump on Instagram or Twitter right now, and in under 20 minutes have seen all of the highlights necessary for me to have an intelligent conversation about last night's slew of games with one of my pals.
Watching a full game isn't necessary anymore. Let alone attending it.
So, how do we fix this?
Actually, the better question is how to do enhance this situation? Let's face it, digital is a giant that will stick with us until the end of time. There is no backtracking on digital at this point. Embrace it.
What teams are beginning to realize is that they need to upgrade the fan experience...I mean it is an 'experience' right?
Ballparks and stadiums now offer beer gardens, free wifi, better dining options, and flexible seating. Slowly, we are moving into a state where teams are integrating sports betting into their arenas - just look at Washington, New York, and Chicago.
Make the experience an 'experience'. Give your fans the time of their life. Take their endorphins and dopamine levels and shoot them through the roof.
Do you know what gets sports fans excited? Actually, people in general? Stimulating their senses!
For the last five years or more, teams and media companies stimulated fans with unlimited content. Now, the objective should be to stimulate them the same way. But this time, in person.
There is no way of reversing this media behemoth teams and media companies have created.
And I'm not knocking the ability to view live sports and highlights every second of the day. I love the fact that there is always something to watch and talk about. It's entertaining...they are doing their job and a fine one at that.
I'm here to shed light on the current state of live sporting events. Teams who are taking those steps to create unforgettable fan experiences and enhance their venues are going to come out the winners.
By the way, you want fans on their smartphones tweeting, texting, snap chatting, and Instagram storying your game and venue. Don't dismiss phones, embrace them. It's free content, free advertising, free word-of-mouth publicity shouting "come to this team's stadium because I'm having the time of my life!"
Just remember...increased stimulation through experiences.
How about those Sponsors?
This should be music to the ears of those who sponsor these events. Fans, not just in the stadium, but around the globe are viewing your in-stadium advertisements across multiple platforms at various times of the day.
This is why there is an influx in companies like Hookit, GumGum Sports, and POWA Index whose purpose is to track a sponsor's digital reach during live sporting events.
It has never been a better time in history to sponsor professional sports.
Sponsors are reaching and engaging with their target markets with greater ease thanks to the distribution of sports content through social media, television, and other forms of digital communication.
Enhancing stadiums that attract more fans only increases a fan's likeliness of engaging with any given team's sponsors.